Two qualified English nurses are forced to do farm work during the coronavirus epidemic because they can’t find jobs in Australia
- Jade O’Berg, 23, and Victoria Monk, 24, are qualified English pediatric nurses
- The pair have been unable to find a shift as a nurse due to coronavirus outbreak
- They say they’ve been looking for more than a month but work isn’t available
- The nurses are now begging to do farm work so they are able to work and stay
- Learn more about how to help people impacted by COVID
A pair of qualified English pediatric nurses living in Queensland have been forced to do farm work after struggling to find jobs in their profession because of the coronavirus lockdown.
Jade O’Berg, 23, and Victoria Monk, 24, are living in the Gold Coast on a working holiday visa but because hospitals are only accepting patients with coronavirus, the nurses say there is no work available.
They’ve put out a desperate call to do farm work so they can afford to keep living in Australia.
Jade O’Berg, 23, (left) and Victoria Monk, 24, (right) are living in the Gold Coast on a working holiday visa but due to the the majority of hospitals tending to patients with coronavirus, the nurses say there is no work available
The pair say they have been trying to find work as pediatric nurses for more than a month
‘We’ve rang and applied for multiple agencies and hospitals and there’s no work at all for paediatric nurses, we’ve been waiting for over a month,’ Ms O’Berg wrote.
‘We’re employed by Health Care Australia but they don’t have any shifts anymore due to all the surgeries being cancelled.’
All foreigners on working holiday visas are required to complete a stint in rural and regional Australia if they want to qualify for a second working visa.
The pair said they were planning to complete the agricultural work for their second year and work as nurses upon arrival.
The government recently let the work of foreign health care staff count towards their second visa but Ms O’Berg said this was only if visas expired in six months – which theirs do not.
The pair said their experience working in pediatrics meant they were more than capable of ‘getting their hands dirty’.
‘We are both paediatric nurses so comfortable around people of all ages as well as being used to working long shifts,’ Ms O’Berg said.
‘Not afraid to get our hands dirty (believe me we worked in gastro wards). Experience in child care (the best baby sitters you could probably get, we got degrees in it).
‘We both have full UK clean driving licence (Keen to drive tractors if needed).
The nurses are also unable to claim the jobseeker payment as they are not Australian residents.
‘Have been in an apartment in Queensland since March 17th and haven’t travelled between states,’ Ms O’Berg said.
‘Please message me if you can help two stranded girls out!’
The nurses are now hoping they’ll be able to do farm work so they can afford to stay in Australia
Other nurses across the country have been put out of work due to the outbreak of the pandemic with some looking at jobs in supermarkets instead.
Stephenie Wardle is just one of thousands of casual nurses who has struggled to keep a shift in more than a month.
She worked full time hours across South Australia but now can’t even afford the annual nursing registration fee of $175 – due next month.
Ms Wardle said that due to the care needed for patients with coronavirus, other medical departments were not needed.
‘You’re not getting car crashes or accidents … surgical and major departments [have shut down] so nurses like me don’t get that work,’ Ms Wardle told the ABC.
‘I’ve applied for jobs now that I would never have considered before – retail, packing for Coles and Woolworths.’
The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) is currently developing a payment plan for nurses and midwives experienced financial hardship during coronavirus.