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A world of opportunity

In the competitive recruitment market, lifestyle factors are increasingly becoming a point of difference for healthcare services trying to entice workers to regional roles.

Health services across the country are looking internationally to boost their workforce numbers and NHW said it was no different and was working with local partners like the Rural City of Wangaratta on marketing the lifestyle of the region as part of its recruitment strategy.

“We know that people really appreciate the wonderful lifestyle offerings here, including our food and wine regions, ski fields, watersports and outdoor recreation,” said Libby Fifis, Chief Executive Officer of NHW.

“The market for recruitment in healthcare is probably the most competitive it’s ever been, so we’re working hard to put forward our points of difference and ensuring aligning our workforce strategies with people’s aspirations for work/life balance, professional satisfaction and career development.”

Two staff who can attest to enjoying the regional lifestyle are Registered Nurses, Carl Paculba and Amie Pagador who are both on 4-year working visas sponsored by NHW.

Carl and Amie have been partners for 11 years, having met at university in the Philippines. Carl relocated to NHW from the Philippines two years ago and was joined recently by Amie, who is now in her third week as part of the NHW nursing pool.

Carol spend eight years nursing in Cebu Amie spent five years nursing in medical surgery wards before moving to Dubai for six years and then completing her accreditation training in New Zealand and Australia.

“I feel like I belong already,” Amie said of her first weeks in a new country and new job.

“In the Philippines there is a real hierarchy, but here everyone works as a close team and you feel like you are welcome. My experience so far is that it’s the care that matters more than the position you hold, and everyone is working towards the same thing,” Amie said.

“The people hear are very respectful and approachable,” Carl said.

Of making their home together in the North East, Carl and Amie said the established Filipino community had helped them settle in and make new friends.

“It gave us a foundation to make friends and feel comfortable, and we’ve enjoyed getting to know more people which has been easy because the people are so supportive,” Carl said.

On balancing the stresses of working in healthcare, Carl and Amie said they enjoy exploring the local region on their days off.

“We tour around, go to the wineries. Wangaratta is surrounded by wonderful places, and there is always something to do,” Carl said.

“I appreciate nature and the sense that I am breathing clean air,” Amie said.

“Nature gives calmness so I like walking around the neighbourhood. It’s just different to me from the places I have worked before and I love it.”

“We’re been telling our friends who work in nursing that they should come here, but to be prepared for the cold as it will take some getting used to.”

When asked what prompted them to pursue careers in nursing, both Carl and Amie said it was the personal care that gives them great satisfaction.

“There is a satisfaction in what we are doing that will uplift you. How you provide the care, when patients need your support and you can hold their hand and help them feel a bit more comfortable,” Amie said.

Carl comes from a family of seafarers but said it was his mother that encouraged him to be a nurse.

“My mother wanted to be a nurse, so she passed that on to me. When I became a nurse, it was like a spark and I just love it.”

After six years working in different countries and COVID separating the couple for two years, Carl and Amie said it was great to be in the same spot and both enjoying their careers together. As part of the nursing pool, they work across wards and said it suited their goals for now.

“I like working across the wards, and this suits me to learn and work across the different parts of the hospital,” Carl said.

“It’s finally great to be in the same place. It’s a peaceful town, the community is safe. And it’s so close to Melbourne. So it’s very nice.”