19 August 2021

Aussie nurse recruit returns to King Eddies from Scottish Grampians

Nurse Polly Clement-Gibbs has returned to Western Australia to work in perioperative care at King Edward Memorial Hospital after two-years abroad. She is the first in a cohort of returning NHS Grampian Recruit Australia nurses and midwives who participated in a ‘transition to practice’ program in Aberdeen, Scotland. 

Polly drew the attention of recruiters from NHS Grampians after she graduated from her university studies with an interest in perioperative care inspired by a placement at Kalgoorlie Health Campus.  She joined the program in August 2019 and spent two years working in maternity operating theatres in Aberdeen.

“I loved every minute of my time in Scotland – from the support and training I received to the lifelong friends I made.”

Throughout the program, Polly consolidated her nursing nous developed through her tertiary studies and regional placement.

While there were a few differences in the way the Scots delivered care, Polly has no doubt that she can comfortably bring the wealth of her experience to bear in her new position at King Edward Memorial Hospital.

“During the program, you learn about critical thinking and reflection, about people and how to care for them. These are the experiences and skills that you can bring to any hospital if you apply them in the right way.”

While Polly and the other recruits planned for the usual challenges and opportunities of spending two years away from family and friends to work abroad, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic was anything but expected.

Compared to Western Australia, where the prevalence of the virus continues to be managed and largely kept from the community through rigorous hotel quarantine, Scotland and the United Kingdom experienced much more severe outbreaks.

Polly reflected on the fear and unknown that was felt throughout the start of the pandemic, with advice and policies often changing and updating daily as new and seasoned healthcare workers alike adapted to the changing situation.

Using the skills, education and experience gained during the program, Polly is now playing a key role in King Edwards Memorial Hospital’s surgical team and considering pursing post-graduate studies in obstetrics.

Launched in 2018, the NHS Grampian Recruit Australia program is a collaboration between the Department of Health’s Chief Nursing and Midwifery Office and NHS Grampian where newly qualified nurses and midwives have been offered the opportunity to consolidate their tertiary education through professional practice.

While our focus is to employ as many of our local graduates as possible this has been a fantastic opportunity for those nurses and midwives who have travelled to Scotland and are now able to bring back the unique skills they have gained while abroad.

Nurses and midwives returning from the program help to bolster the WA health system’s nursing and midwifery workforce at a time when our community needs it the most.

Find out about nursing and midwifery careers across WA health.