The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS, 2011) reported that 33% of nurses in Australia were born overseas. The top five countries of origin of Australian nurses born overseas were the United Kingdom (UK), India, Malaysia, China and New Zealand.
Nurses who are qualified in their home country have the opportunity to migrate to Australia and transfer their qualifications through courses such as Initial Registration of Overseas Nurses (IRON) programs. As of last year over 2000 nurses have done so through IHNA’s IRON program alone and almost all have successfully gained employment as nurses in Australia.
Enrolled Nurses in Australia: You can be one too
There are also significant opportunities for people who are not yet qualified in their home country to become nurses in Australia. The quickest and simplest pathway is to enroll directly in a qualification leading to nurse registration, such as a Diploma of Nursing (Enrolled-Division 2 Nursing) as an international student. For a course to be eligible to accept international students (also known as overseas students) it must be CRICOS approved. Diploma level qualifications allow international students to become qualified to work as Enrolled Nurses (Division 2) within two years and flexible study options allow students to work whilst undertaking their studies. Enrolled nurses are in high demand in Australia. According to the Australian Government Department of Education and Training (2015), 93.2% of graduates from a Diploma of Nursing (Enrolled-Division 2 nursing) were either employed or undertaking further study and 91.2% indicated that they had achieved their main reason for undertaking the course. Enrolled nursing qualifications can be upgraded to Registered Nurse (RN) qualifications through course articulation and advanced standing partnerships between institutes and universities. They can also be upgraded to Advanced Diploma level, which helps to increase employability and career outcomes.
Those who wish to work in a nursing or healthcare relate field whilst undertaking a course leading to registration as a nurse in Australia can undertake an online qualification such as a Certificate III in Health Service Assistance or Certificate III in Individual Support (Aging and Disability) first. These are much shorter courses, but lead to high levels of employability as well as exciting and varied roles in their own right. By undertaking these courses and working in a hospital, aged care, disability support or other healthcare setting, nursing students can ensure that they are extremely well prepared for the role of Enrolled Nurse (EN) by the time they graduate. A certificate in a nursing related field will often provide unit of study exemptions and advanced standing when entering a Diploma or higher qualification.
Related Blog: Demand for Overseas Nurses in Australia