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Jen3103

Honest opinions of nursing in Oz

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Hi,

 

would people be willing to share their experiences of nursing in Oz and how different or similar this truly is nursing in the UK?

I imagine getting your head around the different drugs is hard work at first

😀

 

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Hi Jen3130

Very limited but this is what I know:

The Acute Care Nurse to patient ratio in Victoria is fantastic with 1 RGN to 4-5 patients and this reflects in the excellent healthcare people receive. You have sole responsibility for the patients allocated to you and no HCA's so you do everything but with that many patients it is absolutely no problem at all and its rather nice to give that sort of holistic individualised care.

Hospitals are very clean and bright with latest equipment and technology that is plentiful and easy to use, especially the beds and wheelchairs which are amazing after NHS.

Most of the staff are really friendly and helpful with the exception of the few which you will get everywhere.

I have not had ANY experience of patients being verbally aggressive or rude here which I have to admit was becoming everyday occurrence in the UK NHS. This is due to the hospital zero tolerance of people who behave this way which I found so refreshing!

Aged care is a different story but that is only in my limited experience which consisted of 2 shifts then I never went back. Could be totally different in another facility.

BIG difference is,  I received virtually no supernumerary time and they expected me to be up and running despite the differences in drug names, protocols etc. This is where the friendly staff come into play as being crucial to their response to your constant questions. If your working with a good team you will get through - if not, your pretty much on your own.

There are no HCA's in Acute Care at all. The Enrolled Nurse is equivalent with the difference they are Medication Endorsed.

Nurses over here are perceived very differently with a lot of respect given to them and a recognition of their professionalism and skills which I think can often be lacking in the UK.

That's it really. Mostly good.

Good luck.

 

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In Victoria they got the nurse:patient ratio into law, which was great. Saves wrangling every time the EBA comes up for renewal!

Aged care is somewhere wild horses wouldn’t drag me into. Yet to meet an RN that likes it. It’s often just you and HCAs and you are responsible for them all, often by phone if you aren’t in. If someone doesn’t show up for their shift and you can’t find someone to cover, you have to do it...those sorts of things. Very stressful.

I never did acute care but in the community it has become very task oriented and that has been driven by the funding model. Lots of jobs in the community are now EN or HCA rather than RN, again due to the funding model. Choice of role in the community was getting very limited by the time I left. 

If you work on the wards or in acute services you should notice a difference for the better.

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The main differences are patient ratios and staffing levels. (I have only ever worked in Victoria so I can’t speak to other states) in the main public hospitals in Melbourne it is 1:4 on a day shift and 1:8 on a nightshift, however it changes depending on the acuity of the ward. ED is 1:3, theatre and recovery I believe varies and ICU obviously is 1:1. On the wards here if someone phones in sick we can’t simply say “let them work short” because the law dictates the ratios and it is well protected by the unions (as it should be. Other differences, yes drugs can be quite hard to get used to, Aussies tend to use the brand names for a lot of drugs rather than the generic names, it’s a bloody hassle at first but you get used to it eventually. They abbreviate everything, a central line is a CVC, a catheter is an IDC, a blood sugar is a BSL, antibiotics are “antis” you get my general drift, they seem very behind the UK in so many aspects but then in certain ways they are much further ahead. Met calls for example are taken very seriously over here and it has had a direct correlation with decrease in inpatient mortality.

With regards to what@hamsterwheel has said I’m afraid I beg to differ. A lot of staff are not helpful at all (particularly if you are working bank or agency) most places don’t practice team nursing and it isint in the Aussie nursing culture to offer help to their colleagues (no matter how hard I try to instil it in my staff they are just too interested in their own work to help anyone else)

I have worked in numerous hospitals in Melbourne and some places have equipment even older than the worst we had in deepest darkest Glasgow so please don’t be expecting everywhere to have bright and shiny equipment!

Lastly with regards to hospital zero tolerance, sorry hamster wheel but that is wholly inaccurate in my experience, in fact hospitals here I find are worse as the doctors are much more keen to try and keep aggressive patients on the wards for treatment compared to at home where they were told to buck up or leave. However the main difference here is that all hospitals have security guards and trained staff (including myself) who attend “code grey” incidents and help support the ward staff when they have particularly aggressive or psychotic patients, we didn’t have that at all at home and it is something that makes me feel safer working here.

I can’t speak to ages care as I have never worked in aged care here but I hear it’s not the best.

Overall nursing in Australia is much more supported than nursing in the UK. It can be daunting at first but once you get stuck in and realise your work ethic is valued very highly here due to the young Aussie nurses not really wanting to get there hands to dirty for long, you will settle in and go far I’m sure

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Just thought I’d add a couple of comments to this. I’m an Aus Enrolled nurse and I’ve never worked in the UK as a nurse, I trained here as a new career. 

On 16/01/2019 at 14:03, Hamsterwheel said:

There are no HCA's in Acute Care at all. The Enrolled Nurse is equivalent with the difference they are Medication Endorsed.

This is incorrect, ENs are registered with ARPRA and have the same patient loads as RNs, however we are not permitted to administer S8 meds or give blood products but can be secondary signature.  Enrolled nurses do however have to work under the direct supervision of an RN. For what it’s worth I think the reason diploma trained UK nurses have been unable or have difficulty in getting registration is because Enrolled nurses in Australia hold a diploma. HCAs in the UK require no qualification (I checked). Some areas do however employ AINs (assistant in nursing) which is like a HCA. So please don’t under estimate the role of EN. I Work hard 😁.

On 29/01/2019 at 00:22, Ballaratburd said:

Aussies tend to use the brand names for a lot of drugs rather than the generic names, it’s a bloody hassle at first but you get used to it eventually. 

Yep this is true, however I’d like to point out that’s usually down to Drs and a lot of those are from overseas or old school and certainly in NSW where I am, nurses regularly tell them off.

As for the friendlyness and helpfulness of colleagues, a lot of that is down to you and how you interact. As a good Australian friend of mine said if people keep pointing out “at home we do it like this” and “at home blah blah”  it’s annoying and “as you clearly know it all” you’ll get a “get on with it then” attitude back. You’ll always get some you can’t get on with but you have to come to Australia to fit in not the other way around. If you do that you’ll be fine.

On a different note to this, I thought I’d add that recently on a visit to the UK a family member ended up in hospital. WOW what a culture shock that was.... I saw a very unhappy bunch of staff. As I said I’ve never worked as a nurse in the UK, and was really shocked at the lack of care my relative received. There was simply no staff to attend. There is very little in the way of allied health and social workers are impossible to speak to, even if you can find one. My relative (83yrs with fractured femur and partially sighted) was discharged with nothing put in place to go home to, no community nurse to visit, no physio, no social worker...... absolutely nothing. Not even a call to her very elderly husband to let him know she was on the transport heading home. She was expected to give herself Clexane (brand name I know 😂) every day and had to ask a neighbour to do it. To get an appointment to see a GP is impossible. I have been away from the UK for 20 yrs and I wouldn’t go back to live there for anything. 

Before anyone thinks I’m having a go, I’m not. I guess my point is, if you can work in those conditions...... Australia will be a breeze. It’s not perfect here, but at least we have some time to care for our patients.

 

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Just thought I’d add a couple of comments to this. I’m an Aus Enrolled nurse and I’ve never worked in the UK as a nurse, I trained here as a new career. 
Yep this is true, however I’d like to point out that’s usually down to Drs and a lot of those are from overseas or old school and certainly in NSW where I am, nurses regularly tell them off.
As for the friendlyness and helpfulness of colleagues, a lot of that is down to you and how you interact. As a good Australian friend of mine said if people keep pointing out “at home we do it like this” and “at home blah blah”  it’s annoying and “as you clearly know it all” you’ll get a “get on with it then” attitude back. You’ll always get some you can’t get on with but you have to come to Australia to fit in not the other way around. If you do that you’ll be fine.
On a different note to this, I thought I’d add that recently on a visit to the UK a family member ended up in hospital. WOW what a culture shock that was.... I saw a very unhappy bunch of staff. As I said I’ve never worked as a nurse in the UK, and was really shocked at the lack of care my relative received. There was simply no staff to attend. There is very little in the way of allied health and social workers are impossible to speak to, even if you can find one. My relative (83yrs with fractured femur and partially sighted) was discharged with nothing put in place to go home to, no community nurse to visit, no physio, no social worker...... absolutely nothing. Not even a call to her very elderly husband to let him know she was on the transport heading home. She was expected to give herself Clexane (brand name I know ) every day and had to ask a neighbour to do it. To get an appointment to see a GP is impossible. I have been away from the UK for 20 yrs and I wouldn’t go back to live there for anything. 
Before anyone thinks I’m having a go, I’m not. I guess my point is, if you can work in those conditions...... Australia will be a breeze. It’s not perfect here, but at least we have some time to care for our patients.
 


I’m not disagreeing with you that the care was poor but I suppose it’s important to keep in mind that in Australia (well Victoria at least) nurses look after 4 patients in a public hospital whereas in all likelihood your relative would have been one of anywhere up to fourteen patients with one registered nurse looking after her.

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Thank you for taking the time to respond to this post, it’s greatly appreciated. 

I feel so worn out by the NHS at the minute and I know in my heart it’s only the tip of the iceberg and that only in a couple of years the pressure will be even worse. I’m really keen to give nursing a good shot in Australia and hope that the risk of emigrating pays off.

I lnow that nursing isn’t a bed of roses and I’m not blinkered in that sense but the thought of carrying on in nursing in the NHS brings me a sense of dread. It’s reassuring to hear that VIC have safe staffing numbers, that’s a really good safeguard in place. 

 

Sorry to hear that a family member of yours had such a poor experience with the NHS @BusbyBoo it’s heartbreaking as no nurse wants to hear stories like this when they try so hard every single hour at work but it’s out of the hands of the staff on the shop floors.

Sounds like I’ve got some work cut out with getting my head around abbreviations and drug names.  

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