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How to become a nurse in Australia: A step-by-step guide!

Table of Contents

Are you planning to start a career in the health field and want to know how to become a nurse in Australia? If so, our step-by-step guide will give you all the information you need to become a qualified professional in the sector!

Step 1 – Understanding what is nursing in Australia

Types of Nursing

First of all, is important to know the type of nurse you want to become. There are many types of nursing that are different between them. 

You may opt to become an enrolled nurse (EN), a registered nurse (RN), a midwife, or even an Endorsed Enrolled Nurse(EEN).

Enrolled nurses normally operate under the supervision of a Registered Nurse, according to the rules of the Nursing & Midwifery Board of Australia. 

A Registered Nurse (RN) may perform additional tasks such as drug administration. This type of nurse also performs many other duties that we will discuss below.

On top of these, there are also many other nursing specializations that we will discuss below!

What is a Registered Nurse (RN) in Australia ?

A Registered Nurse (RN) is a professional who is registered and licensed to practice as a nurse in Australia with the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (NRAS).

These nurses work with medical practitioners. Also, they are the first point of contact for patients that need treatment or assistance for health conditions.

As a result of the increasing aging population in Australia, the career of nurse has many job openings. A registered nurse receives an average annual salary of $65000 in Australia.

Duties of a Registered Nurse in Australia

A Registered Nurse generally has more responsibilities than Enrolled Nurses (EN). Some of these may include:

  • Conduct a detailed medical review;
  • Create a nursing care strategy with the help of the team and measure its results;
  • Provide holistic care and emotional and moral assistance;
  • Administer drugs and determine the results;
  • Work in a critical and complex environment;
  • Act as an advocate for patients;
  • Supervise and mentors EN’s and junior RN’s;
  • Participate in workplace health and safety programs to promote a healthy working atmosphere for employees, families, and customers.
  • Keeping a safe and clean workplace;
  • Take part in personal and professional development;

What is an Enrolled Nurse (EN) in Australia?

An Enrolled Nurse provides nursing care under the supervision of a Registered Nurse (RN).

You can become an Enrolled Nurse (EN) after studying for a Diploma in Nursing or a Certificate IV in Nursing. These courses generally take 18 to 24 months to complete. This can be an option if you want to save time since a degree will take you up to 3 years to complete.

Duties of an Enrolled Nurse in Australia

As mentioned before, Enrolled Nurses will be supervised by a registered nurse. Some of the duties for this profession are:

  • Observe patients and measure and record any changes in temperature, heartbeat, blood pressure, ventilation, blood sugar levels;
  • Helping patients to wash and shower, dress, and with personal grooming;
  • Help people in recovery plans by feeding them and giving personal care.
  • Help in general and medical first aid.
  • Encourage patients to lead a healthier lifestyle and advise them.
  • Ensure that there is protection in the workplace.

Career Opportunities as an Enrolled Nurse in Australia

ENs have many career opportunities and will work in a variety of environments. For that reason, you will have the chance to travel and work in numerous fields and places.

By completing a Bachelor of Nursing, ENs will then become RNs, which is an ideal choice for those who are trying to progress their profession. In this transition, the training you obtain as an EN will be invaluable. Also, by studying and working as an EN, you are likely to earn credits for the Bachelors of Nursing.

Why become a nurse in Australia?

Being a registered nurse offers many benefits in Australia:

Nurses are in demand in Australia

There will always be a demand for nurses in Australia. Also, on a global scale, as the world’s population continues to grow, the need for nurses with experience will escalate even more over the next 10-15 years! For this reason, starting a career as a nurse can be a great thing to do.

The elderly now live longer than ever before, raising the need for trained nurses to increase patient satisfaction, improve the quality of life and provide better levels of treatment, especially in rural and remote areas.

No age Restrictions to the nursing career

It is never too late if you want to be a nurse in Australia. It can be a second profession, and many companies value nurses who are new to the job with previous work experience in other areas.

There are many fast-track courses that will help you speed up your way into a job as a nurse. 

Exceptional work conditions

Are you looking for a work environment that has more in common with your personal preferences? Then Australia could be the place for you!

In fact, this industry strongly takes into account your work satisfaction. From shorter shift lengths and better wages to better overtime and penalty rates, being a nurse in Australia is a great choice for people in this field.

Probability of career progression

If you’re actually working in a position where the bulk of your days are monotonous, moving to Australia might be the adventure you are looking for.

For example, in metropolitan or rural areas where services are scarce, you may have to help in busy medical centers. This can give you the work experience needed to progress easily in your career anywhere ariund the country.

Salary

Your salary can be higher or lower considering how much experience you have or if you are specializing in a field. The average registered nurse makes around $75,000 a year in Australia. Also, graduate positions start at $60,000 a year.

Also, nursing pay can vary from state to state, with the highest salary usually received by QLD nurses.

Step 2 – Study a Qualification in nursing 

Why studying to become a nurse in Australia

Studying how to become a nurse in Australia is an opportunity to find a profession that is rewarding and can also help you migrate to this country. 

Also, as said before, Healthcare is one of the fastest-growing employment sectors in Australia. Considering Australia’s aging population, the need for healthcare services will continue to grow.

For that reason, there are many job and growth opportunities in this field! 

Nursing courses in Australia 

Certificate IV in Nursing / Diploma in Nursing

If you are one of those aspiring nursing students who choose not to wait three years to get into nursing, you can become an enrolled nurse in 12 to 18 months by studying the Certificate IV Nursing or Diploma in Nursing.

In fact, the Diploma course will teach you the basic skills and experience necessary to become an Enrolled Nurse.

You may be qualified to work in a number of environments with these courses. That goes to say that if you want, you can also choose to study to complete a Bachelor in Nursing in the future.

Entry Requirements

The admission requirements for a Diploma in Nursing generally can be different from institution to institution, but they normally include:

Bachelor in Nursing

In a normal schedule, The Bachelor of Nursing is 3 years long, full-time.

You can complete the degree in 2 years, including clinical work placements, by fast-tracking your studies.

Also, you can take your own time and study for this degree part-time. This can allow you to determine how much time you can devote to learning each term (depending on subject delivery).

You will generally study on campus, face to face, with only some units online.

You’ll also complete 840 hours of clinical training in a variety of health care environments through educational placements.

Entry requirements:

Master of Nursing

The Master of Nursing is for you if you are ready for postgraduate studies and want the qualification to train you for career advancement in your chosen field. Specifically, this course will give you training in a clinical or research environment.

For that reason, this course will be perfect for people who choose to work in a wide variety of specializations and health care fields.

Master of Nursing Science

A Master of Science in Nursing is an advanced-level postgraduate degree for registered nurses and is considered an entry-level degree for nurse educators and managers.

Also, this degree may prepare a nurse to pursue a career as a nurse administrator, health policy expert, or lead clinical nurse.

Master of Nursing Practice

The Master of Nursing Practice will help you become a highly skilled healthcare professional, preparing you for a career.

The program builds on your previous knowledge and skills, enabling you to develop professional nursing practice through interaction with professional clinical nurses, contemporary theory of nursing, and practical experience.

Master’s Entry Requirements

Each type of master’s degree will have specific entry requirements. But generally speaking, to study this course you will need a higher degree in nursing or equivalent qualification.

Best Institutions to study Nursing in Australia

Griffith University

The Griffith nursing degree is a new, comprehensive curriculum taught at Australia’s No. 1 ranking university for Nursing and Midwifery. This course is also ranked the second-best in the world.

The university promotes learning in and out of the classroom and provides hands-on experience through work placements in community health organisations and hospitals.

This qualification has a duration of 3 years.

You will find more info in this link

The University of Queensland

The Bachelor of Nursing from UQ is a valued and groundbreaking program built in collaboration with experts in healthcare. It needs a learning approach focused on narration and questioning and combines lecture-based research with clinical placements in major hospitals.

Find more info on this link

University of Technology Sydney

The UTS Bachelor of Nursing course prepares students for the exciting and challenging role of a Registered Nurse.

Graduates from this course are working in a number of professional environments, such as general practice, community health, emergency care, intensive care, elderly care, mental health, surgical, and pediatrics. This course has a duration of 3 years and you can find more info about it on this link.

Monash University

Due to the standard of practical training and clinical experience they earn, Monash Nursing graduates are working all around the world. In other words, the Bachelor of Nursing will give you the experience and professional expertise needed to deliver high-quality nursing care.

This course has a duration of 3 years and you can find more info about it on this link.

Deakin University

In order to become a professional and effective registered nurse, Deakin’s Bachelor of Nursing offers you the skills, training, and ethical understanding you will need to enter a profession where you can make a real difference.

This course has a duration of 3 years full time and you can find more info in this link.

Step 3 – Enroll with AHPRA After graduation

If you have graduated as an Registered Nurse or an Enrolled Nurse, you must also register with the Australian Health Practitioners Protection Agency (AHPRA).

You must follow the standards set by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) and be licensed with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Authority (AHPRA) in order to practice as a nurse in Australia. 

AHPRA is an agency that, on behalf of the NMBA, assesses also foreign applications and is responsible for the introduction in Australia of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (NRAS).

Also, you can visit this link to find more information about the registration process for nurses in Australia, or contact our team.

Step 4 – Find work as a Nurse in Australia

Positions in nursing

Registered Midwives

Registered Midwives are registered health practitioners who have earned the right credentials for midwifery work. They work with women during conception, labour, delivery and the postnatal period to provide the required support, treatment and guidance.

They are skilled in the birthing phase and are capable of coping with any harmful condition, including, if possible, obtaining medical assistance. In the absence of medical support, they may also initiate emergency operations to provide treatment for a premature child.

Registered Midwives advise mothers, families and the community and offer health counseling.

Nurse Researchers

If you are one of those aspiring nursing students who choose not to wait three years to get into nursing, you will become an enrolled nurse in 12 to 18 months by taking the IV Nursing Degree or Diploma in Nursing.

The Diploma course will teach you the basic skills and experience necessary for a Licensed Nurse to operate. You may be qualified to work in a number of nursing environments with this course, and/or you can choose to study to complete a Bachelor in Nursing.

Find out more about Nurse Researchers’ prospects and pathways

Specialized Nurses

Registered nurses can also specialize and work in many fields depending on their choice and studies. These types of nurses hold the same roles and responsibilities as registered nurses.

The distinction is that they will have generally conducted further studies in a specialized area and have worked for a number of years in that field.

This type of nurse is also the reference person for other registered nurses in their workplace due to the additional education as well as teamwork, experience, and management skills.

Primarily, the main sub-categories of this profession will include:

Registered nurse (Mental Health)

Mental Healthcare Registered nurses are professionally trained nurses who can work in advanced assessment and care of mental health problems independently and collaboratively. 

Registered Nurses (Aged Care)

This type of nurse provide give nursing care for the elderly in community settings, institutional aged care services, retirement villages and health care centers.

Registered Nurses (Disability and Rehabilitation)

This type of nurse provides nursing care for patients that suffered accidents or have disabilities, promoting a more independent life for these patients.

Registered nurse (Perioperative)

Nurses with a specialization in this field provide nursing care to patients before, and directly after surgery. The tasks can include help determine the status of patients, prepare nursing care for surgical operation, and more. 

Registered nurse (Surgical)

This type of nurse provide care to patients with injuries and illness that require surgical intervention. 

Registered nurses (Paediatrics)

This type of nurse have the requisite specialized expertise and professional experience for the treatment of newborns, babies and children in a number of hospital environments, including intensive care units and nurseries for special care.

Working as a nurse in Australia

Ensure that you are familiar with the key selection criteria when applying for an advertised position.

In an interview, you will be generally asked how would you act in realistic scenarios. You will have to demonstrate problem-solving skills, how you cope with real time issues, teamwork, and leadership skills. You may be also asked any interpersonal questions.

Recruiters will also be interested in learning about your qualifications and experience to ensure that you are the proper candidate for the job. 

Nursing in Australia – Timeline of Primary Planning

  • 12 months of realistic, paying work experience is required (1,983 hours minimum)
  • Registration with AHPRA – 6 months (up to)
  • 14-30 days for a police clearance

What is the easiest way to format your CV for nursing workers in Australia?

To apply for work as a nurse in Australia, you’ll require a C.V. or resume, much like every other career application. The more you are trained, the more chance you have of easily seeking jobs and securing your ideal job.


Consider the layout of the C.V. by placing the most recent positions first rather than beginning from the first job you ever worked at. Also, It’s a smart idea to include a concise cover letter or personal statement that summarizes your credentials, personal attributes, and other defining characteristics. Know, there are probably hundreds of applicants for managers and recruiting agents to look through and they all search for highlights that classify the most likely to be hired and placed in jobs successfully.

Also, another incredibly important thing to note about writing your C.V. for your work application in Australia is to correct your grammar and spelling. For that reason, ask a friend or colleague that has a good English level to review it.

You can find information on how to create your CV read our guide with 10 steps that you can take to find a job a student in Australia

Where to apply for nurse positions in Australia and when to do so.

Registering with a recruiting agency is one of the easiest places to pursue working holiday employment for nurses in Australia. You will be allowed to work selected hours and work as much as you want, or at selected times around the world, by working for an agency. Bower YNA has relationships with hospitals all over Australia and will support you and your visiting nurse friends and colleagues in seeking jobs in all of Australia’s major cities, as well as metropolitan and rural areas.

In conclusion, even though it may sound a complex process at first, by following this step-by-step guide on how to become a nurse in Australia, you are guaranteed to succeed.

If you are interested in studying nursing in Australia and need guidance on finding and applying for a course, make sure to contact our team!

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