You’re good with people and want to make a real difference in your work. Build an in-demand skillset for a profession working with people and study a rewarding nursing course.

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Meet the most urgent demands of the Australian health system while building your career by studying a course in nursing. With an ageing population placing increasing pressure on the health care system, skilled professionals are in high demand, and a unique opportunity exists for you to start building a rewarding and dynamic career in an ever-changing industry.

Filling a key role in health care provision, nurses provide care to patients in hospitals, aged care and other facilities, and in the community, working closely with doctors, nursing practitioners and other health care professionals to provide extensive care and support. Fast-paced and people-focused, nursing courses suit people who want to make a difference and who thrive when challenged.

In a nursing course, you’ll learn the foundations of physical, biological and behavioural sciences related to health, and build the practical skills required to work in a hospital, clinic, community or other setting.

You may study a nursing course as a bachelor’s or master’s degree, and qualify to work as a registered nurse. You may also complete a Certificate IV or a diploma course to work as an enrolled nurse. After graduating, you’ll need to register with the Nursing & Midwifery Board of Australia to guarantee the standard of care your training and experience can provide.

An industry affected by rapidly changing technology, nursing is one of the most dynamic and fastest growing fields in Australia, and offers a rewarding and exciting career opportunity.

What do nurses do?

 As a nurse, you can expect to work closely with patients and other medical professionals, in either a hospital or medical practice setting. You can choose to complete a qualification to work either as an enrolled nurse or a registered nurse, which will affect your daily responsibilities, duration of study and earning capacity.

Registered nurses complete longer training and may take on more responsibility in the workplace. You may study to be a registered nurse by taking either a Bachelor of Nursing or a Master of Nursing degree. By taking a Diploma of Nursing or a Certificate IV in Nursing you can qualify as a nurse more quickly, and will work as an enrolled nurse.

As an enrolled nurse, you might perform tasks like:

  • Conducting observations of patients;
  • Administering simple treatments and medicines;
  • Performing daily tasks for patients including assisting with bathing and feeding; and
  • Working within a health care team to provide support to a patient and their family.

As a registered nurse, you’ll be more involved with the planning and evaluation of a patient’s overall care. Your responsibilities will vary depending on your setting, but you can expect to perform tasks like:

  • Assessing, planning, implementing and evaluating nursing care for patients, including performing minor procedures and diagnostic tests;
  • Working in consultation with other health professionals to coordinate holistic patient care;
  • Providing interventions, treatments and therapies, including administering medicine and consulting to patients;
  • Monitoring patients’ responses to care plans;
  • Promoting health and health education to patients;
  • Liaising with patients’ families, including providing information and answering questions about patient care;
  • Working within a healthcare team to ensure nursing standards are being met;
  • Evaluating and implementing nursing practises and standards; and
  • Supervising and mentoring other nurses and providing judgement and advice.

Is nursing right for you?

You’ll thrive working in nursing if you:

  • Want to help people in your work
  • Are empathetic and patient
  • Can work well under pressure
  • Care deeply about other people
  • Have excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • Have excellent organisational and time management skills
  • Can work well in a team
  • Are a critical thinker and can make decisions
  • Want to make a real different to someone else’s life

Job opportunities

Demand on Australia’s health care system is increasing. As a result, qualified nurses can expect to find strong demand for their skills. The Australian Government’s Job Outlook reports that employment opportunities in nursing have been growing strongly in size for the past decade, and predicts that growth will continue until at least 2020. Currently, approximately 257,400 people are employed as nurses in Australia, and the sector will grow by approximately 20 per cent to employ approximately 308,800 people by 2020. Job Outlook considers this growth in job opportunities to be very strong.

Average salaries

PayScale reports that registered nurses may expect to earn a salary between $38,000 and $81,000 per year, with an average industry salary of approximately $64,000 per year. While earning capacity rises in line with experience, PayScale notes that entry-level workers can expect to earn competitive salaries, with registered nurses with less than five years’ experience earning on average approximately $60,000 per year.

 Industry bodies