Thoughts from US nurses in New Zealand

  1. I am a UK trained RN, living and and working in the US for the majority of my 20 years of my career. My family and I are planning on moving to NZ in 2 years ((having recently obtained PR) and I am interested in hearing from nurses that have worked in the USA that are now working in NZ.
    I have worked in ICU but am currently working in ER and will be planning on working in ER in NZ.
    I am interested in finding out any major differences in the health care systems and in the way the nurses are treated as professionals.
    Thank you.
  2. Visit Hagabel profile page

    About Hagabel

    Joined: Nov '05; Posts: 144; Likes: 100
    Specialty: 1 PACU,11 ICU, 9 ER


  3. by   Linzlou87

    I would love to talk to you about the transitioning process of your RN License process for NZ. I am currently working on my associate RN and wish to relocate after completion or possibly one year after completion. Do you have any information or advice on this?
  4. by   ceridwyn
    Sorry to first poster, did not read it correctly, have not worked in the US as a nurse only visited.

    As for nursing with an ADN, I have read on the NZ nursing board site that a 3 year degree is required, Australia requires 6 semesters.

    Please also, Australia and NZ are seperate countries and seperate nursing boards, we just tend to know a bit about each other, being down here.!!

    I am not a Kiwi, so if I am not correct by any kiwi that comes here please correct anything.
  5. by   ANnot4me
    Please do your research about NZ. I have lived here for 7 years and I am heading to Australia soon. NZ is a low wage economy and you will make just more than the national average wage. Property is expensive as is food and everything else. Nursing here is a joke as far as a profession; it is a job and it is still very medically dominated. Forget the days of being part of a team and remember what England was like. There is a shortage of doctors down here and they rule the roost; they are not the least bit interested in your input. But please, don't listen to me. Visit here and read about housing prices (and quality) and food costs. Study up on tall poppy syndrome and nepotism. All anyone here wants from you is your money and they aren't real keen on Americans or Poms down here.
  6. by   ANnot4me

    A fairly realistic site about NZ. There are a few nurses around.
  7. by   Hagabel
    I have looked at expat exposed and it seems like a bunch of negative whiners who have nothing positive to say about NZ. I have been on the site for a long time and been getting a more balanced view of NZ from nurses there (from what I can tell) but mainly from UK nurses. I am trying to get the views, both negative and positive from US nurses in NZ.
    I appreciate all your replies,
  8. by   pedicurn
    I am Australian and worked in NZ for a couple of years and didn't find it totally terrible. Am now back in Australia and prefer it here because I can earn a bit more money.
    NZ has high ratios and no help from aides and LVN's. It also has some really slack infection control and less than desirable work culture.
    There seem to be so many bully-girl type nurses with inferiority complex who have been in jobs forever. I found so many of them incredibly rude and rough. Experience is way more valued than education.
    There are of course exceptions to this and there are some very nice places to work.
    I found the doctors to be fine and found them generally respectful of nurses
    However cost of living in both countries is high and can negate those high differentials in both countries. What sounds great soon gets wiped out with high taxation and high housing/food/petrol/utilities.
    In order to save anything in both countries I have to budget carefully. Don't have the quality of life I would like in Australia ....and definitely didn't have it in NZ
    Last edit by pedicurn on Jul 25, '10
  9. by   ANnot4me
    Hagabel, that is the point of ExpatExposed (as they clearly state). I included the link as a balance as it is privately funded (no sponsors) and uncensored. That is not true of the site you mention. I came to NZ many years ago and there was no such information available. I have been in NZ for many years and know of only a few US nurses; however, there are countless nurses here from the UK. Their reasons for immigration are very different.

    As I said before, do your research and consider many points of view. The newspapers are free online, there is a lot of statistical data available and remember that immigration is big business here as it is a great source of revenue. NZ wages are low, taxes are high and everything is more expensive here; however, if you will come here with a very large amount of cash, you will not be affected.
  10. by   sainty
    Yeah,we suggest that you will reas also.Most of my friends who worked there,transfereed to aussie because of the low salary income and expensive cost of living.
  11. by   uswoman
    I hope I'm not doing a double post here. I wrote something, hit a key and it all disappeared - so here goes again!
    I'm a nurse from the US and have been working in New Zealand as a nurse for about a year. I went to a 2 year diploma school about 30 years ago and honestly, I have more clinical and classroom hours in that two years than they have in three, here. It depends more on meeting the competencies the New Zealand Nursing Council has set up, than how many semesters or years you spent in school.

    I've only worked in two hospitals here - one was large, and now I work in a tiny one with 21 beds. The biggest shock when I came here was that nurses don't use stethescopes, other than the occasional manual blood pressure. Not having one was like having a limb missing when I first started out here! Now I know where to find the odd one on our ward and in A&E. I consider listening to lungs and abdomens pretty important when assessing patients. I did bring mine with me, and I've never told anyone this, but I also brought a cardiosonic stethescope with me.

    Next, 4 and 6 bed rooms with no toilets (in some cases) in the rooms. Single rooms with no bathroom, or just the odd room that is an ensuite. While there is a huge emphasis on hand washing and using the hand cleaners, it's like they don't see the BIG things. How the heck can you adequately keep infectious diseases in check when people are forced to share bathroom facilities???? Negative pressure rooms - don't make me laugh. Someone "thought" they had one on one ward but they weren't sure. (Not surprising - I've been exposed to TB for the first time in my life. Never had a positive TB test until I worked here.) Things move much slower than you can imagine. Waiting a week for an MRI is not unusual. CT scans can take a couple of days (or weeks, in the case of a neighbor - who had a pea sized bump on his jaw, months after having cancerous lesions removed from his face. Six weeks later, he had an urgent CT - when the tumor was then about the size of a lemon. And yes, he did die, after having two surgical procedures: one to remove the tumor and another to reconstruct the incisional area after it became infected.) People wait months to years for "elective" joint replacements. A cholecystectomy for gallstones is considered elective. They will "watch" appendicitis patients: keep them on IV fluids and if they settle, send them home. I've also seen a registrar put a chest tube in a patient - non-emergency - under a local with only a PCA pump for analgesia. The poor man also had a fractured rib (displaced fracture) right below where the tube was put in. It was one of the most brutal things I've ever seen. The student nurse with me had to leave the room!
    Coming from an environment where studies were done to see how they could get a heart attack victim from the ER doors to the cath lab faster, waiting days or a week for an angiogram after a heart attack seems pretty archiac. ("Let the heart settle" I'm told.)

    They still have narcotic keys here, double sign out system, and a medication room - no unit dose. Nothing seems to be set up for the convenience of nurses. You will do a LOT of running in the hospitals as there is no two way communication system - run in and see what the patient wants, run and get it and go back to the patient. I haven't seen that since I was a student nurse! There are no telephones or TVs in the patient rooms - there is usually a lounge and a portable phone on the ward.

    That's just a sample of what I've found here. Like I said, I only have worked in two hospitals here, so don't know if things are different elsewhere.

    Oh, and as far as, I don't see anything wrong with it. Too many people on the immigration forums see New Zealand as some sort of utopia and I think it's a good thing to have a radically opposing view, if only to make people stop and THINK before coming over here and finding New Zealand is not some inexpensive, green, politically correct place where peace, harmony and technology abound.
  12. by   ceridwyn
    Oh dear, Us in Australia, do not often use our supersonic stethescope either very often, unless we are in ED or ICU.
    or of course in very rural and remote areas. , or a nurse practitioner.

    Have at times used mine in the community when finding someone unwell.
    We do listen to chest sounds while training though....too much other work to do, like finding someone to check and sign out two by two drugs and using keys to lock the dd cupborad and swiping card into drug room.

    ....and yes I am open to contradictions by other australian nurses, but thats my subjective observation and lived experience.
    Last edit by ceridwyn on Aug 1, '10
  13. by   pedicurn
    Quote from ceridwyn
    Oh dear, Us in Australia, do not often use our supersonic stethescope either very often, unless we are in ED or ICU.
    or of course in very rural and remote areas. , or a nurse practitioner.

    Have at times used mine in the community when finding someone unwell.
    We do listen to chest sounds while training though....too much other work to do, like finding someone to check and sign out two by two drugs and using keys to lock the dd cupborad and swiping card into drug room.

    ....and yes I am open to contradictions by other australian nurses, but thats my subjective observation and lived experience.
    Most of us use a Littman Classic here ....very few nurses have the cardiology ones (except US and Canadian nurses)
    Wondering the US, how do they check out narcotics? And also, are swipe cards not used to access different areas?
  14. by   uswoman
    In the hospital where I worked, in Cincinnati, Ohio, and the last time there was about 1998, we had pyxis medstations. Basically, you accessed the machine by placing your index finger on an oval screen - you were identified by your fingerprint. You also had to use a code to log in and choose the patient you wanted a drug for. The system was programmed so you could only give the patient narcotics that were on his drug screen. The machine tracked whatever was taken out, so no need for another nurse to co-sign. The machine did it all. We also got stock meds that way, and everything was in unit dose - 30 ml of Mylanta or 2 Tylenol tabs packaged together. It saved a lot of money by being able to track what we used. Our machines were in an area not accressible by patients or visitors but were not locked as the medications in the machines were quite secure. I imagine bar coding is used now for some of the steps.

    Medications for the patients came up in the middle of the night. We had med carts that had two cassettes with 8 drawers in each cassette. Pharmacy techs changed the cassettes every 24 hours. All medications were unit dose - in other words, if a pt was to get Digoxin .125 once a day, you got one dose of Digoxin .125 in the drawer. If they could have up to 6 doses of Tylenol per day, you got 6 little packages of two tabs each in the drawer. Anything that didn't come in unit dose, was labeled in a little ziplock plastic bag with the pts information and the drug. We didn't have boxes and bottles of medications in a room. The medication cart went to the patient room and the nurse took the drugs from the drawer with the patient's name directly to the patient. Since the carts were meant to be mobile, and they were lockable so once locked (and if left unattended, they locked automatically) no one could get to the medications without knowing the code to the lock. (No keys - touch pads) The pharmacy was in charge of reloading the medications carts every night. The whole system was one - Orders were sent to the pharmacy and entered there and meds sent up or set up in the drawers and all that information was compiled so that MARs (Medication Administration Records) were printed by each unit at night and placed on the charts. A new med record - updated - every day. If I remember correctly, there was also a medication history that could be printed. I'm sure things have changed since I last worked there.

    We also used our badges to "log in" when we arrived at work, by swiping a magnetic stripe through a reader, and when we left. So, if you worked overtime, you didn't have to write it down - it was logged for you to the minute, and payroll had all that information. (And, if you showed up chronically late, that was also noted in the system.) You also had to log in at your designated unit. So, you could not log in on one unit, then catch the elevator to where ever you worked. You had to get to the proper place to log in. Most areas had key pad locks and if you needed to be in one of those areas, you needed to have the proper code to get in. We had magnetic key cards for the garage where we parked. Again, I bet things have changed since I worked there years ago.

    And, I was in Cincinnati - the place where, Mark Twain once said, he wanted to be when the end of the world happened, "because everything happens 10 years later in Cincinnati."

    I worked on a Cardiothoracic Stepdown unit and it was just routine to listen to every patient's lungs every shift and do a quick head to toe assessment. We even got pretty good at listening to heart sounds and picking up rubs. Every floor had a negative pressure room. There was air conditioning and heat and we had vents under the windows we could open - which were screened, too. Each patient bed had a television and a telephone. Nurses carried cell phones. The patient could press their call light and it lit up on a screen where the unit manager sat. She would answer via the bedside call system and see what the pt required. Then she would pick up the phone and call the nurse caring for that patient and tell her what they wanted, or if the nurse had a call from the lab, it could be transferred to her so she didn't have to constantly be running back to the nurses' station for every little thing. There were charting alcoves at every other room. Our patient rooms had a sink inside the door (for the nurses and doctors) as well as one in the bathroom. Rooms had no more than 2 patients and about half the rooms were private and each room had a full bath - toilet, sink, shower. I was in one of the hospitals in our system once, and in addition to my bed, I had a table and two chairs, a small couch that could be made into a bed, a TV in an armoire, and a small refrigerator below that. It was more like a very nice hotel room. I don't think I ever came across a manually operated hospital bed until I came to New Zealand. I just found it incredible that a major hospital - let alone an orthopedics ward - would have manually operated beds, but I found that to be true here.

    Of course there are hospitals in the US that are way beyond - some have electronic charting so don't worry if you left your pen at home, you don't need it.