Australian map Accredited courses from leading Australian universities, TAFEs and colleges

How to become a clinical nurse in Australia: careers in nursing

How to become a clinical nurse in Australia: careers in nursing
Clinical nurses play an important role within the acute care sector of nursing. They work in specialised areas of medicine and understand, observe, diagnose and analyse complex critical health problems in their area of specialisations and determine appropriate treatment plans. To become a clinical nurse, you must be a registered nurse with postgraduate qualifications.

Being a clinical nurse: daily duties

Clinical nurses work in a variety of settings, specialising in treating different types of health issues and diseases – for example they may work in gynaecology, oncology or emergency rooms. The daily duties of a clinical nurse will vary depending on the types of patient issues they treat and the environments they work in. Generally their duties include monitoring patients for changes in conditions, devising treatment plans, promoting health awareness and communicating with doctors. Sometimes they may take on a mentoring role with graduate nurses.


  • Clinical decision making
  • Facility administration
  • Analysing and interpreting clinical data
  • Staff and facility management
  • Conducting physical exams

Being a clinical nurse: skills for success

Clinical nurses need a deep sense of compassion, empathy and dedication as they deal with seriously ill and injured patients every day and the work can be very difficult. Outstanding communication skills are a must as this role requires listening to others, as well as delivering complex information to other health professionals, patients and their families. Clinical nurses need to have sound judgment and decision making abilities as well as complex problem solving skills. Leadership qualities are also desirable as these senior nursing roles often involve leading teams and mentoring others.
  • Caring and compassionate nature
  • Leadership skills
  • Problem solving skills
  • Organisational and administrative skills
  • Decision making abilities

Specialised roles within nursing

There are many different opportunities open to someone wanting to work in the highly specialised field of clinical nursing, and different study options will allow you to tailor your career path to find work in a variety of contexts.
  • Adult psychiatric and mental health
    Adult psychiatric clinical nurses deliver dedicated care within psychiatric hospitals. They function as a primary therapist for both individuals and groups and also mentor and educate other staff.
  • Child/adolescent psychological and mental health
    These specialist clinical nurses work with young people and teens with psychological and mental health issues. They asses young people and their families and make comprehensive diagnoses and create treatment plans.
  • Diabetes management
    Clinical nurses specialising in diabetes management are registered nurses who have completed postgraduate qualifications in diabetes education. They work to educate patients and the public about diabetes management.

Educational pathways for clinical nurses

Opportunities exist at every level within the nursing industry, from entry-level roles requiring vocational training through to specialised study for high-level healthcare roles.
  • Start your career
    Join the nursing profession in an entry-level role with one of these vocational courses.
  • Strengthen your skills
    Qualify as a registered nurse or pursue a career specialisation with these courses for career advancement.
  • Build your resume
    Pursue high-level employment options by gaining an extensive qualification or specialisation in a particular nursing field.
  • Industry requirements
    Registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia is required to work as a nurse in Australia.
  • Finding Work
    Put your training to good use and get the best professional head start in your nursing career. Emphasise your personal strengths and achievements in your resume and target your cover letter to the job description listed.
  • Employment Prospects
    Australia is experiencing a shortage of nursing staff. Professional opportunities are available at all levels, and accredited nurses are highly sought after nationwide.

Resources for Clinical nurses

Related Articles

Critical health problem in nursing jobs

For well over two decades there have been warnings of a looming crisis in the health-care system due to the ageing population and significant workplace shortages.

Read more

Aged care workers demand pay rise

Australian aged care workers have lodged a claim for a 60 per cent pay increase – a rise that would add up to $10 an hour to the hourly wage.

Read more

5 Reasons To Study Nursing

Most of us are aware of how important nurses are to modern health care. There are fewer professions more necessary – especially in an ageing population – or more respected.

Read more
Pop up

Stay in the loop with loads of
free study and career advice

Thank you email


we'll be in touch