Gone are the days where we live in one place and work in one job until the day we die… in case you missed the memo, routine is out and travel is in! But because most of us can’t afford to travel full time, we have a day job that affords us the luxury of traveling to new and exciting places in our allocated annual leave periods each year. But what if you don’t want to only travel when you have annual leave? What if you want to combine working and traveling, to get the best of both worlds, sight-seeing and making money simultaneously? Well then you need to consider working for a health care agency.
I have been working as a Midwife with Health Care Australia, as part of their rural and remote team since June 2017 and I love it! Agency work is such an adaptable and enjoyable work environment that can be whatever you want it to be! Below are the five reasons I think that you should become an agency Midwife / Nurse today!
Reason one is obviously the most important – TRAVEL! Being involved with an agency such as Healthcare Australia will give you the opportunity to travel all over the world to gain employment in a variety of settings. If you are employed in the urban team, you will be given the opportunity to take on shifts as they suit you, whilst living in a suburban setting. These opportunities often mean that you can work at a different hospital every day, giving you a dynamic work experience. Because the shifts are offered and you are not bound to a roster, it means that you can travel on a moment’s notice and take the weekend off if it pleases you, or choose to take on an extra shift if you’ve done a bit too much travel and need to make money fast. If you are working in the rural and remote team, as I am, you will be offered short term contracts (6 weeks to 6 months) in a variety of rural settings that will often include accommodation that is organised for you and sometimes even a travel allowance. Being on these short term contracts means that you fully immerse yourself in that town and often travel to places that you wouldn’t consider visiting otherwise. Because the rural and remote contracts provide accommodation also, your expenses are low and you can save more money for your next big trip!
A fellow agency Midwife and I visiting the Twelve Apostles
The purple tops band together! Often, there is more than one agency staff member in any place that you work, and the friendships you form with these like-minded individuals is instant. You share stories about the places you’ve worked and the places you’ve traveled and sometimes even plan some traveling together! The other staff that you work with will be interested to hear about your experience and your adventures and will want to pick your brain about how practice is different in other places. Being an agency staff member is always being the new kid on the block, which can be scary but also puts you in a position where you have to form instant connections with people so that they take you under their wing and help you to learn the ropes – and this is how friendships are formed! Working in small rural towns means that the community often all know each other, and you really get a sense of the community and find your place within it – this means that sometimes you make friends with people you’ve cared for as a health professional too – I have made some beautiful friendships with the mums that I have worked with.
Some of the lovely agency Midwives I worked with at Portland District Health
Being an agency Midwife / Nurse means that you could be working in a different hospital every day (if you are part of the urban team). This short term turn around time of learning a hospital’s policies and procedures to then move again, makes for a very adaptable and competent health professional. Where you may have become comfortable in your last job out of habit and familiarity, this will be replaced by astute awareness and diligence to knowing your work environment and being comfortable with the dynamics of where you are. Forming relationships with other health professionals quickly is also an amazing skill of an adaptable health professional who can be the ultimate chameleon to fit in to any work environment that they are met with. In addition to agency work making you an adaptable health professional, agency work itself is adaptable to your life and your individual circumstances. Some people choose to do a short six week contract once a year, to boost their income, while others live like this, permanently traveling. If you need a bit of extra cash or want a change, agency work is for you, whether you want to work in the outback for six weeks for a culture shift or whether you want to work for six months to get a deposit for a house – whatever you want, they’ve got it!
The HCA Midwives repping it at the Portland District Health fete
Working as an agency health professional means that you will get experience working in a variety of settings – whether they be urban, rural or remote. Every hospital’s capability framework will be different and their procedures for dealing with emergencies will vary significantly between hospitals, states and countries. Where we often see staying in one job for an extended period of time as an attractive quality on a CV, experience in a variety of settings, including rural settings, is also an equally attractive quality as it shows adaptability and a richness of experience. While I worked in one job for almost five years prior to becoming an agency Midwife, it was a large tertiary level hospital and so I never had to make decisions that smaller hospitals are faced with. Working for the rural and remote team has meant that I have had to develop new skills for emergency management in a rural setting, improve my neonatal resuscitation skills because there’s not always a Paediatrician at smaller hospitals, and have been faced with the tricky decision of whether or not it’s safe to transfer a labouring women to a larger hospital when the situation deteriorates. I would never have had this experience if I had stayed working in a tertiary level hospital!
Jess surprising me on my birthday with balloons and a banner
It’s the elephant in the room, but it’s pretty plain and simple, really. Agency work in general pays better – but it does vary from state to state and in different contracts. Coming from New Zealand to Australia, the pay was going to vary anyway (the local pizza shop was advertising a pizza delivery job that was a higher hourly rate than I was on in New Zealand as a senior Midwife), but I can safely say that with the perks (free accommodation in a house that I don’t share with anyone else, which is rare for an agency contract by the way, shared accommodation or single accommodation that you pay for is usually the norm), I am earning over double what I earned in New Zealand.
Agency Midwifery / Nursing really can be for everyone, and if you haven’t given it a go, you don’t know what you’re missing out on!
If you’re interested in learning more, feel free to contact me (using the contact me section of the website or commenting below) or contact Healthcare Australia directly via their website
Don’t forget to name drop me when you speak to Healthcare Australia, if you do, both you and I will get a referral fee (usually about $200)!
Good luck and I hope to see you somewhere in the world one day, rocking your purple HCA polo!