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New grad USA RN to work in Australia: What are the differences?

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by katikati katikati (Member) Member

653 Profile Views; 22 Posts

Hello everyone,

I am a new grad nurse from the States, and am now permanently living in Melbourne, Australia. I want to prepare for the " culture shock" in the hospital or clinical setting before I get there, I was hoping I could get some feedback.

I am aware that blood glucose has a different scale, obviously temperate is C instead of F- have you noticed that heparin levels are different scales? Do nurses still hone in on labs as much as they do in the States? I heard that CNAs arent a thing in hospitals, but rather that nurses do everything? I read that hospitals dont have Respiratory Therapists, so does that mean in a code blue ( cardiac arrest), we do the manual ventilating? Do hospitals have the big red emergency button in each room for rapid response teams?

Please let me know of any differeces, even if very minute, I know IV's are called cannulation- and thats about all I know.

Thank you so much community, I appreciate it!


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83 Posts; 946 Profile Views


Yes you would manually ventilate the patient until the medical team turn up to intubate (if required), we don't have respiratory therapists

Some area's, such as a lot of ICU's use nursing assistants, but on most wards you need to help your patients if they need help with showering, toileting etc.

Cannulation is the process of inserting an IV, but we do call them IV's

Always orient yourself to the hospital, as most use either blue or yellow buttons for needing the medical emergency team (rather than a red button)

Be aware that some medications have different generic names in Australia

acetaminophin = paracetamol

epinephrine = adrenaline

norepinephrine - noradrenaline

be very aware of your scope of practice - in Australia nurses cannot perform skills such as IV cannulation unless they have done additional training (most often the hospital will have their own training program for this)

Also, if you don't already have a job, be aware that in Australia at the moment the graduate market is very tight. Most graduate nurse's these day start with a Grad Program - which is a 12 month contract. Placement in these is typically prioritised with 1. State trained nurses (so those trained in Victoria) 2. Australian trained nurses (those trained in states other than Victoria) 3. Internationally trained graduate nurses. At the moment is it very hard to find a job, other than a grad rogram, if you do not have experience.

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15 Posts; 644 Profile Views

Hey Katikati!

I have spent the last couple of hours reading through various threads about RN's in America moving to Australia to begin/continue their practice and you have been a very strong/encouraging voice in every one of them.

I am also a recent ADN graduate, who is thinking about moving to AU, and I have so many questions!!! I called Nursing Careers Australia today, and they said that I shouldn't even think about applying to AHPRA until I have a Bachelor's degree, and over 800 clinical hours. I know your move is pretty recent, so while that may be accurate to them, it can't be entirely true.

I can't seem to be able to PM you on here, but if you could please provide an email address for correspondence, I would be extremely grateful. If you don't feel comfortable doing that, we can talk on here as well. Whatever is easiest/most accessible for you. I just need to be able to talk to someone who has been through the process.



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1 Follower; 653 Posts; 11,785 Profile Views

@ tokedo did you receive any other information...curious to find out more as well...

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