Life of an Educator- A success Story of a Registered Nurse in Australia.

By NETA Feb 10, 2021

The Life of an Educator- The success story of becoming a registered nurse in Australia

By: Ross Pancho, MACN, RN, BScN, MN (ClinEd) TAE40116


‘A good success story is not always reserved in the movies.’

This is as far back as what I can remember a decade ago about the pursuit of my own success story in life in my chosen profession. It all started in 2004 after I was recognized to be a qualified Registered Nurse trained in the Philippines. I was one of the ‘newbies’ who just came out in the clinical world trying to make a name for myself and trying to make a difference. I was never different from most of the people that I come across with. I came from a middle-class family and having been exposed to the idea of becoming a ‘nurse’ as the only viable choice of the profession that can lift you up to a better status in life both financially and socially is an almost a non-negotiable choice. In fact, my older sister is a nurse herself which makes me think if I am destined to follow in her footsteps. The year 2004 when I graduated and pass the Licensure Examination for Nurses in the Philippines and started working in the clinical area. It was not as how I expect it to be, and it was not pretty! I guess I was still having the idea of how noble the profession is and how I can become successful in my own pursuit of success. I did learn the hard way and with an imprinted realization that surviving in the nursing profession is no easy feat. Challenges are almost made to break you rather than to strengthen you. I obviously had my fair share of ups and downs, but never has it deter me from giving up on creating my own success.

Time has passed and after spending a good year or so being a bedside nurse, I was exhausted and burnt out. It felt like all my hard work is going nowhere. That is when I decided to change my career path and working as a nurse educator in a provincial university where I was residing. This is when I started to realize that I can be someone successful if I pursue this line of work. While working as a nurse educator and doing clinical work at the same time, I was finally given a break. I guess sometimes if things are meant to happen, they will happen. I was invited to attend a migration session that works on sending nurses to Australia with a student visa. After attending the session, I sat down, think hard and work on my trajectory. I even started to research on what are the things to see and find in Australia and living conditions there. I was skeptical but full of hope. Never have I thought that I will be going in a different direction compared to the normal norm of nurses migrating to the western countries (USA and UK) instead. I was excited and afraid at the same time.


After committing to fulfill my success story, I decided to pursue my career overseas in Australia. I made all the necessary arrangements. There are endless seminars, migration agent advice, collecting funds, and so on. After 5 months of waiting, I finally received my visa and will be able to commence my journey to Australia. I was pre-arranged to arrive in Sydney and study in a business course for 2 years then work my way to understand the nursing registration there and inevitably work as an RN. I have a huge dream, bigger than life itself and I was never as excited in my life as I was back then. 2008 of March when I landed in Australia. It was cold and breezy, something that I never experienced before coming from a tropical country. I was happy to finally be able to start over something, something that is worthwhile of my time and energy. ‘My goal is to become a registered nurse in Australia!’

Although success may almost seem evident, it was not easy. I guess before you can reach an oasis you must first cross the harsh desert. I was studying and working at the same time, trying to save up so I can enroll for a nursing course in the university or apply for the bridging program to convert my registration in Australia. Money can come and go if you work hard for it but passing pre-requisite exams for nursing registration is not something you can just overcome. I took the IELTS exam as part of the requirement to be assessed as an RN and commence on bridging course here in Australia. Believe it or not, as much as I thought that I’m good, I failed 5 times before I acquire the necessary marks for each category. It was so frustrating that a simple English test can jeopardize all your plans and I’m sure that I share the same sentiments with all the other overseas qualified nurses across Australia that are struggling to pass this exam as well. My final attempt was successful. The joy is enormous, and I cannot even begin to describe how I felt that time. I said to myself, this is it. This is the first step for my future trajectory, to be an RN! During that time as well, I was currently studying in a university in Perth, WA (Curtin University) as I chose to take the path towards obtaining a bachelor’s degree qualification rather than pursuing the Bridging course. A lot of people asked me why I chose this path and my response to them is simple, ‘I wanted to learn everything from the beginning here in Australia with no shortcuts’. I don’t recommend this pathway to your registration if you are in a hurry to obtain your registration as it is more costly and time-consuming. I had to study for at least a year to finish my bachelor’s degree. But it’s not always a caveat though, completing your bachelors’ program in a university in Australia will grant you 15 points added to your Permanent Residency application. This is partly the reason for me to choose this career pathway over the bridging course. Having to fulfill my bachelor’s degree and passing my IELTS exams are the only remaining hindrance for me to reach my success goal and after I completed it, I was stoked, motivated and anxious for what’s to come next.

My journey as an RN begins after I got my registration in Australia and was offered a job as a clinical nurse in one of the best private hospitals in Sydney during that time. It is a 400-bed hospital with complete facilities, everything that a nurse should want to start off their career. This is when all the culmination of my learning took place. I gained so much experience in relation to clinical work, caring for specialized patients, and working in Australia. My permanent ward allocation is on the Surgical Cardiac and stepdown ward where I looked after postop patients with cardiac conditions/operations. This is a highly specialized area and requires the nurses to be clinically relevant and appropriately trained to be able to function safely. I worked in this hospital for 6 years including the time that I was working as an Assistant in Nursing (AIN) where I do bedside assisting duties for patients. During the 6-year period that I served as a clinical nurse, I gained my Permanent Residency as an independent skilled migrant application and having my bachelor’s degree to assist me on the points. I was happy, fulfilled, and successful.

I now started to think if I have done everything that I wanted to in my career as a nurse. I was contented with what I do but at the same time, I feel empty and unfulfilled. After working for 6 years in the cardiac specialty, I took a leap of faith and explore my options working on the public health system while trying to stretch out on doing education for the first time in Australia. The spark of passion that I had during my education times overseas is still intact and would love to see where it will bring me. Maybe I was waiting for the right time, or maybe a sign, I never really knew. But my suggestion is if you feel that it’s the right time to move on, don’t hesitate and don’t regret it. I left my job in the private hospital and work as a casual in the public hospital beside it while working as a clinical facilitator looking after undergraduate student nurses in the university. Take note that in order for a nurse to be able to do clinical facilitation work, you will need to have a minimum of 5 years of clinical experience. I worked with various universities during that time including the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), Western Sydney University (WSU), and The University of Sydney. It was tough to start with as teaching a student nurse is different from working as a nurse. You need patience and understanding in explaining reasons and rationale for their clinical actions. I guess working in any nursing profession regardless of the specialty is always challenging. Time went on and after spending most of my time being a clinical facilitator, I finally decided to take it one step notch. I applied as a nurse educator or sessional academics in one of the private schools in Sydney delivering courses for Internationally Qualified Overseas Nurses (IRON). This was also extended in a few years’ time when I started working as a course coordinator for the diploma of nursing and the Bridging course concurrently. This is when I realized that my heart truly belongs to education. I have genuine sympathy towards our struggling overseas students who were finding their own success stories in Australia. It was at that point in my life and in my career that I fully pledged to become a nurse educator.

Being an educator is challenging. I realized this early on when I took the role and pledge to myself on the career path that I chose. You will need to have continuous studies, lots of never-ending academic developments, and career progression in order for you to be successful in education. I sat down and look at my options. On one end I can always come back to become a clinical nurse but what will be my goal after? Do I want to be a manager, and educator inward or anything else? This is not something that I was keen to do during that time. Or do I want to continue becoming a nurse educator but pursue my higher education by completing my postgraduate master’s degree? It is a tough call as whatever I decide on myself, I will not be able to take it back. At the end of the day, I didn’t want to make any regrets about my decision. I finally stepped in and took the challenge to complete my Master’s degree in Clinical Education. I have this vision that after I finish my degree, I can become more secure in being considered as a desirable and employable nurse educator and academics. It was a goal that I know has a 100% success story. Early 2016 is when I commit myself to enroll and will be completing it in 3 years as part-time. Let me tell you, the Master’s degree that I took is the hardest studying that I have done in my whole life! It was notoriously grueling and very unforgiving. I guess my only saving grace at that time was never to give up as I have a strong urge to reach my success. The normal 3-year trajectory of this course only took me 2.5 years to complete! I took the liberty in adding more subjects, sacrificing most of my time just to finish it as soon as I can. I was consistent, I persevere, and I succeeded.

I guess with all the struggles that I have been through and up to the point of where I am now, I can honestly say I fulfilled my success story. After gaining recognition and completing my post master’s degree, I immediately landed a job as a course coordinator/ nurse educator in one of the most prestigious nursing schools across Australia, The Australian College of Nursing (ACN) which is the pre-eminent body representative of nurses across the country. ACN is also the representative of Australia for the International Council of Nurses (ICN) who provide substantial updates on the current issues nurses faced across the world. With all the undertakings that I took, I was very proud to be a member of this school/organization that represents nurses across the country and around the world. And this didn’t happen by chance, I have worked hard to attain and gain the recognition I deserve to be where I am now with ACN.


In the end, I would like to take a moment to hopefully inspire our future nurses wanting to create their own success story like what I did. And through working side by side with NETA as a nurse educator, I will support the nurses who are willing to step up and create something extraordinary in their career as nurses in Australia. I look forward to seeing everyone becoming successful in their professional journey just like how I created mine!