Rural Midwifery in Australia – From the horse’s mouth!

women smiling with nuns

Lana with Nuns who came to visit the babies in Wagga Wagga

It can be a scary thing to break out of your comfort zone personally and professionally. Yet, when we break free of our own limiting perceptions, you deservedly feel a great sense of achievement. This is the feeling you get during and at the end of a rural working experience.

Recently, our International Healthcare Recruiter Diane Nicholson caught up with two amazing Midwives from New Zealand (NZ), Lana and Bernadette, who shared with our team a few highlights from their recent rural adventures in Australia.

The below are some of their great answers to Diane’s burning questions about their placements.

What locations did you go to and what was your favourite?

Lana – I did 6 contracts – one in Wagga Wagga, one in Toowoomba, two in Rockhampton and another two in Port Macquarie. Port Macquarie was my favourite, the Hospital was quite old and the team there very nice. I liked it so much that I decided to move my family there and apply for a permanent job.

Bernadette – I did 2 contracts – one in Dubbo and one in Wagga Wagga.  I enjoyed both, Wagga Wagga was a pretty town and only a 15-minute walk from the Hospital to the town centre, which was handy for shopping. The Hospital is also new and a nice place to work.

Was it financially rewarding for you?

Lana – Definitely! It has allowed me to take my family back to Russia for a holiday in June, something I haven’t been able to do in 7 years.

Bernadette – Of Course! On average, I have earned a third more than I do in NZ. My accommodation was free and although it was basic, it was clean and I could make it cosy. I also meet some lovely people in the Nurse’s home and there was always someone to go out with.

What did you get up to in your downtime?

Lana – I am a runner, so I looked for contracts where it’s safe and areas I could run in. I also enjoyed exploring and shopping.

Bernadette – I went shopping, saw movies, went for drinks and dinners out with other RNs I met. Some Nurses had cars so we did day trips. It was also possible to catch the train to Sydney for the weekend. There was always something to do!

Were there any major differences between Midwifery in Australia and NZ?

Lana – NZ Midwives are more autonomous and allowed to do things such as cannulate, suture, order investigates and prescribes for some Obstetric related conditions. I found my extra skills were appreciated by the employers.

Bernadette – Each place I worked had their own models which I learnt to adapt. Dubbo followed a medical model lead by Doctors, while Wagga Wagga was more Midwifery focused. However, both places accommodate for different roles and I felt like I was part of the team right away.

Any regrets?

Lana – None what so ever. As a married Midwife with a family, I was nervous about giving up full- time employment and leaving my family in NZ. I am very happy I did, I missed my family, but it has allowed me to take the next step up professionally and personally. There are many opportunities for Midwives in Australia in different roles such as Private Practice Midwives, Midwifery Group Practice, Antenatal Midwives and much more. The Group Practice Midwifery is similar to LMCs, but with 12-hour shifts, plus sick and holiday leave entitlements. My advice to anyone thinking of rural work is don’t be scared – take the next step!

Bernadette – No regrets! All in all, it has been an awesome experience. It has been an adventure and I loved looking after the country women. I have met new people who have become friends and we all keep in touch via a Facebook group. My advice is to go and have an adventure and earn yourself some money!

If you found this article interesting and you want to find out more about Rural and Remote work, click on the article ‘7 Rural & Remote Nursing Training & Education Tips’  here.