Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Nursing, Midwifery & Indigenous Health


For overseas qualified nurses (OQNs), a Bachelor of Nursing (BN) conversion course appears to be the best means of ensuring registration in Australia. However, the experience of the BN conversion course is not just that of becoming registered. Literature related to international nursing students and learning experiences emphasizes the major academic adjustment English as a second language (ESL) students have to make when studying. This thesis attempts to move beyond this narrow focus and broadens the debate by looking at the inter-relational factors of language, culture, learning and working perspectives in order to discover a better understanding of the most important aspects of OQNs (Taiwanese nurses) studying in Australia.

This thesis applied a exploratory qualitative descriptive design (Parse, Coyne & Smith 1985). The researcher individually interviewed a total of twenty-six Taiwanese OQNs by using a semi-structured interview method. A qualitative approach was undertaken using snowball and purposive sampling techniques to access participants. Taiwanese participants living in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Taiwan were selected. All participants had completed a RN-BN conversion course and were eligible for registration in Australia. Face to face semi-structured interviews of forty-five to sixty minutes in length were conducted. All interviews were transcribed verbatim, with participants allowed to speak Mandarin during the interview. The transcriptions were translated to English by the researcher and verified by competent bilingual people.

Three sections emerged and are discussed in this thesis including: Escaping and Dream Seeking, Frustration and Compromising and Evaluating. According to these three stages, the overarching theme is - understanding the disparity: expectations of Taiwanese registered nurses about studying a BN conversion course in Australia compared with what the course actually offered.

The findings of this thesis are very compatible to previous study findings associated with the experiences of overseas qualified RNs. All participants expressed similar opinions about their perspective on the courses and the outcomes of their learning experiences in Australian universities and clinical practicum, as well as how these nurses established relationships with local students. In addition, participants in this thesis also contributed their suggestions to what they need from the courses. In conclusion, recommendations for considering an appropriate course for those Taiwanese nurse students and even other OQNs are necessary.