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

How to become a registered nurse in Australia: careers in nursing
As an integral part of Australia’s healthcare system, registered nurses work alongside medical and social services professionals to care for, advise and support people with health issues to improve their wellbeing. They are often the first point of contact for people who need health advice and work in different settings including hospitals, community health centres, doctors surgeries, schools and government facilities. Registered nurses in Australia are sometimes called a Division 1 nurse. To become one you need to complete a Bachelor of Nursing degree.

Being a registered nurse: daily duties

Registered nurses are employed in a variety of roles. They provide care to people who need medical assistance, asses the needs of patients and coordinate care plans in conjunction with other medical staff. They also answer questions for patients and their families as well as monitoring patient progress. Registered nurses must keep accurate records, oversee junior health staff such as enrolled nurses, and schedule follow-up appointments or treatments.


  • Assessment and coordination of patient needs
  • Provision of healthcare to patients
  • Supervision of enrolled nurses and other junior staff
  • Maintaining patient records
  • Liaison with other medical professionals

Being a registered nurse: skills for success

Excellent people skills and the ability to effectively work with people from all walks of life is essential to be a registered nurse. Registered nurses need to work well under pressure and to manage competing priorities at the same time. Effective communication skills, both verbally and in writing are also necessary. Registered nurses need to have a comprehensive understanding of healthcare issues and treatment options and must ensure their knowledge is current.
  • Empathy and tact
  • Ability to multi-task
  • Good verbal and written communication skills
  • Understanding of healthcare issues and treatment best practises

Specialised roles within nursing

Registered nurses can specialise in a number of different streams. Through both their formal education and practical skills acquired on the job, registered nurses have a variety of opportunities available to them if they want to hone their skills. This can include specialising in a particular field of healthcare, becoming a nurse practitioner or moving into a management role.
  • Specialist Registered Nurse
    As their careers evolve, many registered nurses opt to specialise in a particular area of healthcare. These areas can include maternity, disability, mental health, public health services and surgery. These nurses become subject matter experts in particular health issues and their treatments.
  • Nurse Practitioner
    A nurse practitioner is a registered nurse who undertakes further training to gain an extra level of understanding of healthcare issues and treatments. They are able to prescribe medication and order various medical diagnostic tests that otherwise would require a patient to see a doctor.
  • Healthcare Manager
    Because they gain an extensive understanding of the operation of Australia’s healthcare system, registered nurses can often make excellent healthcare managers. This can include heading hospital departments, running public health education services or managing a doctor’s surgery. Healthcare managers are responsible for budgets, staff management, advertising and promotions as well as contract and asset management.

Educational pathways for nurses

Registered nurses in Australia need to complete a Bachelor of Nursing degree. This can be done either via direct entry or after successful completion of a Diploma of Nursing.
  • Start your career
    A short course might be a good option if you want to find out more about working as a nurse before committing to a degree.
  • Strengthen your skills
    Learn more about wider issues affecting healthcare services in Australia, or perhaps try a business administration qualification for medical professionals.
  • Build your resume
    Find courses to help you progress your nursing career into healthcare management or to become a specialist in a particular field.
  • Industry requirements
    In Australia, registered nurses must be registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of 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
    It is expected that the nursing profession will continue to grow into the future. Positions are available at almost every location in Australia, and the pay tends to be slightly above average.

Resources for Registered nurses

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