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Where are you from? Nelson, New Zealand.
Can you give us a snapshot of your nursing career prior to traveling overseas? I gained my Bachelor of Nursing from NMIT in New Zealand in 2013, after interviewing within New Zealand and Australia I chose to complete my New Graduate Program at the Gold Coast University Hospital in Acute Paediatrics but soon moved into Emergency Nursing. I spent two years working in ED on the Gold Coast before leaving for Ireland, where I worked in adult Emergency at The Mater Private Hospital in Dublin.
When and why did you decide it was time to take your nursing career abroad? My husband, James, is from Dublin, with the majority of his family members living there and in New York, we wanted to locate ourselves geographically to spend time with them and see Europe and America in the process. In addition to James’s connection to the country, Ireland offered a lower cost of living compared to the UK and a more straight forward registration process.
When did you first travel to Ireland? In June 2016 we set off on our adventure, we allocated 3 months to travel Europe before we settled in Dublin, arriving at the end of summer.
How did you find living in Ireland? Marvellous, I learnt so much about my family history. I was invited to see my ancestors portrait hanging in Trinity College, visit the shire of Yelverton in Plymouth and truly understand the very roots of my European heritage. Something about England felt so very familiar to me, so we visited many times, and why not when flights are 9 euro! Ireland was an amazing base for the UK as well as the rest of Europe, working 12 hour shifts allowed me to have 6 days off, see two or three countries and then fly home before my next work day, it really is an amazing lifestyle.
What part of your new life did you find the most surprising? I think I was surprised by the laid back nature of the Irish, sometimes frustrating. For example: when having to register at the Immigration Bureau, I waited for an entire day to get my visa re-approved and seeing them all just having a chat while hundreds of frustrated immigrants stand around waiting was irritating. But once they finally got to your number, it was nice to have a long-winded chat about where you’re from and their relative (almost always called Paddy or James) who once visited New Zealand and/or Australia.
What were some of the challenges you faced and how did you manage them? We happened to move to Ireland during the peak of the housing crisis, the day university started back and the year a record number of Europeans migrated to Dublin from Eastern Europe so it was tough finding a place to live. As part of my relocation agreement, the hospital allowed as much time as was required during work hours to arrange inspections, organise government issued numbers, cards and set up back accounts etc. which really helped ease the process.
What were the positives of living in Ireland? The Irish are incredibly sociable, it’s ridiculously easy to make friends as long as you like going to the pub, hurling, football and are able to stomach jokes about the English in the same sense that Kiwis suffer mockery from Australians. When the sun comes out, the city is an instant street party, bags of cans are being had on the canals, everyone is so friendly, even the homeless want to talk your ear off. That TV show Father Ted suddenly made so much more sense! It was great fun.
How did you find nursing in another country? Some drug names would trip me up, but for the most part it was like riding a bike. The patients loved me because they found my accent adorable, as mentioned before, the Irish love to chat so my patients could talk to me for hours about “why ever did I move here” and how beautiful New Zealand is (information usually based on their cousin Paddy’s or James’s recent trip to the region).
What career opportunities or professional development did you find there? Irish nurses are highly autonomous. Much like New Zealand there are no plaster techs, so I attended complete casting workshops and spent time in the fracture clinics at The Mater Public Hospital. Emergency Trauma courses were held by Dublin tertiary hospitals in conjunction with Trinity College, and post graduate education was always encouraged. There were plenty of opportunities to progress into Senior Nursing roles within The Mater Private.
What was your social life like? Dublin is a party town constantly drawing people from all over the continent in for their world class night life scene. Poised as the stag and hen capital of Europe, there is always something to see or do. The nurses at The Mater Private ED would organise a night out at least once a month, but anyone’s birthday, graduation, holy communion or baptism, is an excuse to celebrate!
What was your most memorable moment? My husband and I got married in Dublin in 2017, we had a horse drawn carriage take us through the cobble stone streets of Temple Bar to our ceremony, where we and our closest friends celebrated a very nontraditional wedding. We held our reception on the rooftop of my husband’s hotel and being mid-summer the sun never went down the whole night. A beautiful friend of ours from New Zealand took our photographs throughout the city, which framed the most amazing memories of a time and place we will always have in our hearts.
Why did you decide to leave? My father went into palliative care and I could not stand to be 26 hours away. It was heartbreaking leaving Ireland, particularly due to the circumstances surrounding our leaving. We still miss it every day, and all the amazing friends and family we have there.
What do you miss the most about your life in Ireland? The people, my friends, my work colleagues, even my overpriced apartment. I miss the traveller kids trying to sell me illegal fireworks in the streets, the ‘trad-sesh’, the lock-in’s, the satire websites that poke fun at the health care crisis, the €1 blueberries and 75p avocados all year round. I miss the sense of community that come with living in the city as diverse as Dublin, where new faces land every day to look for a better life or just come to party.
What advice would you give to someone thinking of travelling to the Ireland? The registration process can be slow, allow up to a year to get everything perfect, you can call NMBI and get updates over the phone which can be faster than waiting for this information in the post. This is no slower than getting registered in Australia. For me there was no exam but I know for others there might be. They need nurses and treat them well, but the private health sector can be lot kinder with more flexibility and better conditions.
Looking for accommodation can be challenging, try to be first in best dressed at the inspections, and if you can find a place that is close to a Tesco (grocery chain), you will spare yourself lugging groceries across town.
Europe in summer has an amazing vibe, if you plan to land in the warmer months it will be good for morale (and spare you a vitamin D deficiency).
I found the team at CCM very helpful and approachable throughout the two-year contract, we were always keeping in contact and it was great to have advice from someone who had worked in the same place you were going.
Lisa Yelverton, Ireland 2016-2018
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