In the Press: Expat Interview with a HCA Nurse

Rhiannon Biss | An international nurse from the UK

This article was first published by BBM Live, click here to read the original article.

If you want to work and travel in Australia, agency nursing is one of the most fulfilling areas. To explain why, Healthcare Australia nurse, Rhiannon Biss, tells all about the experiences working in Australia has given her.

What’s your name and where do you call home?
My name is Rhiannon and I will always call true home England but at the moment I am living in Newtown in Sydney and I love it!

What visa are you currently on in Australia?
I’m on my second working holiday visa at the moment but I’m already taking steps to apply for a more permanent visa this year.

What is your nursing specialty?
I have a background in Respiratory Medicine and Cystic Fibrosis, but at the moment I am going to all specialties that Sydney can offer.

What hospital and department are you working in currently?
I work at Saint Vincent’s hospital in Darlinghurst and I go to every single ward, every department.

Are there any particular nursing experiences you’ve had that stand out for you in Australia?
Yes, at the hospital I am working at currently, they’ve actually sent me to the emergency department a few times and I’ve absolutely loved that! It’s an experience that I don’t know if I would have had back home and they are getting to recognise me now and they even know my name. You see so many things come through the door so I really love working there.

How does nursing compare in Australia to the UK?
I think basic nursing will always be the same all around the world which is great. The staffing is so much better here so you do have less patients to look after, which means you have more in depth time with them and more special time which is great. Agency nursing can often mean working in a range of different departments and settings.

How has this experience allowed you to develop new skills?
Because I don’t find out what ward I’m going to until I get there at the beginning of the shift, I quite like that – it’s like a little surprise and I have learnt so much going to many different specialties. I feel like I have learnt so much coming to work in Australia, because I go to all different wards, all different departments. I spent five years in my one ward back home, just in respiratory so coming here I’m going to all different surgical, medical wards, which is great.

As an agency nurse, one of the benefits is the ability to self-roster and book in for the shifts that you want around your lifestyle. How has this suited your lifestyle in particular?
It is so easy to book shifts, it really suits me because a lot of my friends work 9-5 so I like to have the weekends off so that I can spend some time with them and see a bit more of Sydney on the weekends. It’s so easy getting on the App, I can say when I’m not available, and I can do it a day in advance if I need to – it’s so easy.

How much do you use the eHCA App?
I’m on the App almost every day, just checking shifts, seeing what other shifts are available if I need to and just seeing what’s coming up for the following week. You can put your timesheets on as well there so you can do them electronically which is great and it’s so quick and easy. You have nothing to worry about – you can see when your next pay date is going to be so you are always in the know with what’s going on.

How has HCA assisted you in creating a lifestyle/setting your roots in Australia?
Doing agency really suits me, it gives me the flexibility to choose when I want to work and choose when I want to have time off. Technically I’m still on a working holiday so I need to holiday as well as work!

What are your experiences of Australian culture and lifestyle?
So I first came to Australia ten years ago and I travelled the East Coast then so I knew when I came back this time that I wanted to stay in one place and live in a city. So I live in Newtown now which is like the hippest part of Sydney – I love it! I love walking down King Street and getting to know the local community, it’s so great – I love living here!

How has working while in Australia with HCA funded your personal travel and holiday experiences?
I’ve been able to save quite a bit and I have gone abroad on a few holidays. I’ve gone to Thailand, I’ve gone to the Philippines, and it’s so easy just booking that time off work. I’ve had a month off to go back to England as well.

What have you enjoyed/has been the most rewarding experience of travelling you have had by being out here?
I feel really grateful for the people I have met here, the girls I live with now I met when I got to the hostel and they are like sisters to me. I really feel special with the people I have around me. You are kind of thrown together sometimes when you are travelling but I wouldn’t change them for the world.

Are there any particular adventures in Australia that you have enjoyed?
Yes, you can go to the Blue Mountains for as long/ short as you want – I just went for a day trip and went down walking all around [the Blue Mountains] down by waterfalls. That was so beautiful – I really enjoyed that. We’ve had some weekends away as well, like to Jarvis Bay, camping and we’ve just gone on little road trips as well – just to see where the road takes us.

What is it you love about Australia?
The weather is a definite pull to live here – it is so nice, I generally think everyone is so much happier here just because the sun’s out – you can always get outside – it’s so lovely. And the lifestyle – everyone is outdoorsy – we can always go to the beach, go for walks, go camping – it’s great.

Hear more of Rhiannon’s story and find out what it’s like nursing in Australia with HCA, watch the full video here.