Registered Nurses may be the most sought-after healthcare position not only in Australia but also worldwide, as the demand for skilled and experienced Registered Nurses (RNs) far outweighs the supply. This increasing demand for Registered Nurses (RNs) is fuelled by multiple factors – among them is a sharp increase in the numbers of the ageing population and a far greater need for chronic care and acute care management. If you are interested in a career as a Registered Nurse (RN) in Australia, then this is certainly the best time to step into this field.
Over the past decade, Australia’s health industry has achieved a reputation for world-class technology, medical innovation, high-quality professional competence and a robust research and development system. Registered nursing in Australia has become one of the most dynamic and evolving areas of nursing, and RNs are listed as one of 15 recognised healthcare professions (AHPRA 2018).
What does it mean to be an RN?
Registered Nurses (RNs) work as part of a multidisciplinary team alongside other skilled professionals including doctors, surgeons, physiotherapists, specialty nurses, therapists and others to provide ongoing patient care. They play a versatile role and may be responsible for coordinating activities that promote patient wellness. Some of your duties would include observing and recording patient behaviour, performing diagnostic tests, administering medication and establishing treatment plans. You will also be required to prep patients for examinations, assist in operations and post-operative care, update and maintain medical records and help in the treatment of medical emergencies.
As a Registered Nurse (RN), you can choose to study further in a specialty that interests you such as:
- Rural and Remote
- Intensive Care
- Aged Care
- Community Health
- Surgical Nursing
- Aboriginal Health
- Mental Health
- Medical Nursing
Registered Nurses could also choose to specialise in health administration, education and the research field.
How to become a Registered Nurse in Australia?
To become a Registered Nurse in Australia you need to complete a 3-year Bachelor of Nursing, which is available at most Australian universities. In order to apply, you have to be over 17 years of age or should have completed your HSC with an appropriate Universities Admission Index (UAI).
There are many universities that offer 3-years, full-time Bachelor of Nursing courses or the equivalent part-time Registered Nurse courses, and the specific curriculums can vary slightly between universities. All of these Registered Nurse courses will provide a blend of theory and nursing clinical experience in various settings, and give you experience working in medical and surgical wards, operating theatres, emergency departments, community care, intensive care units, mental health units, and aged care facilities, among others.
During the course of your studies, you can practice your clinical skills in simulation laboratories on specially constructed mannequins, under the guidance of experienced university educators. Registered Nurse (RN) students are exposed to a broad range of clinical areas and settings— so that you can get a better chance to discover what area of nursing you like the best and can explore this field further.
After you complete your Registered Nurse course, you have to apply to the AHPRA (Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency) to practice as a Registered Nurse.
What If I Can’t Get Into University To Become Registered Nurse?
Some people in some cases are unable to get accepted into university but there are always alternative solutions. You can start by studying the HLT54115 – Diploma of Nursing, which is a 102 weeks course which is the first step to become an Enrolled Nurse in Australia. The Institute of Health and Nursing Australia delivers this course in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney, you can visit the HLT54115 – Diploma of Nursing course page here. After completing this program, you can get a pathway to further your nursing studies into bachelors through Latrobe University, or you could get an advanced standing into the Bachelors of Science (Nursing) with Edith Cowan University (ECU), take a look the available pathways IHNA offers to students here.