Contest: International Nurses and Midwives Week

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International Nurses and Midiwives Week is just around the corner. [IMD is Friday May 5, IND is Friday May 12 – and we all share the week in between!]

To mark the occasion, we have a simple contest with stunning prizes, such as two nights at the deluxe Rydges Sydney Central hotel!

And every entrant will get a Nurse Uncut tote bag!

This year, we want to put the spotlight on international.

What does international mean to you as a nurse or midwife?

Have you worked internationally? Do you want to travel and work in the future? Have you volunteered overseas?

Or do you work with international colleagues?

To enter*, simply tell us in a short comment below about any international aspect of your nursing or midwifery career – even if it took place here in Australia.

[If you’re shy and don’t want to post online, simply send your response with your name and address via our Contact form to enter.]

Every entrant will receive a Nurse Uncut tote bag. But the big prizes are…

You could win:

Rydges Sydney Central stay: You could win two nights (Sunday to Thursday) at the deluxe Rydges Sydney Central hotel!

Featuring 271 newly refurbished rooms and suites finished in a unique Surry Hills inspired design. There is 24-hour reception, free wi-fi throughout, 15 metre renovated indoor heated pool, spa & sauna, gym facility and underground car parking. The hotel also features Rydges Rise breakfast and our unique venue, Bar Surry Hills & Italian Kitchen, all located only 200m from Sydney’s Central Train Station.

Comedy for nurses and midwives: We have five double passes to see nurse comedian Georgie Carroll (she’s originally a Brit, so international!) in the Sydney Comedy Festival on any night from Wednesday 10 May to Sunday 14 May at the Factory Theatre, Marrickville, inner west Sydney. (Your ticket will be under your name on the door.)

Watch Georgie in her show ‘Gauze and Effect’.

Here she is on YouTube.

These are great prizes and all you have to do is tell us what international means to you as we approach International Nurses and Midwives Week.

This contest is open Australia-wide to nurses and midwives who are Australian residents and who are subscribers to our Nurse Uncut e-newsletter. (Make sure you can enter – sign up here.) You must also be a member of your nursing/midwifery union – this contest is brought to you by the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association.

The contest closes at midnight EST Sunday 7 May and we will draw the winners the next day.

It’s easy to enter and you could have a fabulous prize coming your way! (In fact every entrant will receive a Nurse Uncut tote bag.)

PS: We’re always looking for contributors to the blog – so if you’re a nurse or midwife (or student) with a tale to tell, get in touch at nurseuncut at nswnma.asn.au 

We are authorised to conduct competitions under NSW permit LTPM/17/01625.

23 COMMENTS

  1. ‘International’?
    By 1975 I had completed both my geriatric training and also General training, at Lidcombe Hospital, plus a stint at Blacktown Hospital for the Midwifery component. In 1975 while doing an ICU night shift, my 308 V8 panel van was petrol bombed at 1am behind the unit. Police caught ‘persons of international background’ but then the insurers didn’t pay the full value (as insurers do) so I decided to go to Greece and met up with Aussie nurses (happened to be sibling sisters) and I chased or stalked one (had to save her as she planned to meet up with an American on her return). Anyway, they had bought a 1971 Kombi in the UK, drove through Spain, France, Germany, Austria, Italy and through Yugoslavia, Albania and Greece.
    I noted the car leaked petrol so fixed the fuel line so it wouldn’t leak any more, but the resulting back pressure blew entire fuel line and the car went up in a fireball on a hillside in Greece! ( I took photos of this, which on MY return won a radio station photo competition for ‘typical holiday snap’!) – The girls weren’t happy.
    They bought bicycles (had never ridden a bike before) and we cycled through Greece (lots of crashes for them) and then boat to Italy, cycled there, into Austria. They had enough by then and flew to UK (worked at St Thomas, Guys and private) while I cycled through Austria and Hungary for 4 weeks, before flight to UK, where the sister I liked joined me cycling around the UK, at 60 to 120 MILES a day.
    I had planned to work there and gained my ‘lifetime’ UK nurses registration (still have the badge) but that all changed later. My international nursing experience till then had been tending to and mending bicycle injuries, in the days when life was safe and everyone loved Aussies in these odd countries that today are so dangerous.
    BUT….. in 2006 things changed. The girl (Debbie) I chased in 1975 didn’t escape and we were married in 1977 in Sydney. In 2006 we both took my wife’s mother (Monica) with us on a 61,000 trip via UK, Europe, Scandinavia, New York, but the ‘International’ nursing experience became real this time.
    Monica had never left Aussie shores in her 76 years and was in the early stages of dementia.
    While on the road to the Culloden Battlefields near Inverness in Scotland, we were driving on a narrow winding road with those typical 4ft high stone fences on both sides.
    Outside there was sleet and about 4 degrees centigrade temperature, and we enjoyed the van we were in due to the great heating system. My wife commented: “Look at the Hairy Kooos!” in a joking voice, as she looked across the stone walls at those ‘hairy cooos’), when I replied suddenly:”look at the crash!”

    Debbie said:”what crash?” – and with that, the small sedan travelling right in front of us was wiped out headon by an idiot in a VW Transporter. The van was coming in our direction and had been overtaking a tourist coach on a lefthand bend, so had absolutely no visibility of the road ahead. I had hit the brakes, but had to overtake the car in front, and just skimmed the back of that as the tour coach went past and left me space to get into the opposite lane. I pulled up in front of the accident scene and we jumped out into the icy cold. We told Monica to stay in the car and I left the keys in it for anyone to move the car if needed (and they would have to adopt Monica had they tried to steal the car).
    Debbie and I raced to the scene. The driver who caused the accident was uninjured (bigger vehicle) and had a baby in the car. Total idiot!
    As for the small sedan… the passenger was a 19 year old female, who had been thrown out when the car twisted on hitting the stone wall, ripping the passenger door open. She was bleeding but nothing major, and Debbie took her warm coat off to cover her and keep her safe and still.
    I went for the driver, a 25 year old male, who was entrapped and unconscious. No air bags and the steering wheel was at his chest, blood sprayed out of his mouth with each breath, but in a fine mist. He was unresponsive, but had a pulse. His nose appeared broken as did his jaw. The dash area was all the way past his knee (we found later he had a severe femoral fracture). Anyway, his eyes were deviated to the right and his breaths weren’t the best, so I straightened his head slightly and put some fingers in his mouth over his tongue and pulled his jaw forward which resulted in him breathing. I kept talking to him (despite the zero response) and another coach came by and stopped. Only one person jumped out, then the coach took off.
    Who got out? Only another Aussie from Brisbane… and a paramedic. He helped my wife with the girl (both were better looking than me) and also rang for help.
    It was freezing and the sleet kept falling, but Debbie kept the girl warm and kept her dry.
    Some fire engines arrived and I asked one of them to move my car and Monica 100 yards further from the scene (I knew if the car stayed there we’d never get past the coming chaos). Others of the crew started cutting the back of the car off and the roof (‘jaws of life’ event) and then the ambulance arrived, with a doctor,from Inverness.
    They cannulated the young driver etc and finally after about another 40 minutes he was in the ambulance.
    The funny bit… I was wearing just a T-shirt, which was a fundraiser shirt for the Westmead Hospital ICU, to get cash for their SIM unit, so it had the Westmead Hospital ICU logo patch on it, which the doctor now wanted, because… he worked there only in the previous year! So I gave it to him and got another shirt from the car.
    The ambulance left, the police came and went, after a few conversations and exchange of info, and my wife got her new jacket back, now covered in blood.
    We got to the Culloden Battlefields bed & Breakfast accomodation and explained the blood etc. The landlord there had heard of the accident and knew the young couple. She washed the jacket overnight, discounted our costs for being there and about three months later emailed us and informed us that the young man had now been released from the hospital (his girlfriend was released early on).
    We never heard any more about them.
    Only three people helped the injured locals, while lots of cars kept driving past, without stopping to help.
    It was probably the cold weather, that or the fact that I was only wearing a summer t-shirt may have scared them all off. Good thing we both worked in ICUs as nurses also, I suppose. I have photos of the event in my files, of the extraction process by the firies.

  2. As EN in the 90s there wasn’t a lot of opportunity to work overseas.
    So in 1996 a friend suggested that we apply to work in the Summer Camps in the USA.
    After a rigorous selection criteria which focused on our sporting prowess as much as our nursing abilities, we both were successful.
    I got to go to Maine to the State YMCA Camp. It was only for 8 weeks where I was on call 6 days a week for minimal pay but it did include food and board.
    As I had only worked mainly in aged care and theatres, it wastotally enjoyable and the most exciting thing I had ever done.
    I not only got to meet wonderful people, I was invited to go and visit them when my 8 weeks was over.
    I wish I had done this earlier in my career before commitments take over.

  3. I have just started work as a nurse this year and work with a diverse group of nurses from many different countries. I have learned a lot from them about their cultures and how they compare to Australian culture. It has inspired me… Once I have finished my degree I would love to work in missionary groups both here and abroad.

  4. ‘International’ for me started in November 2013. I was part of an Emergency Medical Response Team that provided aid to victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. I travelled as part of a group of Nurses, Doctors and Paramedics delivering care to communities who had lost everything. The challenge of providing care without the luxury of all the bells and whistles of a first world health system was an opportunity to really utilise my skills of “look, listen and feel”. We worked from makeshift clinics and were billeted with locals whose homes had escaped the destruction. Although the resources were scarce I feel we were able to make a big difference to the communities so desperate for support in a time of crisis. The gratitude and grace of the people we saw was inspiring. Those weeks in the Philippines were some of the most meaningful and rewarding I’ve had as a nurse and set the trajectory I’m now following, of working towards my Masters in Public Health and Tropical Medicine.

    In 2015 I travelled to Nepal after the April earthquake and volunteered with Dulikheil Hospital. Heading out into the tiny villages in the mountains that were serviced by the hospital’s Remote Clinics to see how the communities were coping, work alongside the local staff that provided care in the clinics and report back on the outcome of needs assessments. The extent of the damage from the earthquake was shocking, even 5 months down the track. We passed through village after village where over 90% of all the homes were nothing but rubble. People still living under tarps and in shanties, with the worry of winter looming. Every village had death tolls that touched every household. Most people had no means to purchase materials to build a new home, subsistence farming doesn’t allow for much in the way of saving! Despite the searing poverty, the Nepali people were so generous and hospitable it was embarrassing – they insisted on feeding us and there were endless pots of tea. In Nepal I worked alongside the local nurses and got an idea of their commitment to their profession, their patients and their communities. Nursing work is hard, constant, relentless and there are never enough resources or staff, but they take pride in their practice and always have a smile. While in Nepal I made the commitment to pay the Uni. fees for a young Medical Assistant to be able to get Post Graduate training in Public Health. I’d love to go back to Nepal, but for the time being the money I would spend on flights is instead paying for an education that I hope will reap rewards for many years to come.

    Last year a colleague and I went to Kiribati, in the Western Pacific region to provide Emergency Nurse education to the staff in the Tungaru Hospital. We found a team of nursing staff that were so keen to improve their practice and learn new skills that they turned up to the education on their days off and even after night shift! This year we’ve put together a comprehensive Emergency Nursing course to take back that is specific to the challenges of providing care in a low resource, geographically isolated, tropical environment. We will be in Kiribati very soon delivering the course – a first for us and Kiribati.

    The most meaningful thing about “International” and “Nursing” to me is that no matter where nurses are in the world, nursing is still the same – providing care to those who need it. Nurses across the world strive to provide excellent care to their patients, play a vital and respected role in their communities and share the same slightly crazy sense of humour.
    It’s been an honour to be able to experience nursing and nurses in such a variety of contexts and recognise that there’s something uniquely “Nurse” about us all, that there is a natural bonding and we understand each other, even when our language skills aren’t keeping up.

  5. I have always wanted to work in the UK as a nurse and live there, but life got in the way and only this year I went for a holiday there. I absolutely loved London and still dream of living and working there some day. This dream started over 30 years ago. So for now, I work with a diverse group of people from international backgrounds and I enjoy finding out about their culture. From an Indian RN who has an arranged marriage, from a Fiji Indian RN who made the best curries to a Chinese RN who told me I couldn’t lose weight because my address was number 4. Another Chinese RN who introduced me to Yum Cha and some Irish RNs with the funniest sense of humour. Nurses, same the world over.

  6. When I worked in a Sydney Emergency Department we had a large quotient of immigrants as our catchment area. I learned how to pantomime all sorts of problems at triage including pain, vomiting, diarrhea, painful micturition and intoxication (drugs and alcohol). The waiting room people thought it was hilarious!
    I now have the privilege of teaching nursing and really enjoy the international students who bring unique perspectives to every class discussion. I continue to learn from people from other countries and am grateful that Australia is a wonderful multicultural country.

  7. I became an international nurse in my first year of uni. All of my readings and study was drawn from international journals, sharing research and best practices, proving nursing is truly a global community. Now I am a new grad in Primary Health working with and planning for Australia’s multicultural communities and new refugees. I am hopeful that in my 5th year post grad I will be spending 8 weeks with the Mercy Ship in Africa delivering Primary Healthcare and education to local communities. Love my job.

  8. *I* am the international aspect of my (fledgling) nursing career! I am Irish, have lived here for many years and am near the end of my RN training here in Australia. I still have a strong accent and I’m finding that it’s a great ice breaker with patients and helps to build rapport and distract people from their health issues. I’ve been here long enough to understand Australian ways, but not so long that I’ve forgotten the challenge of settling into a new place, being away from home, out of your comfort zone, isolated from family and friends etc – all factors that help me empathise with my patients.

  9. I’ve found having international coworkers to be an absolute blessing! They have been some of my best friends, confidants, shoulder to cry on, first to volunteer to help out if theres too much work to manage, the smartest at solving complex problems, hard working staff I’ve experienced. It’s a pleasure to work in a multicultural society. And that doesn’t just go for my nursing career, I’d say that I’ve seen this my whole life. Hear hear for international nurses, doctors, midwives, specialists, surgeons and anywhere we are fortunate to have diversity.

  10. My nursing career began internationally. In high school I volunteered in remote Papua New Guinea with a doctor providing immunisations, general health advice and treatment for malaria and wounds. That triggered my love of nursing.
    Throughout my career there have been multiple international links, working closely with some incredible Indian, Kiwi, British, Canadian and Scottish RNs learning about their healthcare systems. Not to mention treating some patients who have travelled the world or lived overseas with amazing stories to tell. And to continue my international nursing involvement, I am moving to the UK shortly to nurse over there and learn new things and meet new people. The one thing stays the same, we are all human and we all value health and our patients. International nursing keeps us inspired and learning.

  11. I went to university and was registered in the US and then came to Australia into one of the “largest tertiary hospitals in the southern hemisphere.” It was the most terrifying and life altering decision I have ever made. I didn’t know what to expect … would the medications have different names, would all the terminology I spent the last 4 years learning be completely different? I had no idea.

    That was 12 years ago and because of that decision I went from a small rural area where everyone was essentially the same to having made friends with nurses from, literally, all over the world. I have heard stories about what it’s like to nurse in Fiji, Africa, Nepal, India, the UK, the Philippines, etc and gotten to eat the wonder food from nurses who come from various ethnic backgrounds on potluck days!

    More recently I went back to the US for a year and worked in a small rural hospital near to where I grew up and I was the one who was able to share my experiences with my native nursing collegues as well as take on a whole new system and skill set.

    I am so proud and grateful to be an international nurse!

  12. In the 80s while working in Sydney our ward had an international flavour. The hospital training was finishing and there was many recruits from overseas as well as Qld’ers and Victorians, WA nurses and Kiwis. The internationals were Scots, English and Irish nurses and a lovely colleague from Hong Kong! It was the best time at work and also out on the town, especially up the Cross and Oxford Street. The skills and knowledge shared have stayed with me all these years and I thank those great co-workers for enriching my life in many ways.

  13. Ive recently started working in a busy Queensland ED. We have a large demographic of staff and I love hearing about the experiences people have had working ‘at home and abroad’. Always super interesting. I love my multicultural workplace.

  14. I’m an American expat who trained as a nurse in Australia and is now retraining as a midwife. Colleagues, patients, families are all international and that’s one reason I love my job. The diversity of experience and tradition all contributes to make me a better nurse and midwife.

  15. Working in an international area, I work with many international nurses. Who bring great culture into the workplace, especially their food which they bring in to share. Yum!
    Caring for international patients who are either visiting or living in Australia. Learning about their language and cultures and how much respect some have for their relatives when they are sick.

  16. Biggest wish is to work overseas. Africa or Cambodia wherever the greater need is.
    A friend worked overseas in Sierre Leone, reading his posts about the daily struggles and the dignity he and others brought into the villages was incredible.
    I cannot wait to help others overseas.
    I wish I’d started my nursing career straight out of school, but I’m making the best of it.
    I love being a nurse, I can’t wait to be an international nurse.

  17. Over the last 40+ years since I started nursing in regional NSW I have noticed the change in the dynamics of the workforce. When I first started the workforce comprised mostly females from English speaking background, to now with a large mixture of international males and females. It has been an interesting time to assist these fellow colleagues to integrate into the community both professionally and personally. Nursing in Australia has truly become an international community.

  18. My dream is to travel to the UK and USA and work as a nurse. Unfortunately as an EEN opportunities are limited, so down the track when I’m a little more financially stable I’ll endeavour to complete my RN and travel. I will get there.

  19. I finished my nursing in 1995 and after I got my registration worked in the Philippines from 1995-1998. I applied to work overseas for greener pastures and to help my family. I started working in the Middle East (Saudi Arabia) in 1999-2002. I was 23 then, young and driven to work hard for myself and my family. At first, I was scared and nervous to work there because of the news I was hearing about the Overseas Filipino Workers in the Middle East. We were 12 in the group that came together and were lucky to work in one hospital. One of the nurses in the group was my mother’s classmate in college! So I felt quite relieved as half the group had worked before in the Middle East and they told us how the system works, culture, what to expect when we start work there. I worked in a government hospital. The salary was good and they have increments every year. Most of the staff in the hospital were Filipinos, Egyptians, Indians, Ghanaians, Saudians, Sri Lankans, Irish. It was hard at first to work especially with the language barrier as most of the patients were locals and speak Arabic. Even our Director of Nursing was a Filipina married to an Egyptian doctor – so the nervousness, uneasiness, the what ifs, were relieved as they are very supportive of us.
    I worked in the Medical/Isolation Ward, I learned about MRSA, ESBL- how to look after them, precautions that are needed and the like. All the staff in the ward were also screened for MRSA and if staff turned positive they were given free treatment and annual leave until they were negative for the screening. They have high respect for nurses and if they knew you are a Filipino, they know you are hardworking and trustworthy.
    It was hard for me at first even having support and help from colleagues. We have to learn their values, beliefs and way of living. Man and woman are to be seen separately in Emergency Department and they have male and female wards (medical and surgical).But after 3 months I have learned their language and even now I can still speak Arabic (which is helpful as sometimes we have elderly patients in the ward that speak Arabic and even with simple words I can understand them and it helps) I was happy to share my knowledge and experience with my colleagues in the Middle East. It was worth working there even if we were far from our loved ones.
    I am grateful and can proudly say that I am an INTERNATIONAL NURSE….:)

  20. I just returned from Cotonou, Benin, West Africa, after volunteering for 2 months on Africa Mercy ship.
    I worked as a nurse on women’s health, max-fax and general surgical wards onboard the ship.
    I am a Registered Nurse with 15 years of experience, I was trained as a RN and Registered Midwife from India. I moved to Australia in 2006. I have worked as a nurse in India, Australia and Africa.
    I am humbled by my skills and how I can use them internationally to help people.

  21. I am currently working as a midwife with a diverse group of colleagues from all over the world. I am lucky enough to learn different skills on a daily basis on how tasks are carried out abroad. The best part of my job is caring for families during the intrapartum and postnatal period and learning how different cultures welcome new life into the world.

  22. I always wanted to travel and work as a nurse. See the parts of the world that inspire and wow me. To be able to travel to places that I would normally not be able to afford and work as a nurse and explore the country at the same time.
    Life and responsibility got in the way and it never eventuated.
    So instead I am lucky to work with many international nurses from all walks of life.

  23. What does international mean to me? Reading through some of these amazing comments and experiences left by fellow nurses, I thought about what it really means and what each response had in common. It’s about belonging, understanding and learning from each other.
    International to me means opportunity. The opportunity to learn something new, to dispel a previous assumption, to broaden our knowledge and develop our critical thinking.The opportunity to make an impact in someone’s world, whether we are assisting in third world countries, volunteering in our own community or extending a hand of friendship to our colleagues that are missing home.

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