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How to become an assistant in nursing in Australia: careers in nursing

An Assistant in Nursing (AIN) provides patient support services to registered nurses (RN) and enrolled nurses (EN) in general patient care settings. They ensure the daily needs of patients are being met while they are in the health care system. AINs are also responsible for relaying patient enquiries to RNs, ensuring patient data is recorded and reporting patient conditions to RNs as required.
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Being an assistant in nursing: daily duties

AINs are perform a wide variety of tasks, depending on the healthcare setting they are working in. In general, they assist patients with meals, including feeding those who cannot feed themselves. They help with basic hygiene including bed washing. They record patient information on charts, and advise the RN of any abnormalities or changes in the patient’s condition.


  • Implementing infection control standards
  • Making beds
  • Cleaning equipment
  • Attending to simple dressings
  • Assist with basic care needs of patients

Being an assistant in nursing: skills for success

Assistants in nursing deal with senior medical staff, patients and their families on a daily basis and therefore require effective communication skills. They need to be discrete, diplomatic and compassionate, especially as they have to assist patients with functions such as bathing and toileting. Nursing is not a career for someone who is squeamish – they must be able to be around blood and other bodily fluids. This can be a physically demanding role requiring a lot of time spent on one’s feet. Being able to cope with shift work, including nights, weekends and holidays is important.
  • Patience and empathy
  • Able to follow instructions
  • Observant and active
  • Discrete
  • Able to accurately document information

Specialised roles within nursing

AIN roles are often the starting point for many nurses’ careers, allowing them to gain valuable experience in health care before undertaking further study. These are some of the pathways AINs can take to further their careers.
  • Aged care worker
    Many elderly patients require around the clock are and help with daily tasks. This career requires sensitivity and patience.
  • Enrolled nurse
    Enrolled nurses (EN) must complete a two-year nursing diploma. They work under the direct or indirect supervision of a registered nurse in a variety of healthcare settings.
  • Registered nurse
    Registered nurses (RN) must complete a three-year nursing degree and then register with their state’s nursing board on graduation. They man pursue a specialisation after gaining experience.

Educational pathways for assistants in nursing

The nursing profession has a number of opportunities from entry-level roles through to specialised study for those pursuing high-level roles in the healthcare system.
  • Start your career
    Take a vocational course that will allow you to join the nursing profession in an entry-level role.
  • Strengthen your skills
    Study for career advancement by qualifying as a registered nurse or pursue a career specialisation.
  • Build your resume
    Find a study option that enables you to pursue high-level employment options.
  • Industry requirements
    The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia governs Assistants in Nursing. The professional licencing requirements will vary depending on your state.
  • 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
    Professional opportunities in nursing are available at all levels, and assistants in nursing are in high demand. This trend is expected to continue into the future due to pressures on the health system Australia is facing from an ageing population.

Resources for Nurses

Career FAQs makes every effort to ensure the information we provide is correct at the time of publication. We welcome your input to help keep our career profiles as accurate and up to date as possible. All queries and feedback will be taken into consideration as we conduct periodic reviews of our content. Add your voice to the conversation!

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