Staff search goes global

April 04, 2024

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Staff search goes global

Pictured left: Registered Nurse Jais and husband Donny; Pictured right: Talent Acquisition Manager Connie Fitzpatrick with PALM workers arriving from Timor-Leste

Finding new avenues to recruit staff is a top priority for Southern Cross Care NSW & ACT (SCC), so much so it’s going global.

Our staff are the heart of our organisation but like many growing sectors, aged care faces a workforce shortage challenge particularly in securing Registered Nurses.

SCC’s Talent Acquisition Manager Connie Fitzpatrick said looking abroad has been one idea that the not-for-profit provider has been embracing, particularly over the past six months.

The Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme, designed to fill workforce shortages in Australia and develop the skills of overseas workers, has allowed SCC to hire staff from Timor-Leste to work in their Young NSW facility.  SCC has its sights set on Grafton and Corowa as some of the locations that future PALM cohorts will work.

“Recruiting from Timor-Leste has been a great success story,” Connie said.

“Our new employees have integrated really well with our employees and community and more importantly our residents, they have made a significant difference.

“They are helping our teams in caring for our residents while building their skills to eventually take back to their country and enhance their healthcare system.

“Their families benefit whilst they are working here, as they are able to send money home to them.”

Connie has also been working around the world to secure RNs via sponsorship. She is working on a training program whereby SCC sponsors overseas Registered Nurses as they train to become Australian qualified RNs.

“I actively pursue the UK, Ireland, Singapore and Hong Kong because of the similarities in RN qualifications with Australia,” she said. “But we are very open to candidates from around the world as cultural diversity of our workforce is really important.”

Jais and her husband Donny are two RNs who moved to Australia at the start of the year to work at SCC’s residential care home in Casino.

Jais was born in India and has worked as an RN in hospitals in Saudi Arabia and Dubai, as well as in aged care in New Zealand. “It’s been a privilege to immerse myself in different cultural systems and health environments throughout my career,” she said.

She said working with SCC has been a positive welcoming experience. “It’s good and supportive here. There is flexible work – a good work-life balance with our children.”

Jais has also noticed she has more responsibility and room for growth when working in aged care compared to hospitals.

“There are professional development opportunities here where you can upskill and do things like advanced courses.”

Connie hopes more Registered Nurses, in and outside of Australia, can see the value and benefits of working in aged care.

“Traditionally when qualifying, nurses tend to lean towards areas such as A&E, ICU & operating theatres, so aged care hasn’t been their first preference,” she said.

“But nursing in aged care should absolutely be at the forefront.

“It’s rewarding work to care for older people and there are great career pathways where you can progress your career a lot faster than in other nursing settings.”

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