Meg (right) at the beach with a friend at Monkey Mia, Western Australia
HCA recently interviewed HCA Nurse Margaret (Meg) Galloway, an Emergency Department (ED) Nurse from North Carolina, America. Meg talks about how her career and passion for Nursing began, her big move to Australia, her travels as an Agency Nurse and why it was one of the best experiences of her life.
HCA: How did your passion for Nursing begin?
Meg: When I was 15 years old, I visited residents in Nursing Homes to give the Carers an extra hand. I used to pass ‘ice cubes’ around when they needed it, while one of the patients with Alzheimer’s sang ‘Amazing Grace’ in French and English. The residents were so appreciative of this gesture and I loved the feeling of making others happy. This is where my passion for Nursing started and I knew then and there what I wanted to pursue a career in Nursing.
What did you specialise in?
Meg: I wanted to work in the Emergency Department (ER), to help people at their most vulnerable. The first time I saved someone’s life was an amazing feeling. It was my first day in Triage and a man had come in the ER room and sat down in the waiting room. A few moments later, I had a look at him and he wasn’t breathing. I called out “code blue” and started CPR compression. He had a major heart attack and because of my quick reaction, he made it through. He personally thanked me later and that feeling that I saved somebody’s life was unbelievable.
Why did you make the move to Australia?
Meg: I always thought Australia was interesting with all the wild animals, but I was a little scared about the snake bites! I also liked the laid-back Australian way of life and had a passion for exploring the world. I got in contact with Healthcare Australia and Michelle from the Rural and Remote team assisted me. She was super helpful from the start to the end of the process and just a phone call away!
How did your Australian adventure begin?
Meg: I started in Brisbane’s ED department at Prince Charles Hospital and worked in the ICU at St Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital. I had a great time working there and made new friends. I still wanted to explore more, so I bought a car, some camping gear and of course a surfboard for the Australian waves with a friend and did a road trip down to Sydney. It was amazing! Working as an agency Nurse with HCA enabled me to do this, as I had the flexibility to work when and where I preferred.
Where else did you work?
Meg: When I arrived in Sydney I settled in Bondi Beach and worked in a few different places. I then started working at the Royal North Shore Psych ward, which was intense, but I learnt a lot.
I got the travel bug again and because HCA has work available all around Australia, I could pick up a Rural and Remote (R+R) contract. This is never something I thought about doing, but I was excited! I set off again with my camping gear and surfboard on the beautiful Great Ocean Road to Melbourne, while my friend got a placement in Harvey Bay. From Melbourne, I took off to do my R+R placement in Geraldton, which is 4 hours north of Perth in Western Australia. Working in such a rural and remote destination felt more like home as it was a smaller community. Everyone was super friendly and I had more autonomy as a Nurse.
What’s the main difference between working in the US and Australia?
Meg: There isn’t a huge difference in the grand scheme of things, however, there are more residents and Doctors involved. The pay is also a lot better in Australia!
What are you up to now?
Meg: Since I left Australia, I made a big trip to Asia and then found an agency job in Hawaii. Now I am back at home in the US, but I plan to come back and work in Australia soon. I love Healthcare Australia and I would most definitely work with them again. Working as an agency Nurse with HCA has been the best thing I have ever done. I had an adventure and got paid to do it at the same time!
Want to start your own Australian Healthcare Adventure?
If you are considering coming ‘downunder’ to Nurse or work as a healthcare professional, register your interest with us now to find out more.
Want more information? Contact our International Offices below: