Psychiatric Nursing in Australia???

Specialties Psychiatric


Hi Everyone, I have recently joined and am a little computer shy, so bare with me. I am a Canadian trained Psychiatric Nurse and have actively started looking for work in Australia. I have been in contact with recruiters for Western Au as well as the East Coast area. Of course at this stage I have 1001 ?'s. I'm thinking that I'm going to get the most truthful answers from nurses et al working in the front lines. To start with a few.....Is there different liscensing boards in each province(?) ? Is there much of a difference in wage,benefits etc. in different areas? what kind of benefit packages can I expect?...Is there any areas that you would recommend staying away from?...or going to. Any kind of feedback would be much appreciated. I'm at a time in my career

that I'm open to new opportunities and new places.

Mary Dover

204 Posts

Specializes in Psych, hospice, family practice.

My very cool friend, MHN, is a psych nurse on the east coast of Australia. He's quite busy over the last few days, about to graduate a higher degree program. (YAYYY!!! MHN)

But I am certain, once he gets time, he will be most happy to reply to your post. I've been a psych nurse for 12 years, and he and I have talked quite a bit about the differences and similarities in the specialty between the 2 countries.

I admire the courage it sounds like you have. Some of us would only dream of making such an exciting change in life. Good luck to ya.


aus nurse

198 Posts

Ahem, not to mention your cool friend aus nurse:cool: ....aus nudges Mary Dover!!!!!!!!:D

How exciting for you Kim, I too admire you. I am an RN working in a rural hospital on the east coast.

Australia has 7 states. Each state does have it's own nurses registration board. There is a little difference in wages per state but not all that much. We don't really have much in the way of benefits that i gather you all do from reading this board. Some hospitals have now just started with sign-up bonuses but that is about all. There is also not such a focus here on continuing education. Once you are registered with a board it is just a case of paying the annual requirement for anything else. Same goes for transferring interstate.

Hope this helps a bit, feel free to ask any more questions. And yes i am sure as Mary says, MHN will be replying too.


12 Posts

Thanx for info Mary Dover and aus nurse. Sounds like MHN would

be interesting to chat with. Have since read some of her posts.

And yes, it is an exciting time. I moved to a new province 1 1/2 yrs ago after having worked on the same unit for 11 years. It was my test to see if I could get past that false sense of security

a long term job starts to provide. Happy to say, that the move was great, the area beautiful and the people great to work with.

Now...,on to new experiences.

Questions: How does the pay scale work? How many years of experience before you reach the top scale? Are medical and dental supplemented by the workplace? Any facilities that can be recommended?

990 more ?'s to go(lol). Meal break is done, time to get back to work.

aus nurse

198 Posts

No worries Kim, it is a pleasure to help...or try anyway!! ;)

As far as the payscale goes (I am assuming you are an RN)

we have incremental rises per year until the 8th year of service and then it remains at that rate. 8th year and thereafter in my state of New South Wales is currently $23.59 per hour. This is the rate I am on, and sounds like what you would be too. An enrolled nurse (LPN) makes $16.12 per hour after 4 years of service and then stays at that rate.

No there is no medical or dental benefits provided by the employer anywhere I have worked. But remember we have a public hospital health system so public hospital care is free. Private medical insurance is available but is optional. Dentists are all private....which in my opinion sucks!!!!!:( Not sure how it works with people from overseas though???????????

As far as reccommended hospitals I will leave that to MHN if he ever gets back!!!!!!:p I have done some psych nursing up north and loved it but do not have enough variety of psych experience to venture any educated opinion.

It is a beautiful and friendly country here Kim, I am sure you would enjoy coming here.

Keep asking Kim, I will try not to lead you astray!!! hehe


469 Posts

Also even though our pay rates are different to yours perhaps - ie you may earn more per hours than we you may find that our cost of living is not as expensive - It a very vast country but really fairly easy to get around.

Good Luck lots to see and do over here - come on over


12 Posts

Thanx Tookie,

Yes, that is something that I thought about and have started looking into. Pretty much 50% of our wages end up going to taxes. Approximately 1/3 of our earnings to federal income tax, and then 7% goods and service tax, and.....then 7-9% provincial

sales tax depending what province you live in. We're taxed to death. The saying goes... there are only two things you can be sure of and that is death and taxes!!! What is your tax like there? The info has been great everyone, any feedback is welcome.

Happy Nurses Week to All!!!:nurse: :)


118 Posts

kim ,glad to field your enquiry I'll send you a personal message with contacts and my addy in it.regards Paul.MHN

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