Thoughts from US nurses in New Zealand

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    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.

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  2. 22 Comments...

  3. 0

    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. 0
    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. 0
    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.
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    A fairly realistic site about NZ. There are a few nurses around.
  7. 0
    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. 0
    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
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    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. 0
    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. 2
    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.
    introspectiveRN and chorkle like this.

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