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Queensland needs nurses
Population rises and skills shortages has left Queensland short of health professionals. Andrew Mullaly explains the options available to nurses

There are numerous positions available throughout Australia for nurses with appropriate overseas qualifications and, in particular, there is a very high demand for nurses in Queensland.

Queensland is the second largest state in Australia and is also the fastest growing, with a high percentage of new residents coming from overseas as well as from the southern states of Australia. The relaxed lifestyle, great weather, amazing beaches and spectacular outback are just some of the reasons that so many people have chosen to move there. With the increase in population rising at such a rapid rate the need for health professionals has also risen and, as such, the opportunities available for overseas health professionals are wide-ranging and varied.

Nursing is one area where there are many options to consider. Throughout Queensland, in all geographical locations from metropolitan centres, to coastal towns through to the outback and rural locations, there are positions vacant right now. Within the range of roles that are currently available the majority of positions are at the level of NO1/NO2 (approximately two years post-graduate). Positions are available in all clinical specialties with the greatest needs being in:

Aged Care
Mental Health
Paeditatrics and neonates

So, whatever the area of interest or expertise, there is bound to be a role suitable for most.

In order to practice as a nurse in Australia you need to be registered with the relevant authority. The Queensland Nursing Council (QNC) is the regulatory authority for Queensland. If you wish to practice nursing in the state, you must hold a current licence issued by the council. In order to gain a licence you must meet the requirements of the Nursing Act: These are that:

You hold an appropriate nursing qualification
You are a person who is competent and fit to practice nursing
Your state of health is satisfactory
You have an adequate command of the English language

There are two levels of nurses in Queensland, registered nurses and enrolled nurses. A registered nurse has a pre-registration nursing qualification, usually a three-year degree level programme. An enrolled nurse has a pre-employment nursing qualification, usually a 12•18 month vocational programme, and is licensed to practice under supervision of a registered nurse.

To be registered as a midwife you must have completed a direct entry midwifery programme and you will only be licensed to practice as a midwife. There is no specialist registration for nurses in Queensland so you cannot be, for example, a registered mental health nurse. However, if you have undertaken post-registration study in the fields of midwifery or mental health nursing you may be eligible for an endorsement recognising additional qualifications. For overseas trained nurses there are a number of eligibility requirements that include English language competence and competence for practice. These requirements vary depending on the country where you have completed your training. To find out the specific requirements that will relate to you please contact The Australian Medical Association of Queensland (AMAQ) and all of the relevant details will be forwarded.

There are a variety of options for overseas trained nurses when it comes to obtaining authorisation from the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs (DIMA) to work in Australia.

There are essentially three categorical options for nurses:
1. Overseas nurses sponsored by an employer
2. Overseas nurses sponsored by a relative
3. Skilled Independent visa

The right option will depend on what your future plans are after starting work in Australia. In most instances nurses coming to Australia will choose the temporary resident option sponsored by an employer first as this is the cheapest and quickest visa to obtain. If you were planning to stay in Australia long term then you would apply for permanent residency under skilled migration once you are there and working.

The temporary resident visa, which is a Long Stay Business visa (subclass 457), is valid for four years. These are working visas so you must have secured a position before applying. Other options exist under working holiday visas as well as student visas. With so many options to be considered it is suggested that you talk to a registered migration agent to decide what would be the best option for you. Alternatively you can contact the Australian Medical Association of Queensland (AMAQ) office for more information. There has never been a better time for nurses to come and work within our healthcare system. Your skills are in demand and the career opportunities are excellent.

AMAQ Recruitment Services
division have many clientswho are seeking nurses immediately.
Read another article about nurses wanted:
Hope for British nurses

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19 December 2006

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