By Dawn Robertson, a physiotherapist from the UK who has gained her New Zealand physio registration.
To do or not to do. That is the question.
Taking that step of experiencing another area of the world can be daunting and scary. Living in the UK for most of my years, the thought of moving was scary as I had close friends and family in the UK. I loved to explore the world but would always come back to my roots. Living in the UK meant travelling on long weekends to see different areas of Europe was a blessing. Along one of my travels, I met my husband who is from New Zealand.
We agreed to stay in the UK and see the world from here. I had made four trips to New Zealand over the years to meet his family and friends, and I loved the experience. So I decided to take a bold step and to move to New Zealand with him. I looked into registration as a physiotherapist in NZ and the stress involved in the collection of information, paperwork and finances was off-putting and daunting. It took me six years to finally get my act together and apply for the New Zealand physiotherapy registration! I kept postponing it due to the lengthy information needed and lack of understanding on how to fill the paperwork.
I started searching the internet for any information or clues on how to fill in the forms but found little or none. Finally, I came across the E-book ‘Getting Registered as a physio in New Zealand‘ and to be frank I could not believe it! It was written in a simple way that I could understand and I could follow the instructions step by step.
I read the E-book page by page and followed the discussion on the Facebook page. It gave me a much better understanding of how to fill out the forms. The process for collecting all the information needed for the application took four months and a lot of chasing up to get the correct documents. Some of the things that were most helpful from the E-book were the information on aligning the competencies with your current practice and reflection on my present practice. I also found the suggestions and pointers on the Treaty of Waitangi really helpful as well.
I paid attention to filling in the form and making it more specific to the things I presently do as a physiotherapist. I wrote examples of my clinical experience and how it would align with my practice in New Zealand.
Another aspect which assisted was ensuring that I used the correct date/forms to avoid my application be returned. When I thought I was finished, I then checked the completed application forms but also got my husband & friends to re-check the forms as well. I went through the complete forms for two weeks and finally submitted the application. I can assure you that I spent the whole night drinking to celebrate submitting the application!
The waiting period was daunting as I kept going through it in my head. Is there anything I could have done better? Did I complete the forms correctly? Eventually, I got an email from the NZ physiotherapy board regarding some clarification of a few points. I then waited another week and going through my emails one morning I saw the email that my registration had been accepted! I screamed for joy for two hours. The whole process took four weeks from submission to acceptance.
“The whole process took four weeks from submission to acceptance.”
Registration was sorted, next, it was payment for the annual practising certificate (APC). Other things I needed to do included winding things down in the UK and looking at jobs and locations for places to go to in New Zealand. The advantage I have is that I do know New Zealand a bit and have travelled in the North and the South islands. I had also visited some of the local hospitals to discuss job possibilities and had an awareness of their health system.
In New Zealand, the lifestyle is more relaxed and laid back. People are friendly. Things are not cheap but everywhere is the same. The lifestyle is one most people never regret. I would say this is one of my best achievements I have accomplished so far….and many more to come.
The answer to my question is To Do.
By Dawn Robertson, a UK trained physiotherapist who has gained her New Zealand Physiotherapy registration.