Auckland DHBS ICU


Hi! I am currently living in the US, and I am concidering working in Auckland, NZ for at least a year. I had a phone interview today, and it went very well. I am nervous about relocation, currency conversion, being away from family, etc. I am also very excited about experiencing a new country and culture. Can anyone out there give me advise? Does anyone know about or work for the ICU in Auckland? Is there anyone out there who has been a nurse in both the US and NZ who can compare the standards of care and working conditions?


53 Posts


I have a friend who will be starting as a new grad in ICU this year at Auckland. She has worked there for 2.5 months as a student and loved it. Staff very friendly and helpful!


48 Posts

Is your friend working for DHBS? I am a bit nervous about relocating across the globe to work at a hospital before seeing it and experiencing it in person. It's difficult to do that when flights are over $1,000! It seems that New Zealanders are very friendly. Do you have suggestions for where to live? Do you know how to find potential roommates?


53 Posts


Yes she will be working for Auckland District Health Board (ADHB).

ADHB is made up of Auckland City Hospital, Starship Childrens Hospital, Greenlane Clinical Centre. The DHB means all services in the Auckland Region are covered by one board of directors. New Zealand is made up of many DHB's. For example there are three DHB's within the Auckland region.

As for Auckland, im not sure how much you already know. Auckland City Hospital is the major hospital in the Auckland region for most of the specialities. (Burns and plastic surgery go to Middlemore Hospital). The hospital is new (i think it was rebuilt approx 5 years ago) and therefore a nice place to work. It has views overlooking AUckland City and the Hauraki Gulf made up of many islands. Very pretty!

I think the biggest negative about working at Auckland City Hospital is the parking but saying that there are many flats nearby and buses (sometimes frustrating) are caught by lots of people. I think if you live in Auckland it is essential that you have a car.

I would suggest living really close to the hospital in Grafton (literally across the road from the hospital-lots of flats around there but are more expensive) or in Parnell (just down the road, pretty much in central city, lots of apartments and flats). Or another nice area to live is in Ponsonby/ Grey Lynn.

I live on the North Shore of AUckland and travel time is 20mins drive in off peak traffic (which you get when working shift work). So to start a 7am shift i leave at 6.20am. Many people who work at AUckland and who want to live on the North Shore choose to live in Northcote as it is very quick to get on the motorway (about 10mins to the hospital)

Where you decide to live in AUckland will depend on the lifestyle that you want. I love the beaches so i love living on the shore. If you are more of a bush person you might choose to live West of the main City. Then saying that AUckland is a pretty small place so everywhere is within an hours drive of everywhere else. Its a great city to live in- lots of exploring to do. You will never get bored if you like exploring bush/ocean/walks.

There are lots of websites to find places to rent. Check out (its like NZ version of your ebay.also has a flatmates and houses for rent section)

Those are just a few. If you google there are many more sites for these purposes.

If you have any more questions let me know! Im sure there are many more Aucklanders out there who can help answer too!


48 Posts

Thank you so much! Every one from NZ has been so nice to me :) I have such a good feeling about moving there to work for a year. I am sure it will be a wonderful experience. I will research the information that you provided me with. If and when I do move, I am sure it will be easy to make friends in Auckland! I really appreciate that you took the time to write such a lovely and informative response!!


442 Posts

Specializes in Psych. Has 5 years experience.

Please be careful.... That unit is notorious throughout the hospital for bullying. It is medically managed and very much run by the doctors. The staff turnover is pretty high.

Please research NZ before you come. It is expensive and the pay is low. Auckland is especially expensive and you make no more than a nurse anywhere else in the country. Your salary $56,000/year. 33% to taxes. You will need healthcare insurance. Rent $800/month. It is very spread out and you will probably need a car. Petrol here is over $6 per gallon (1.73/litre)

My advice would be 2 work in Australia (that is where m most Kiwi nurses work). The pay is better, staff more proactive and the people in OZ more friendly and outgoing.

PM me if you like.


276 Posts

I have to concur with Chigap on this one. I am a New Zealand RN who came to Australia 3 years ago and I will never go back to work in NZ again. The pay here in Australia, especially NSW as it is the highest paying state, is about 1/3 more than I receive in NZ. The added bonus is things are generally cheaper here as well.

I love NZ, it will always be my home, but it is expensive in Auckland and public transport is abysmal so you will need a car to explore the place. Coming from the US you will notice the cost of living increase. If you just want a different experience and excitement of living in a new place and money isn't an issue then NZ is beautiful but think carefully and plan your trip well.

I wish you all the best in your travels.


48 Posts

The CVICU extended a job offer to me this week. I am at a loss right now for a response. I really want the experience of working abroad, and I am in love with the beauty of NZ. On the other hand the comments regarding high cost of living, lack of respect for nurses, high RN turnover rates, and low salary is not something I am enthusiastic about. I am accustomed to US wages, respect, etc. Although nursing conditions are subpar in the states to say the least. I get mandated every weekend to work 16 hour shifts in the ICU, I work 60 hours a week sometimes, and I rarely get adequate breaks for nourishment! I fear moving to NZ to find similar conditions and then not having my support network to fall back on.....Lots to think about.

I did write the recruiter and ask to speak to an RN who currently works on the ward. I also asked what the RN turnover rate is. And I would demand that they compensate me for health insurance!!! Otherwise I'd be making nothing over there. Does anyone know of any other hospitals in NZ that they would suggest? What about hospital in Hamilton? Is that a nice area?


442 Posts

Specializes in Psych. Has 5 years experience.

I was wondering what you had decided. I did not work in CVICU, but they are in dire need of staff. I am not sure why. You will get your breaks and you will not be mandated to work more than rostered. The work will be OK, but you may find the system challenging. You will also find that you will not have much input beyond established protocols. The work environment is better than in the US, you just will not find the respect or acknowlegement of your experience or skills.

Hey, if you want to experience NZ and living here, go for it. Just make sure you have a return ticket that can be easily changed. You can always quit: always remember that NZ needs you much more than you need NZ. The hospital has accommodation, but be warned: it is a disgusting, roach infested, shared bathroom and shower type deal. The toilets are six stalls shared by men and women except on the one woman only floor. However, it is about $100/week. I did it to save money, but had a car (it is not near the city center).

There is also a place next to the hospital, Huia, also a bit gross, full of students and toilets/showers are shared. It is about $140/week. You could flat for the same amount, but it might take some time to find suitable arrangements. Don't be fooled by anything the hospital says because once you get here, you will be on your own.

I would also recommend that you keep enough money at home so that you will be able to leave here at anytime and resume your life there. I made the mistake of jumping into life here with an overly optimistic attitude and depleted my savings very quickly. In Auckland especially, immigrant nurses come and go quickly. Many of them are coming from poorer countries with limited opportunities; their reasons for coming here are very different than yours, but you will be treated with the same regard.

I would not trade my experiences here for anything. I have spent 3 years of my life here. But, NZ is a beautiful country that is located in the middle of nowhere, with a tiny population. The culture here is very different from the midwest and you will find people friendly only to a point. You will have to depend on other migrants to show you the ropes.

I guess that what I am trying to say is be careful. NZ needs nurses for a reason and will chew you up and spit you out if you let them. Nobody will be going out of their way to make you feel welcome: the culture here is quite English and reserved in comparison to what you are most likely used to. If you come here without the means to leave, the added pressure of feeling trapped will make the adjustment much, much more difficult.


9 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care/Perioperative/Neurosurg. Has 5 years experience.

Hi adboehnen,

I too am here to advise you against working in NZ as a Nurse. I am a Kiwi and returned last year to work in NZ after working in Melbourne, Australia. I have also worked in Far North Queensland. I have found it very difficult financially here as the tax and cost of living are high, but more importantly, I have found the working environment most unpleasant and have left my job and am leaving the country again next week. Politically and culturally, nursing in NZ is tough. The public do not have respect or trust in Nurses, nor the health system in general. They have very high and unrealistic expectations, and are quick to complain. It seems to me that this is due to anti-health care propagand by the media and the NZ health system, while not as highly funded as our richer neighboure Australia, is a good one and people get a lot. I found it very difficult to work with the medical staff, who are quite unprofessional towards nursing staff. Something I found very difficult to adjust to when I came here was having to fight with medical staff to review a patient. I don't know why it is like this here but I know that it made me hate my job when I was quite happy before.

Good luck and all the best, I hope you can figure out the right thing to do for you!

Kia Kaha!


48 Posts

Thanks for all of the honest replies. I thought long and hard over moving to NZ, and I am opting to return to school for graduate studies instead. I'm frustrated with the working conditions of a nurse. I love the actual job and helping people, but I cannot know enough about a handful of people and simultaneously meet all of their needs. I wish I could bi-locate, tri-locate, etc. I also have a very deep seated need to know more about my patients' cares and plan them. It seems that as an RN all I do is execute and suggest adjustments. I also got scared about comments suggesting a lack of respect for nurses' input in NZ! I'd feel like a blue-collar worker with no professional skills. I worked long and hard to become a nurse, and I need to feel respected!

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