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Elizabeth - Registered Nurse

My Name is Elizabeth, I am a Registered Nurse. I came to NZ in January 2022 from the United States. The process to come to NZ took me 6-8 months from the time I decided to seriously look for a job and start interviewing.

The easiest part of the process was all the help from Hayley and Accent recruiting - they made the process SO MUCH EASIER!!

The most challenging part of the process was adjusting to the differences in how health care is delivered in NZ as compared to the US, as well as learning new care guidelines and medications.

ACCENT Health Recruitment helped my process to come to NZ because I worked with Hayley, and she was phenomenal. She was really interested in helping me find a good fit for my experience, and she gave me good advice on the things I should do to start becoming more aware of the cultural differences. She was always easy to contact if I had any questions and has kept in touch to make sure I have been adjusting.

My first impressions of NZ were that it is safe. I could not believe that school campuses are open - kids leave to eat lunch; if you need to stop by the school, you can easily do so. Kids ride buses independently to get around town. Beautiful - green and lush, incredible mountains, easy to get to good hiking tracks from almost everywhere.

I specifically like that there is SO MUCH LESS stress at work in NZ; don’t get me wrong - the unit is busy and does run short on staffing frequently, but the attitude about it is so much better here. You are expected to take your time off work, and if you need to call in, there is no guilt or badgering about it.

I think the best parts of NZ is much less focus on accumulating "stuff" - generally, people don't judge you by where you live, or what kind of car you have. Not the same peer pressure to have the right clothes, or to have the new iPhone or whatever for the kids.

I like the area that I live in, it is a beautiful area - there is a fantastic hiking area less than a mile (or 1.6km) from our house - we can literally walk there with the dog, take a picnic lunch, and spend the whole day seeing beautiful new trails.

What I miss the most is the easy availability and variety of fast food that is in the US. I also had to sort of relearn how to cook, as most of what I used to cook with in the US was already sort of processed. Most foods here come "raw" and require a little more prep time, and I had to learn how to make US favorites with NZ items - which is not always as easy as it sounds!

We really want to go everywhere! I am anxious to make it to the Waitomo Caves, and to the falls at Whangarei. A co-worker recently took a trip to the West Coast of the South Island and had fabulous pictures and stories.
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My advice if you are planning to come to NZ is to go for it! Be flexible, keep an open mind and don't be surprised at some of the unexpected differences. It was really easy to think of the big things that would be different and mentally prepare, but some of the small things turned out to be such a shock. 

The work/life balance made a difference to my life because, again, my stress level regarding work is so much better now than it was in the US. Sometimes, I think there must be something that I am missing or doing wrong, because I feel so much better than I have in years.

It was a bit of a rough transition for my daughter, who is in high school. It seems to have gotten a lot better now that we have been here 8 months, and she was able to get a job. She is making friends and has adjusted to a lot of the differences in how schoolwork is here and is much happier.

The major differences between your current role in NZ and your previous role in the United States? This may be a little different because I work in Maternity, but the unit is primarily Midwife led (midwives are NOT nurses in NZ - that was a huge adjustment for me), and most care is not physician led. I still get anxious sometimes about discharging a mom home because I don't have a written physician order that tells me to.

The medication charts were also a huge adjustment - they are all hand-written, and I have to very consciously remember to check every page to make sure I did not miss something that was written in later (or after a skipped page)

The actual care I provide is very similar - checking the fundus and lochia, assisting with breast feeding, providing education regarding newborn care for new parents

It still surprises me when I think of some health screening or guideline from the US, and find out that NZ uses their own guidelines, adjusted for the population here. I am so used to thinking in terms of the USPSTF (US Preventative Service Task Force) and ACOG (American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology) that I occasionally still get confused why some things are just handled differently here. It has made me acutely aware that there are many ways of thinking about issues, and that just because I learned it one way in the US, that does not mean it is always the best (or only) way.

Thank you
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How do I get registered in New Zealand? How much will I get paid in New Zealand? Where is the best place to work in New Zealand? Do my children need visas for New Zealand? For answers to these questions and more, check out our FAQs page.


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