12 September 2012

Outback Australia in need of nurses

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A recent report published by Health Workforce Australia claims that the country will be in need of over 100,000 nurses, particularly in more remote areas of Australia, within the next 15 years.

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The Flying Doctor service is one of the most important contributors in providing healthcare to isolated communities.

The report stated rural Australia was in need of doctors including psychiatrists, GPs, obstetricians and radiologists but that it is nursing where real shortages threaten. The shortages are reported to be at their greatest in remote Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

The appeal of working in rural Australia is difficult for many to appreciate but one medical industry recruiter says the salaries offered in Western Australia and the Northern Territory far outstrip anywhere else with registered nurses earning between AU$78,000 (£50,000) and AU$130,000 (£84,000) a year.

Many positions also offer cover living expenses, providing some nurses with the opportunity to work in shifts and save.

"It's a bit of a life sacrifice because there's nothing to do," said Heidi Brookbanks, a paediatric nurse now working with Aboriginal communities in the Outback.

"You could be five to six hours from the nearest community, but all your living costs and food are paid for so you can save 100% of what you earn."

Leonie Cotton, casework manager at the Australian Visa Bureau, says nurses are always needed in Australia.

"If you're a qualified nurse then you can almost write your own ticket anywhere you want to go," said Ms Cotton.

"But while the lure of the Australian cities is understandable, many isolated communities rely on the good work of travelling nurses and provide a great opportunity for the more adventurous."

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people lodge applications with the Australian Embassy.

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