This is a must read if you are a Nurse or Midwife (Baby Catcher!) and planning to work on the road. When families hit the road to travel and see this glorious country, many of them plan to work while they are on the road. Meet Millie (our Thermy loving caravanning Mum) – a Midwife who is working hard or hardly working? This is her story of her life as an agency midwife with some ripper tips…
Our indefinite trip round Australia is funded by us! We have tenants in our home that covers the mortgage so we work to live, to buy food, rego, insurances, accommodation fees etc. Life on the road is so much cheaper than at home but we choose to keep our savings in a ‘just in case’ account!
We have a loose aim to work for a few months then have a month off with Pez & I taking turns who works and who stays with the kids and leads the schooling! I have been the bread winner thus far on out trip but have worked previously as an agency midwife in 2008 when Pez & I did a lap around oz prekids!
So lets face it a hospital is a hospital, I have worked in quite a few public/private hospitals in 3 states of Australia so far. As a midwife it always comes down to three important things;
- Never trust a multi
- Late/earlys are terrible
- The ward clerks actually run the show so become their best friend on day one.
In addition to my above observations below are some extra tips about choosing your agency, knowing your limits & doing your research!
- Get ready!
My background is primarily midwifery – birthing suite to be even more specific! When we left I knew I would be working in rural/remote settings which means working both as a registered nurse & a registered midwife. My General skills were rusty so getting ready for me meant going back to my local ED to get some confidence back doing the basics like wound dressings, ECGs & the getting up close & personal with the good old chest pain pathway. There are some fantastic organisations that run courses to assist nurses to transition to rural/remote setting – check out CRANA, RAHC & ECT4health just to name a few. Having your immunisation certificate with current immunisation experience is also beneficial as is a current ALS.
- Choosing an agency!
There are be many benefits to agency nursing/midwifery e.g. accommodation subsidies, travel subsidies etc. I recommend signing up to a few agencies initially, get a feel for what they can offer you; free uniforms? Do you even like the uniform? Education allowance? Do they return your calls/emails? It will quickly become clear which agency you want to deal with, you would be surprised inefficient some companies are!
*back to uniforms think seriously about this – is it actually possible for you to keep a white linen shirt clean & ironed? That’s a no from me.
There is a choice of working for the agency or the health service –these options come with their own benefits and your agency will explain all of this thoroughly and help you decide what is best for you!
I am with CQ NURSE and feel very looked after! I have Cat & Leah, my ‘contracts management consultants’ who know our situation and exactly what I want from a contract & Sharon who regularly checks in on me during placements! So far the team at CQ have been fantastic!
Good Nurses accommodation is very common – if you are travelling alone. Not so many facilities are able to provide accommodation for both you & your family AND your dog…. Never fear, most facilities will have nurses accommodation – always accept this! Set the family up at a caravan park etc and use the nurse’s accommodation to sleep in for night shifts, late/earlys or just when you have had a gut full of them!
- What are you comfortable with?
Do your research on the facility you are considering working at! I cannot stress this enough! Are you comfortable working somewhere with no Medical Officer on site? Are you comfortable being the only health care professional onsite? Would you be on call & if you are required to do call outs who will be with you? Most importantly is there a Kmart in town? By knowing what type of a facility you would be comfortable working in helps your agency find a contract that’s a good fit for you!
- CPD points / Mandatory education…
These cheeky buggers still apply obviously and you need to be able to account for these should you be audited when you renew your Nurse/Midwife registration. There are apps you can record your ‘points’ in or if you are a bit old fashioned like me & use the ‘notes’ section in the back of your diary to record each CPD point. Mandatory education can be easily arranged by your agency who will either have their own modules to work through or be able to give you logins to access short courses etc.
- NURSES UNION… make sure you let your union know where you be! Find out if you are still covered working when interstate etc.
- Ask around…
There are some great Facebook groups where you can ask about people’s experiences, what the nurse accommodation is like etc. but again questions like this come back to your agency! A good agency will know the staff/patient ratios and have accurate feedback about facilities from nurses who have worked there!
Working around Australia as a Midwife/RN is absolutely amazing! There is nothing quite like the community feel you get from a small country hospital, the characters you meet and the genuine appreciation from patients and families. The staff at these places have taken myself & my family in & we have made forever friends!
I have learnt so much about general nursing e.g. like how much talc is too much when showering someone, MIMS has become my best friend and I have actually wanted to hug a helicopter that arrived for a retrieval! & I have loved every minute of it!
So to all you baby catchers & nurses out there get amongst it – this is living!
THANK YOU so much Millie! Another ripper article filled with useful information for travelling nurses… YOU ROCK!!
Have you checked out our SHOP?? So many cool items for the whole family…