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Tuesday 25 June 2019

Irish nurses flock to Australia as applications flood into Sydney hospital

Noreen Murray moved to Australia for
Noreen Murray moved to Australia for "better pay and quality of life"
Amy Molloy

Amy Molloy

An Irish recruitment company has received an overwhelming response to an advertisement for roles in a Sydney hospital.

The company was asked by the expanding hospital to seek out Irish nurses to fill their list of vacancies – with many nurses being lured by the better pay and working conditions Australia has to offer.

Last week, a team of Australian nurse managers arrived in Ireland to start a two-week recruitment trip.

They are currently in Dublin meeting their potential new hires for interviews, and will also visit London, Edinburgh and Manchester.

“We have many nurses from the UK and Ireland working with us already,” said Vicki Manning, Director of Nursing and Midwifery Services at St. George Hospital, Sydney.

“They are an integral part of our hospital, so with the expansion we hope to offer some of our new roles to nurses who want to further their career with us,” she said.

Speaking about the motivation behind Irish nurses wanting to move to Australia, ICE Jobs Director, Margaret Cox, believes they aren’t offered much incentive to stay in Ireland.

“Our experience is that Irish nurses are realising they can have a better quality of life, with more suitable pay and work conditions along with a manageable work load,” she told

“They can experience a new culture while also improving their careers in an environment that respects the nurse’s role. Irish nurses are highly sought after in Australia, and we consistently receive glowing feedback from those who have made the move in previous years,” she said.

One Irish nurse who moved to Australia thirty years ago says she hasn’t looked back.

Noreen Murray came home for a brief period to work in the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin, but says her three years previous experience working in Australia was not recognised when it came to securing a contract and improved pay.

After only being offered a temporary contract, she realised she would struggle to get a bank loan or a lease for a house, and returned to Australia.

“It broke my parents’ heart when I came here,” said Cork native Noreen.

“My salary doubled when I came to Australia and I found the conditions much better.

“In Ireland you would work seven twelve-hour night shifts in a row and get a week off. You were like a zombie at the end of that working week and it would take you two to three days to recover. In Australia, we work four ten-hour nights as a rule, which is much more conducive to health and wellbeing,” she said.

When asked if she would ever consider coming back home again, Ms Murray says there would need to be an extreme overhaul of the current system.

“There needs to be a complete overhaul of nursing and midwifery conditions in Ireland. The pay needs to be increased dramatically to bring it in line with the international professional levels.

“The rostering system and staffing ratios also need radical address.

“Nursing and midwifery is a fantastic profession but they are disenfranchised for choosing it as a profession in terms of their livelihood and wellbeing. This is not right,” she added.

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