There are many reasons to nurse in Australia and many will make this transition every year. However, between applying for your AHPRA registration as an overseas nurse, to planning the road trips on your days off, travelling to live and work in Australia can be a daunting yet exciting decision to make . Choosing the best nursing agency in Australia will allow you the freedom to work as you please and explore till your heart is content.   Best Nursing Agency in Australia pin  

Disclosure – this post is entirely about my experiences with nursing agencies in Australia. I discuss my journey of why I am working with the following agencies.

  In 2014 I completed some of my nursing placements in Australia. This was a choice I made and would, therefore, have to organise completely on my own. Being a qualified learning disability nurse from the UK, I knew I would run into some struggles as the nursing degree in Australia is different to the UK. Organising this placement was a lengthy process that resulted in me gaining experience working in a school nursing team and in an early intervention centre for children with Autism. This experience had me longing for more opportunities like this as a qualified nurse in the future, however, neither of these jobs would provide me with the flexibility to travel.  
Touring the Great Ocean Road in our campervan
The best way to explore Australia is definitely by campervan.
  Fast forward to 2018 and after a lot of research, I learned that I could apply to work as a nurse in Australia by applying for AHPRA (Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency). After a meeting in London with an advisor from the Australian Nursing Agency, I had knowledge of the AHPRA Requirements for Overseas Nurses and a long, complex journey ahead of me to gather the information that was required.  

If you are in the process of applying for AHPRA, check out our full guide to AHPRA Registration for Overseas Nurses here.


Best Nursing Agency in Australia

Australian Nursing Agency

After this meeting, my eyes were opened to the number of opportunities that were available to nurse and travel by joining a nursing agency in Australia. Australian Nursing Agency supported me through the process of applying for AHPRA as an overseas nurse whilst I was still in the UK. However, when I informed them that my AHPRA registration was complete, I was informed that they did not employ learning disability nurses due to this qualification not being recognised in Australia. This was of course disheartening, however I wasn’t going to let it stop me nursing in this beautiful country. I have since met many learning disability and intellectual disability nurses in the same position as myself. For those of you that are an adult, child or mental health nurse there should be plenty of work for you with Australian Nursing Agency.  

Contact Details

[email protected], UK phone number – +44 020 3816 1331, AU phone number – +61 (03) 9481 7222.    

HealthCare Australia

Unfortunately, my time as a nurse with HealthCare Australia (HCA) was also short and sweet. I applied for HCA whilst I was still in the UK, was accepted pending receiving my AHPRA certificate. When I received my AHPRA certificate, HCA would not recognise my degree as a Learning Disability Nurse and therefore asked that I worked as a support worker instead. Obviously, this was not an ideal situation as I had travelled to Australia and completed my AHPRA with the hopes of nursing. I accepted the role as a support worker in the meantime, which I continued after finding an agency that could support me as a nurse.  


You will receive an induction with HCA before you begin work to show you how to accept and record your shifts. You will also receive online and in-person training which will be paid for by HCA. Many nurses, who are waiting for their AHPRA registration to come through, will work as a support worker during this time. These people will also unfortunately have to pay $70 for the CPR/First Aid training, as the agency does not5 pay for support workers.  


HCA will provide you with a polo top to wear when you are on shift. You will also be required to wear smart trousers and black shoes. As a support worker, you will not be given a uniform.  

Where in Australia can I Work with HCA?

HCA is one of the largest healthcare agencies in Australia, therefore you will be able to get work in whatever state you chose to visit.  

Nursing Fields Recognised by HCA

HCA accept Adult, Child and Mental Health nurses who have had relevant experience and training.  

How to get Shifts with HCA

The more availability you have open, the more shifts you will be offered. If you are down to be available for a shift, then as a courtesy the agency will expect you to accept the shift they offer you unless you have a valid reason. If your shift is cancelled less than four hours before start time, you are eligible to still be paid for four hours unless the agency can provide you with another shift.  

Online HCA App

Shifts with HCA are generally allocated through the HCA app. A particular shift will be sent out to many so if you aren’t quick then you may not end up missing out on a shift. Make sure your contact details are up to date as there is also a chance that you will receive phone calls about some shifts that they are struggling to cover.  

Free Flight

If you work 500 hours in the first 6 months of working as a registered nurse with HCA, then your flight costs to Australia will be reimbursed.  

Contact Details

  • Australia – 1300 HCA 247 / 1300 422 247
  • New Zealand – +64 9 601 9260
  • United Kingdom – +44 20 7861 8943
  • America/Canada – 1888 518 8550
  stethescope on top of nursing paperwork    

Also Read – Reasons to Travel and Nurse in Australia


Austra Health

Austra Health has been the only agency in Australia so far that has accepted my nursing qualification and taken me into their team. However, this agency is only based in Victoria, therefore if doesn’t offer much flexibility to travel and explore Australia. In terms of saving up in between travels and being based in the amazing city of Melbourne, it is the perfect agency for you. In my opinion, due to the support and work that they have provided me, Austra Heath is the best nursing agency in Melbourne.  


Austra Health will provide you with an online training pack that must be completed before you start working.  


You will be provided with a polo top and you are expected to purchase your own black trousers and black shoes.  

Where in Australia can I Work with Austra Health?

Austra Health are a nursing agency in Melbourne and are currently only based in Victoria. They are a small agency, however they do also offer work placements in the middle east. There are still plenty of shifts up for grabs around the Melbourne hospitals though.  

Nursing Fields Recognised by Austra Health

All fields of nursing are recognised by Austra Health.  

How to get Shifts with Austra Health

Austra Health have an online service where you can update your availability. You will receive a text or a phone call if you are allocated a shifts. I have found that these tend to be allocated quite last minute. Make sure your contact details are up to date so that you don’t miss out on work!  

Refer a Friend

When you refer a friend to join you working with Austra Health, you and your friend will both receive a $300 bonus after your friend has completed 10 shifts. If you find this blog useful, then feel free to mention that “Gemma Spence” referred you and we will both get paid.  

Sign up Bonus

After you have completed your first 10 shifts with Austra Health, you will receive a $250 sign up bonus.  

Contact Details

Head Office – +61 3 9864 6010    

Also Read – Does Nursing Count Towards my Australian 2nd Year Visa?


Other Nursing Agencies in Australia

There are many other nursing agencies in Australia, I am sure they will all follow a similar style to those mentioned above. It’s a good idea to join more than one so that if one agency has a quiet period, you will hopefully still get work.   Other agencies that we recommend checking out are    

How is Working with a Nursing Agency in Australia?

Working for an agency is not easy, hence why agency nurses get paid more. It’s very unreliable and can be unsettling working in a different environment every shift. If you like a particular area, let them know or ask if they have frequent available shifts. The agency may be able to allocate you a block booking in that particular place or offer you regular shifts there. In my opinion, the benefits of the flexibility agency work has given me has definitely out-weighed the lack of security it has brought at times. If you are a learning disability nurse looking for work in Australia, please don’t be put off nursing in Australia by this post. I have met learning disability nurses working in hospices, hospitals and mental health settings. Unfortunately, as an agency nurse, it is harder to find work but as you can see, I managed to find work in the end. I have also heard of learning disability nurses working for Belmore Nursing Agency, that one is next on my list to try.  
Serene Torquay Beach
A peaceful sunset over Torquay beach.

Download our FREE full guide to arriving in Melbourne and getting yourself set up. This includes how to set up a bank account, superannuation and so much more!

    So there you have it, the best nursing agencies in Australia, including all you need to know to get started with them. If you are planning a trip to Australia to nurse, let us know if you found this helpful in the comment section below. Do you have any concerns? Anything you are looking forward to doing when you are there? Any questions about the country we will gladly try to help. Let us know down below. Also remember that sharing is caring, so be sure to let all your friends and family know about this guide to Melbourne so they too can plan their own trip to join you down under. Save this guide for later by Pinning it and make the most of your adventure to Melbourne when you visit. If you found this guide useful, make sure you check out the rest of our Australia content so you can plan your trip to its maximum potential. Catch up with us on our social medias and tag us in your Australia photos so we can share them with our community.     Now Read:    

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This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Alex Rowden

    Thank you so much for your blog it has helped me so much looking into nursing in Australia, AHPRA website is so informative but so confusing at the same time so your experience with applying etc has really helped me and stopped my brain exploding! So thank you so much. Myself and my fiancé are planning to travel beginning of November South East Asia first before Australia. So I may not visit australia until maybe a year later. Do you think that will effect my registration to AHPRA? I have completed my confirmation, signatures etc for Revalidation last week before I travel as Im not actually due to Revalidate until next November. I was hoping due to being covered from Revalidation, a year of travelling before hitting Australia will not effect my registration? Would you know anything about this? Also, like you said in your blogs you travelled with your partner, did he manage to find work at the same time as you doing agency work in Aus? I’m just wondering because if I have to travel certain places for shifts I’m not sure how that would work out for my partner finding work? Thanks so much for your help, so so glad I came across your website! Thanks again, Alex

    1. highlands2hammocks

      Hi Alex! Thanks for your comment. I know how you feel, applying for AHPRA can be so stressful, I’m so glad that this has helped you! I’ve had a look into this but can’t really find any information. It is compulsory to renew registration by 31st May each year, I had actually only completed one nursing shift by the time I had to renew, it did ask a question about how many hours I had work in the past week and luckily that was when I had worked my shift. I imagine it will be fine for you too however I would maybe give AHPRA a call just to double check.

      You should be fine with regard to revalidating. I completed my revalidation in May 2018 and it was due September 2018, however I was travelling from May 2018 until December 2018 when I arrived in Australia. I didn’t complete my first nursing shift until May 2019, a year after I did my last shift and revalidation.

      When it came to work, we weren’t really settled in one place long enough for Campbell to get a job as an engineer, which is what he studied. He did manage to get other work though as a swim teacher and bricklayer whilst I was working agency in Melbourne.

  2. guardiannursingagency

    You must have a lot of pride in writing quality content. I’m impressed with the amount of solid information you have written in your article. I hope to read more.

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