Australia VS Northern Ireland

As I plan to move back home to Northern Ireland (at least for a few months) I thought it would be a good idea to reflect on both countries and delve into the pros and cons of living in each country. I had been thinking of these a lot over the past few months when trying to make a decision about where to live. As an expat, these are things we think about, pretty much on a daily basis, as sad as that sounds. In this post I will look at the pros and cons of Australia and in my next blog post I will look at Northern Ireland.

Australia Pros :

The weather. It’s pretty much warm for most of the year. Winter here can be cold enough but only lasts for about three months give or take.

The lifestyle. It’s very chilled out here in Australia, especially in Sydney where I live by the water. The sunshine makes people happy, the coastal walks, dining outdoors, exercising etc. I think just being outdoors is so good for our mental health and well-being.

The opportunities. Australia is the land of opportunity. There is plenty of work available here and you can process quickly. Even the fact I have been teaching here has been a huge opportunity that I wouldn’t have been given back home.

The money. The fact is, I earn a lot more as a nurse here than I ever will back home. That can be said for many jobs here. Yes the expense of living is much higher here but you can still manage to save money here and live a really fulfilling life.

The health system. It is amazing here, with a mixture of public and private, it works really well. I feel so fortunate to be in a country with such a fantastic health system, unlike America where it costs a fortune and many people can’t afford or the NHS that is really struggling and has been for many years now.

The activities. There is always something to do, especially in Sydney. There are an abundance of bars and restaurants, plenty of bush, beach and ocean walks, lots of experiences, seeing the sights and famous landmarks etc etc, I could go on forever here.

The sheer size of Australia. There is also so much to see and do all over Australia, therefore, you don’t really ever need to leave Australia if you want to see somewhere new. I don’t think I realised how big Australia actually is until I lived here for some time. It is unbelievably huge with each state completely different from the next and offering so much that really is a feast for anyone living here.

Australia Cons :

The weather. As much as I love the weather here, it can also be a negative for Australia, especially the past three years. The bush fires are becoming more aggressive, wiping out so much land and killing millions of animal species. 2019 was horrific, so I dread to think how the next bush fires will be. Then we have the other extreme, flooding. The last two years we have had the La Niña weather event, bringing catastrophic amounts of rainfall. This is also predicted to last well into next year. The only silver lining with the rain is that it prevents the bush fires. I feel also with global warming, that the weather here, sadly, will be seeing more and more extremes of weather disasters.

The distance. Personally, this is my biggest issue. It never used to bother me before covid. I always felt that if I needed to be home, I could always hop on a flight and be home within 24 hours. However, since being in lockdown, we haven’t been home in over three years. We suddenly feel very far from home. We are literally at the other side of the word. With lockdowns, it appeared to the outside world that Australia was very much cut off from everywhere else in the world. Family and friends are very important to me and if I can’t see them, that’s a big problem.

In conclusion, you can see I have many more pros than cons. I absolutely love Australia and its people. It is a magnificent country with lots to do and great opportunities but I don’t have my family here. I feel extremely far away and for that reason, I will be going home for a few months to see how it goes.

Keep an eye on my next blog post where I will write about the pros and cons of Northern Ireland. Thanks for reading everyone and have a pleasant day.

Wayne ✌🏽

Tuesday thoughts 💭 – Share your world 07-06-22

Melanie’s questions this week are good ones in my opinion 🤗 so thank you Melanie.

When you were a kid, did you eat the crusts on your sandwich or not?

Yes absolutely. I love the crusts and still do. They also give you curly hair!

Are you a fan of musicals—why or why not?

Yes I LOVE musicals. I love the energy and the way that musicals can be emotive, really lifting your spirits with one song and the next you could be weeping like a willow. I used to work in the Grand Opera House Belfast as an usher and this is where my love for musicals blossomed. We were able to watch every single show that visited the Opera House. I remember “having” to watch Chicago for fifteen shows straight…and I loved every minute of it. The euphoria you feel at the end, when everyone is clapping and the actors take their bows, it’s another level.

Is it difficult to do what you do? (for a living, hobby etc.). If you’re retired, what you ‘did’ previously for a job can be substituted.

I am a registered nurse here in Sydney. I would say it is a tough job but when you enjoy what you do, it doesn’t seem so bad. The tasks that we have to perform are not difficult, as we are well trained. It’s the obstacles in front of us that can make our work hard. For example, being short staffed, not having the resources we need, having numerous tasks to perform in a short period of time, not to mention the things that can happen out of the blue, i.e. if a patient becomes really sick or we enter a pandemic. The last two years have been extremely difficult for nurses worldwide. Not only for the extra duties we have to carry out and the PPE that we have to wear for a whole shift but we were also fearful of becoming sick ourselves and/or bringing the virus home to our loved ones. You not only become physically exhausted but also emotionally drained. I feel for those nurses who were working in nursing homes, emergency, ICU and the covid wards. When family were unable to see loved ones. That must have been heartbreaking for everyone concerned and for the nurses being the patients first and maybe only point of call. Nurses do not want to be recognised as superheroes, we want to be seen as professionals in our trade and respected and paid accordingly 😊.

What’s the best concert you’ve ever been to? (Doesn’t have to be a rock concert either).

Eminem, Glasgow, 2003. I’m not a huge rap fan but he was really out of this world. Also John Legend in Atlantic City, 2005 was pretty special.

GRATITUDE SECTION

Looking back over your life, what is one thing you’re grateful for? One thing you really regret?

I’m grateful for the upbringing I was given. To be kind and respectful to others, to be the best person I can be. The one thing I do regret is undertaking a geography degree. I completed it but it has done nothing for me. It was one of those degrees that everyone seemed to be doing whilst having a great time at uni so I thought, sure why not. However, it was a complete waste of time. Maybe I learned some life lessons but that’s about it 🙈.

Thanks for reading guys. Have a great day.

Wayne ✌🏽

Happy International Nurse’s Day!!!

Happy International Nurse’s Day!!! To all the hard working nurses out there, be that registered nurses, enrolled nurses, nursing assistants and nursing students, all around the world…especially throughout the past two years. It’s not the easiest of jobs but we love what we do 👨🏼‍⚕️💛👩🏼‍⚕️ and it’s Florence Nightingale’s birthday!

Wayne ✌🏽

NSW on a vaccine high ☺️

90% of people here in New South Wales are double vaccinated. I am so thrilled for everyone here for pulling together, listening to the health professionals and getting their shots. I know it hasn’t been easy with some people divided over having the vaccine. However, the fact that it has been made almost compulsory to have the vaccine has enabled us to be safer in our daily lives and get back to some sort of new normal.

I’m hoping things continue to improve for us here in Australia and for everyone around the world 😷.

Stay safe and sane everyone ✌🏽

Covid 19 Booster

This blog is in response to Fandangos Provocative Question #FPQ, which is: If you have already received your initial COVID-19 vaccinations, are you intending to get a booster shot when it becomes available to you? Why or why not? If you have yet to be vaccinated for COVID-19, are you intending to ever get vaccinated? Why or why not?

Although I’m a travel blogger per se, I think this is such an interesting question and a very topical and divisive topic at present. Personally, I cannot wait to have a booster shot, 3rd vaccine in total to protect against the coronavirus.

I’m a nurse, so I appreciate the importance in protecting ourselves and others from the virus spreading. I am no medical genius by any means but I trust the medical professionals and the advice they have provided. I know with the vaccines you can still be infected and can still pass the virus on to others. However, the chances of this are significantly reduced and if you do happen to become infected, your risk of hospitalisation is decreased drastically. Very few, if any people here in Australia are hospitalised after having the initial 2 shots of the vaccine. This therefore frees the hospital beds for those people that are sick from other illnesses etc.

I believe a 3rd shot is needed to maintain a high number of antibodies in your system. I look at it like a flu shot we receive every year. Different strains may evolve again as we have seen in the past. Therefore, vaccines may need tweaking in the future again and given again to people en mass.

Even with my initial 2 vaccine shots, I still do not want to get covid 19. So bring on my 3rd shot already 🤣🤣. At present we have to wait 6 months for our booster so hopefully I can receive mine next month 🙌🏼. I think we should be extremely thankful that we have the vaccines, especially as some people living in third world countries may find it harder to obtain them or some people may lack the education and knowledge of how the vaccines work.

Stay safe everyone and get vaccinated ✌🏽

Wayne ☺️

Sydney lockdown is officially over 🙏🏼

We made it guys! After 106 days we are now officially out of lockdown. Boy it feels good…but also a bit nerve wrecking. It’s so nice to have our freedom again, seeing people out and about, hustle and bustle everywhere. However, you can’t help but think, the virus is still out there. I’m still in favour of social distancing and trying to be as safe as possible. Although I’m double vaccinated, I’m still keen to avoid contracting coronavirus 😬.

People of Sydney, or anywhere in the world that has lived through a lockdown (I’m sure everyone has), what was the first thing you did when the lockdown was lifted???

For me, it was work as usual. Being a nurse, we didn’t have any time off during lockdown. Yes I am forever grateful to have been in employment and have some sort of normality. At least we could see our work colleagues and chat about the ever changing pandemic days whilst still earning an income. However, I’m sure I speak for many nurses, it would have been lovely to have a couple of weeks off at home. Not annual leave or being off sick but just days at home to chill out and reset. Alas it wasn’t meant to be and that’s ok.

Finishing work, it was really amazing to see people out on the streets, seeing people sitting through cafe windows enjoying their soy caps and shopping malls with shop doors finally opened again. There was a real buzz around Sydney today and it felt good, albeit a bit strange. The first thing I did was go to the gym. As much as I was slightly nervous, I couldn’t wait to get back to training and seeing friends. Finally I could lift a heavy weight again 🏋️‍♂️ and maybe feel the burn the next day 😅.

I hope you all enjoy the next few days/weeks of having no lockdown. What are you excited to do/see? I personally can not wait to be able to travel again ✈️.

Thanks for reading guys and stay safe 🙏🏼

Wayne 😜

Nursing in Australia: Moving from the UK

Hi everyone.

As you may be aware, I have moved to Australia and am currently working as a nurse, having previously nursed in Belfast. I receive a lot of messages on how I made the move and what people need to do to become a nurse in Australia. Therefore, I thought it may be beneficial to compose a blog about what to do and offer some tips that I wish had been offered to me. It is no easy task becoming a nurse in Australia and is a complete minefield when you first start to research the process, especially if you do everything yourself. However, it is completely do-able and totally worth it when you receive your registration. I had considered hiring a migrant agent to help me as it seemed so confusing, however, it is a simple process when you break everything down and take your time. You will save a fortune doing it yourself and if I can do it, anyone can!

First things first. You will have to join AHPRA (Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency). From the website you can download the form for international nurses. The form is called AGOS-40 and can be downloaded from here.  There is lots of helpful information on the site, make sure you read every link available, it will save you time in the long run. If you have studied the nursing degree in the UK, passed everything and graduated, then you should meet all the registration requirements. You will need to ask your university to send your university transcripts directly to AHPRA. This is basically a break down of everything you have done at university, e.g. your hours of study and placements, topics covered etc. etc. The address to post this to will be at the end of the application form. Just pick a city that you want your documents to go to (to be honest it doesn’t matter which city, I picked Sydney because I was coming here). You can organise this before you even start your application form. AHPRA will set up a case file for you as soon as your first document arrives to them. All other documents, including your application form will be added to your case file.

Ok so let’s go through the application form. Sections A and B are self explanatory. Section C: Proof of identity can be tricky. You have to provide 1 piece of evidence from categories A, B and C. For category A, if you are using an overseas passport with current Australian visa, you can apply for a holiday visa for free here. This will suffice for the AHPRA application. If you do this, you should be ok for categories B and C.

Section D is fine, section E you will most likely be answering with NO. You will need to attach certified copies of your qualifications. You will also need to write out a list of all your qualifications, including A levels, GCSEs etc.

Section F is registration history. You previously were able to get a certificate of registration from the NMC website here. However, it now states you can get this from your original school of training.  Section G you will need to attach an updated version of your CV. Section H is criminal history. Question 16 you will be answering YES. You will have to carry out an international criminal history check. You can find this here. Question 17 will determine your English competency. You will complete a list of your schools and state that they taught you in English. It is good to organise a letter from the schools to state that you were taught in English. If the schools cannot send this directly to AHPRA, you can print the email and have it certified by a justice of the peace. Alternatively you can complete and English language test with IELTS. Question 21 regarding indemnity insurance, the answer will be YES. The following questions are fine. There is a great checklist at the end to ensure you have answered everything correctly, it is best to use this. There is a payment to be made of $520.

Having completed the application form, you can then decide which visa will be best for you. If you are under 31 and have never been in Australia, you can apply for the working holiday visa here.

If you cannot apply for this, you can apply for the sponsorship skilled migration visa. You can find details here. To be honest, this has changed a lot recently and causes much confusion. Basically you will will need to find a company that is willing to sponsor you in Australia. This is difficult for nurses if you want to live in the big cities. If you want to see more rural Australia then this could be for you. Many hospitals in more rural settings will offer sponsorship with great benefits.

Another option is to apply for permanent residency. Information can be found here.You will have to carry out an English test for this (IELTS is a great one to do and available in many big cities across the UK). Details can be found here. You will also have to gain a skills assessment. For nurses this can be done with ANMAC (Australian Nursing and Midwifery Accreditation Council) and can be completed here. This works similarly to AHPRA in that you can send all the relevant documents straight to ANMAC or have your university etc send them directly to ANMAC. They will set up a case file for you so documents can keep arriving to them and kept in one place. If you are doing this skills assessment, it is best to send all your documents needed to AHPRA and ANMAC at the same time, that way you are not asking different people to send things twice, it can be done at the same time (I hope this makes sense). After all this, you can set up an account with the department of immigration and border protection. A tool called skill select is used to see if your skills are needed in Australia. You will submit an expression of interest here. When you receive a reply (usually pretty quick) you will know whether you can continue to apply for the visa through skill select. You will be advised then how many points you need to gain entry (think this is 60 points) and how you will gain the points needed. If you reach the number of points needed, you can apply for permanent residency! The application is completed online and is pretty straightforward. You can upload your documents needed directly to your skill select account. You can find out the outcome usually within a few months.

I know this has been a really long blog but I hope it will give some insight for those nurses seeking to work and live in Australia. Just remember, if you are sending copies of documents, you will need to have them all certified. A justice of the peace will do these for free. If you choose a solicitor you may well be charged for each document being signed. AHPRA provide information here on who can certify documents, this is pretty standard for all documents being sent to Australia.

If you have any questions at all please do not hesitate to contact me. I will be only to happy to help in any way that I can. Ps. I found www.britishexpats.com really helpful when I was doing all this. It is a forum for like minded nurses looking to emigrate. It was amazing when looking for advice.

Ok fellow nurses, thanks for reading and good luck!!!

W 🙂

 

 

My very 1st blog!

Hello there. What’s the craic? I have been debating for a long time whether to start blogging or not, mainly down to the time that may be required. However, I feel it is something that could be fun, therapeautic and provide a platform to interact with others from all walks of life. I’m very new to this so please bare with me.

So a little about me. I’m a man in my near mid thirties and I come from Northern Ireland. I had been living in Belfast for the last decade but my ambition was to 1 day return to the land down under. Having already spent a year in Australia on a working holiday visa, I soon acquired the desire to return in the future. 7 years later a lot has changed in my life and I have reached my goal of becoming a permanent resident. It has been a lengthy process with many highs and lows, however, it has been an incredible journey that is still continuing to this day.

Please follow me on my Australian adventure and I will aim to keep you updated and entertained.

Thanks a lot,

Wayne ✌🏽

When I saw this landmark I knew I was in Australia! 👌🏼

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