Nursing And Travel – An Unlikely Combination

Hello, my name is Amy Bruker, and I am a travelling nurse from Perth, Australia. As of March 2022, I work at Wittington Health in North London. I know what the first thing that goes through your mind is – girl, you are far away from home! Fair enough, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Being a travelling nurse for over ten years has been the most astonishing, exhilarating, and incredible experience I could have imagined. But to explain my choice, I would have to go to the very beginning. Being a nurse was almost a given in my case – both my grandma and Mom were registered nurses at Perth Children’s Hospital. I grew up on stories of saved lives, care, service, and duty, and I spent more than a few afternoons among my Mom’s colleagues.

After I got my Bachelor of Nursing degree from Curtin University, I decided to indulge myself with six months of travel around the world. The plan was to go to Japan, the US, and then a whirlwind tour of Europe before I headed back home. I had only travelled once before that outside Australia (a quick trekking tour in New Zealand), so the experience was entirely new for me.

Japan blew me away! I was utterly enchanted with the country, medieval temples and old castles, and the out-of-this-world hassle of Tokyo. The switch to California provoked a cultural shock, yet I soon found myself in love with the hipster atmosphere of San Francisco and the beauty of the Californian mountains. It slowly but irrevocably dawned on me that travelling had captured my heart.

But I had no intention of giving up on nursing, so how was I to combine them? My Mom gave me the answer – I could become a travelling nurse. I still had to come home to Perth and work for at least a couple of years to cover the requirements of most countries, but then I could choose almost any health institution in the English-speaking world.

After a 2-year stint at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Perth, my first destination was Middlemore Hospital in Aukland, New Zealand. I always considered this to be my grand rehearsal – on the one hand, it was a different country and lifestyle, but on the other, it was relatively close to home. My biggest ambition, however, was to try and move to London and start working in one of its leading hospitals.

Then Covid struck. I had to postpone my plans for the better part of two years, but with the pandemic running its course in late 2021, I was ready to put my plans into motion. I had done my homework, chosen a hospital and a district of London to live in, applied and got approved. Now I just had to make one of the boldest steps in my life. But that will be the topic of my next blog post!