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Australian healthcare
How UK doctors can fit into Australian culture

Australian culture has a reputation worldwide for being easygoing, friendly and relaxed.

But even so, leaving family and friends behind for a new adventure abroad can be both challenging and intimidating.

The buzz of excitement about starting a new life can soon give way to feelings of anxiety as well as those nagging questions: What if I don’t fit in? What if I can’t find a new community?

Australians are among the friendliest people on the planet.

Heard ‘G’day mate’ before? It’s the default Australian greeting – the Aussie version of ‘Y’alright?’

As long as you make a conscious effort to understand and embrace the Australian culture, the transition will be a breeze.

Here’s how to do it.

Live and love the Aussie lifestyle

Aussies are fairly simple, fun-loving folk who love nothing more than to relax and soak up everything their vast country offers.

And they love Bs. Not the ones that make honey. We’re talking barbecues, backyards, beaches and bevvies (alcohol).

If you like even one of the above, you’ll fit into the Australian culture and way of life just fine!

Learn the lingo

Aussies have a funny way of talking but you already know that.

But it’s some of the phrases they say with that drawl that might stump you.

So it’s a good idea to make an effort to learn some of the basic ones so you don’t feel like you’ve landed on Mars.

“I was watching the ’Pies on the telly when the bogans from next door came round, knocked off all me snags on the barbie, smashed all me booze, used me dunny and took off. Crikey, I was fair dinkum spewing.”

Translation: “I was watching Collingwood (AFL team) on TV when the unsophisticated neighbours arrived, ate all of my sausages on the barbecue, drank all my alcohol, used my toilet and left. By jolly, I was very angry.”

The key is to immerse yourself in the language. If someone says a word you don’t understand, ask what they mean!

It’s a great conversation starter and an easy way to share a laugh with a potential new connection.

Understand and respect Australia’s multiculturalism

Australia might be famous for Aussies but it is actually a very rich and diverse country multiculturally.

In 2021, 27.6% of the population had been born overseas with England (3.6%), India (2.6%) and China (2.2%) the top three foreign countries of birth.

As a doctor, you need to learn about and understand multiple foreign cultures.

Your success as a GP may depend on your ability to remain open-minded to many different customs and respectful to people from a wide range of backgrounds.

Get to know Australia’s healthcare system in detail

If you intend to work as a doctor in Australia, you’ll need to understand the ins and outs of its healthcare system.

Medicare is the cornerstone of that system incorporating medicines, medical services and public hospitals.

The Medical Benefits Schedule (MBS) is a list of health services and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) is a list of medicines subsidised by the Australian government.

Private health insurance works in tandem with the public system.

As of December, 2022, 45.1% of Australians had private hospital insurance and 55.1% had private extras cover, which includes services such as dental, optical and physiotherapy.

To work as a doctor in Australia, you’ll need to be registered by AHPRA.

HRA and your new medical clinic will walk you through the whole process which will include applying to Medicare for a provider number and to the PBS for a prescriber number, allowing you to claim, bill, refer or request their services.

This is just the beginning, get in touch to know more about our system.

Embrace the relaxed work environment

The work environment is decidedly more relaxed in Australia so to best fit in, just watch, learn and go with the flow.

This may include the way people greet and speak to you, the way they dress and behave.

That is not to suggest they are rude or boorish, or don’t work hard and take their work seriously, but it may be more casual or less formal than you’re used to.

Sometimes, simply sharing a quick joke or laugh can be a great icebreaker allowing both parties to quickly find a common ground and respect.

Telling a short story about yourself, maybe even a self-deprecating one, can gain the trust of a patient or colleague and help put them at ease.

Join local communities

This is one of the best ways to really start interacting with locals and seamlessly become a part of the Australian way of life.

Consider joining a local groups and clubs to meet like-minded individuals, help build your network and make new connections.

You may also wish to align yourself with a sporting club as a player or official, participate in local events such as fun runs or fundraisers or help out volunteer groups. It’s a great way to meet people.

Explore the cuisine

Australia has no shortage of unique national foods. 

You may already be familiar with meat pies but may be less accustomed to Vegemite, pavlova, Tim Tams, Chiko Rolls and Cherry Ripes.

Traditionally, Australia’s national dish is usually recognised as lamb although kangaroo, emu and crocodile are among the native animals which occasionally appear on menus.

When it comes to dining out, “Modern Australian” is a cuisine style which cooks local ingredients in a vast range of styles that have influenced the country, often with an Asian twist. 

Pick a team

Aussies love their sport – it lies at the very heart of Australian culture.

You’ll never run out of conversation if you pick an AFL team to support.

Attending sporting events, be it football (Australian Rules/AFL), soccer (what the English call football), rugby (league or union), cricket, basketball or netball is always great entertainment.

All the better if you’re lucky enough to be invited to a corporate facility – it makes for a fantastic networking opportunity.

Work-life balance

Some Australian cities average as much as 3200 sunlight hours per year, hence workers like to take advantage of daylight hours by putting a premium on their work-life balance.

This has become even more apparent since Covid lockdowns forced many workers to operate from home and away from the office.

Having a good balance helps keep workers happy and engaged in their jobs as well as increasing productivity and longevity in their careers.

Sometimes, even taking a short break during your working day can do the trick – maybe a walk along the beach, a coffee at the local cafe or a quick run through the parklands.

Ask locals for advice

Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you’re not sure about best practices in either your work environment or personal life.

Aussies love to feel important and help a neighbour.

You may wish to ask for advice at work or the best way to approach something or someone without offending them.

Contact Health Recruitment Australia today

Many UK doctors and GPs from other regions have already made a big success of moving to Australia.

With the right attitude and just a little bit of preparation, you’ll have no trouble fitting in with the Australian culture.

Travelling and working overseas is one of the best ways to expand your horizons and grow as an individual both professionally and personally.

If you approach the move with an open heart and mind, you’ll never look back.

And there’s a really simple way you can start the ball rolling.

Health Recruitment Australia is a recruitment agency focussed specifically on matching overseas doctors of all ages with the right clinics in Australia.

There is currently a significant shortage of GPs in Australia, with multiple opportunities for doctors keen to make the move.

The financial rewards and quality of life are what draws so many overseas healthcare professionals to Australian shores with conditions far superior to what they are used to in the UK, Ireland and throughout Asia.

Why not start with an informal, no-obligation discussion with the experienced team at Health Recruitment Australia? Contact us.

Enquire now, and we’ll be
in touch shortly!


Enquire now, and we’ll be
in touch shortly!