Moving overseas a job remedy for nurses

Updated: 2013-05-13 01:29

By Wang Qingyun and Shan Juan (China Daily)

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But challenges such as language accompanied the higher salary.

"Chinese nurses are very proficient in nursing skills. But Singaporeans speak English with a heavy accent. I also needed to communicate with co-workers from the Philippines, India and Myanmar," she said.

"Instead of Mandarin, many Chinese in Singapore speak Cantonese and Teochew dialects, which I found hard to understand," she noted.

In May 2010, she applied to immigrate to Canada, moved there with her family in March 2012, and is now applying to take an exam to become a registered nurse.

"Unlike in China and Singapore, a registered nurse here (in Canada) is a respected occupation and pays much more," she said.

Duan, who now lives in Ontario, considers herself lucky.

"I and my husband got permanent residency in Singapore in January 2008, whereas it got harder for my friends who later went to work there to obtain the status," she said.

"People came to Canada to work as nurses from around the world. Doctors and teachers emigrating from China are also willing to get a nursing degree and work as a nurse there if they don't find a job that suits them."

Stephanie Gu, 29, who is taking a nursing course in Melbourne, Australia, also finds herself accompanied by other aspiring Chinese students.

Upon graduating from medical school in Hebei province in 2006, she was chosen by a nursing agency in Beijing to work in a private hospital in Saudi Arabia for three years. At the end of 2009, she began to work in Singapore. Last year, she finally went to Australia to take a one-year nursing course at Deakin University, achieving her dream to work and live in a developed country.

Gu said she will become a registered nurse in Australia if she finishes the course and gets enough points at the IELTS exam, but finding a job as a nurse there is harder than before.

"Many Chinese nursing students came here to take the nursing course, for example from Peking University and the Capital Medical University," she said. "We all would like to settle here. But we have to compete with each other and many local would-be nurses, who may not be as proficient in clinical practice but speak much better English. I have seen so many cases of failure."