Sixty registered nurses from the United Kingdom (UK) and Ireland are to join the Northern New South Wales Local Health District (NNSWLHD) before February next year.
The NNSWLHD last week issued a media release saying the first group of overseas nurses has already arrived and is settling into the district’s hospitals.
Their arrival is part of an international recruitment drive for nurses to the region, which has been having to rely on outsourced agency staff.
The outsourced labor has included nurses and locum doctors at a reported cost to taxpayers of nearly $150 million in the past financial year.
Director of Nursing and Midwifery at NNSWLHD Katharine Duffy says most of the incoming nurses are Registered Nurse year 8, and that another 100 overseas-based nurses are being supported through Australia’s visa and immigration process as part of the scheme.
New nurses loving the Northern Rivers
NSW Minister for Regional Health Ryan Park says the government is embracing a holistic and comprehensive suite of initiatives to address the state’s regional healthworker shortage, and international recruitment is one component.
Nurse Meera Krishnan arrived from the UK in October and is reportedly now working in Lismore Base Hospital’s Surgical Ward.
‘We were very stressed when we were moving over to a new country, because it’s a new place, we don’t know how it will be, and the workplace will be very different,’ Ms Krishnan was quoted saying.
‘But when we came, the people here welcomed us like their own, and we feel so comfortable, even on the first day,’ she said.
Ms Krishnan’s colleague, Tessy Thomas, was also quoted saying the liveability of the region was a huge drawcard in helping them decide to make the move to Australia.
‘The climate in the UK is too cold. We were searching for a good climate, and we got very lucky. It’s almost like the Indian climate, so I’m very happy to live here,’ Ms Thomas said.
Indian national Kavitha Mathew, is posted at the Kyogle Multi-Purpose Service, where her previous experience in acute care and aged care is being put to use.
Ms Kavitha says she likes to live in a small town, because it’s not rushed, it’s quiet and calm.