Most of you probably know this by now 🤣 but I love going to the gym, going out for a coffee and walking. Lots and lots of walking. Maybe about 20,000 steps along a coastal route would be perfect for me.
Now that Covid isn’t so strictly monitored and folks can go out and about again, are you into after-work happy hours?
Not really to be honest. As I’m a nurse, I don’t really have the time to attend happy hours. If I am free in the afternoon, I usually head to the gym. I don’t really drink during the week and they don’t seem to have happy hours at the weekends much. Don’t get me wrong, I love happy hours but they just don’t fit into my daily schedule.
What physical traits do you share with your relatives?
Wrinkles. The ONE physical feature I have from my Dad’s side is wrinkles on my face and lots of them around my eyes. Sad but true 😜 but at least I have my hair on my head.
How long does it take you to decide if you like someone or not?
I normally make my mind up pretty quickly and I like to feel I’m a good judge of character. I like most people thankfully 😅.
Feel free to share some wisdom you live by.
Try to make the most of every day. Life is too short and you never know what is around the corner so go out and enjoy the little things in life and appreciate everything that’s good in your life 😊.
Thanks for reading and thank you Melanie for some more great questions.
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.
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 🙈.
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!
This one is easy for me. My biggest challenge to date is gaining the skills to be able to move to Australia. I have travelled here many years ago on a working holiday visa and always wanted to come back and live as a resident. This is no easy thing to do. Australia has very strict immigration rules. If you want to live here in Australia, you have to be of value to them, which is fair enough really.
You can live here if you have a skill that is in demand. I had a good look at their skilled visa occupation list and picked something that I thought I could maybe learn to do and enjoy as a new career path.
Some of you will know the career path that I chose was a nursing one. Everywhere in the world is in need of nurses so I thought this would be a great career move and I had always thought of nursing in the back of my mind as I really enjoy working with people and feel like I have a caring and patient nature. Also my mum was a nurse too so I think that definitely helped with making the decision to study nursing.
Before I could study nursing I had to gain some experience in the caring profession in order to discover these two crucial points:
1 – Would I enjoy nursing?
2 – Would I be capable?
Fortunately, I applied and received my first caring role in a residential home looking after older people. To my delight, I thoroughly enjoyed the work. It was something completely different from what I had ever done before and even though it was really hard work, both physically and mentally, I found that loved it. I loved making people smile, brightening their day and I had the opportunity to work with some amazing other care workers. The experience I gained here was immeasurable.
The next question I would have to ask is, would I be eligible to apply for the course? Although nurses are highly sought after, many people also want to be nurses, making it very competitive to enrol in a nursing degree. I was gaining experience as a care assistant but I also needed the relevant qualifications. Thankfully, I had already carried out a degree beforehand and had the adequate A level results so I was able to meet the eligibility criteria.
I applied to university whilst working as a care assistant and to my horror I didn’t receive an offer of acceptance first time round. I was saddened but I had initially applied for mental health nursing and I knew already that it was highly competitive. Maybe this was a blessing in disguise.
I spent another year in the residential home and reapplied to university a year later, this time for general nursing. I became a supervisor in the residential home and continued to really enjoy the work. This gave me the confidence to apply for a nursing assistant job in a hospital, as part of the NHS. Two years after having joined the residential home, I was now working as a nursing assistant in theatres. This was an amazing job opportunity and extremely different from working in a care home.
A few months later, I received a letter to say I had been successful to study general nursing!!! This was SUCH an amazing feeling to finally be another step closer to my Australian dream.
I enrolled in university the following year and continued to work both as a care assistant in the home and as a nursing assistant in the hospital. I was able to work across four different hospitals in numerous wards throughout my journey as a nursing assistant. I will never forget the things I learned here and the amount of amazing nursing assistants and nurses that I met along the way. It showed me the many different varieties of nursing and also allowed me to discover where I enjoyed working and where I maybe wanted to avoid in the future. I would say all nurses have certain tasks that they love performing and others not so much. The joy of nursing is that there is so much choice with regards to different nursing fields. If you don’t like one aspect of nursing, you can choose another that is more suited to you and you can also work in different settings, for example, hospital, community, GP surgery, telehealth etc.
So I studied nursing for three years. A full time degree whilst working part time. Hard, hard work, long hours and very little money but I loved it again. I had the best experiences, both in placements and in the classroom. Every six weeks we would change from being on placement to being back at uni and so on, whilst every placement you were on was in a different setting.
After completing my nursing degree, I became a registered nurse and luckily was able to obtain my first job pretty quickly. There was a huge demand for nurses then in Northern Ireland so all students were able to obtain their first choice of nursing profession. I worked in my first post for two years whist trying to plan my move to Australia. It all paid off in the end. I completed all my paper work and became an Australian resident before emigrating. This was another whole process and that is for another blog down the line. I do have a previous blog post on the nursing application to be a nurse in Australia here but be aware this may have changed since then.
There you have it. My journey to become a nurse and make the move to becoming an Australia resident. The whole process took about seven years. This was my biggest challenge to date and it was a lengthy process to say the least. I am glad I faced it and overcame the process. I could have let my dream pass and stayed living at home. However, I felt that I owed myself to take on the challenge and see what living on the other side of the world would be like for a lengthy period.
Thanks for reading guys. It’s slightly longer than my previous Bloganuary posts.
First of all, can I just say, congratulations to everyone who has it made it through the first week of the blogging daily challenge 🙌🏼. Is anyone else really enjoying it? This blogging daily thing is really good actually. Luckily I have some distance to travel to and from work and fortunately I travel by train. This gives me plenty of time to get my thinking cap on, switch off from the world and write a simple blog.
What makes me laugh? Anything really. I laugh a lot. I love when you laugh for no reason. It could be something silly someone said or you said, or an action or a memory. When you laugh so hard that you cannot stop. Even if you want to stop. For me it often happens at the most inappropriate times. When I really shouldn’t be laughing. It’s never ending, tears are tripping me and my stomach hurts, sides splitting 😆. Even then I cannot stop.
My friends normally end up joining in, even if they don’t necessarily want to. Laughter is so infectious. I used to get into trouble at school for laughing so much, especially in the library when we were supposed to be super silent. I can’t count the amount of times that I was told to leave the library or class room for laughing so much and distracting others. Even through my university days and studying nursing, I would have many outbursts of laughter. I have one friend that just makes me laugh so much and vice versa. When we are together, it’s just a laugh fest. Not very good when you’re trying to learn or be productive.
I also think I laugh when I’m nervous or stressed about something. It’s almost like a coping mechanism. Have you ever heard the saying, “if you didn’t laugh, you would cry”.
However, I believe laughter is good for you. Good for your health, good for the soul. We need laughter. Especially when times are tough. Laughter is a good outlet to let negative things go and enables you to reset. It’s the best medicine. Unless of course you have just had abdominal surgery. Then I would suggest not to laugh too hard 🙈🤣.
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 😷.
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 ✈️.
Hi everybody!!! It has been a while. I haven’t written a blog in about 4 months, sorry for that. To be honest, I haven’t had much to say or write about as there has been no travelling for the past few months (except Melbourne twice but does that even count?!). I have been attempting to lay low and save my pennies/cents for the big year that is to come in 2020. A fellow blogger has been carrying out 12 months and 12 photos and I loved this idea. It’s a great way for me to create a blog and keep me in the game. It’s the first time I saw another blog post and thought, yes, I want to do that. So thanks to Tanja from @theredphoneboxtravels for the inspo. I have picked my 12 photos (not an easy task by the way, if you have a few things going on each month) and added a little caption to each one. I hope you find them of interest 🙂
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!!!