CHELSEA WOLNEY 23, from Canada

Why did you come to Australia? I decided I should give it a shot. And I’m not gonna lie – there was pressure from home telling me I was a slacker.

How did you land your new job? Once I realised I wanted to work in Melbourne I decided to see what an agency could do for me. I got my registration for Victoria and then searched a few agencies. It’s pretty good. I was hired the day I came in.

What’s your new job like? It’s good. Similar to home in some ways, but very different in many others. I’ve been placed mostly on an abdominal post-surgical ward, similar to what I did back home. It’s definitely more demanding due to people shortages, but also a bit more laid-back than Canada. I get to choose when I want to work, which is a definite perk when travelling. And it’s shift work so I get to enjoy some of the sunny days.

Where to next? I still can’t get the idea of living by the beach, surfing before work, getting tanned and living the ‘Australian dream’ out of my head. I guess I plan to head back up the east coast and try to get work in Byron Bay (in my opinion the most beautiful place in Australia).

Is sponsorship a possibility? I’ve been told it’s a definite possibility. They need nurses. I haven’t looked into it, but I don’t imagine it would be too tough. I just don’t know if I’m interested yet.

What’s the pay like? Well, I can only compare it to home, and in that case I’ve been told it’s ‘way more’ than Canada. I do pretty good if I work weekends!

Any good stories? Ha ha, heaps of good stories in nursing, they’re just not always for everyone’s ears! But I still find it funny that about 20 of my patients and a few nurses thought I was Irish.

What’s the best thing about your job? Working so intimately with people on such a real level is what brings me back to it every day. But the pay, the flexibility, the opportunity to travel, and the fun are all good too.

And what’s not so great? There are definite shortages here, and different (sometimes not the most efficient) ways of doing things which can be frustrating. But all in all, it’s still great.

What’s your best advice for travellers considering your job in Australia? Agency work is great if you want to land a job quick and easy and for a short period of time, or while you’re waiting to hear back about permanent positions. Oh, and expect to be shocked by what they wear for work here.