What do Registered Nurses do?
Registered Nurses (RN’s) support doctors and patients by providing high-level care to patients in hospitals, aged care and other facilities, even within the community.
If you’re caring, compassionate as well as level-headed and practical, then nursing could be a rewarding career to consider.
- You’ll need to be patient, empathetic and professional at all times – even under pressure; as well as an excellent team player
- An effective communicator with patients and colleagues, both orally and written
- Attention to detail is essential, as is the ability to prioritise, be a critical thinker, and have the willingness to keep learning
- Observe and record patients progress, perform diagnostic tests and administer medication
- Reassure and explain to patients and their families the treatments and procedures
- Coordinate activities that could help patients to feel better, working with other health care professionals to achieve the best outcome for individuals
- Prepare patients for further examinations, testing or surgery, assist in operations and post-operative care
- Maintain and update patient and hospital records accurately and promptly
- Help or supervise other nursing staff
Lifestyle Impact: High
- Part Time opportunities: High (50% RN’s work part time – Source: joboutlook.gov.au)
- Below average hours for full-time workers (average 41 per week)
- Registered Nurse salary (average) *$77,920 per year (Source: indeed.com) *Salary varies between states, level of experience, part / full time hours, there is also potential for overtime.
- Future career growth: Strong (Source: joboutlook.gov.au)
- Working from home is not an option, levels of responsibility and stress may be high, shift work could also be consideration. There are opportunities for promotion, career changes, flexible hours and choice of location.
Registered Nurses are most in demand in these locations:
Australia wide, with the majority of jobs advertised in NSW, VIC and QLD.
As an RN you could probably choose any location in Australia to look for work as they are so in demand, there could also be overseas opportunities. Nurses work in a huge variety of settings, from hospitals (in every department), schools and GP surgeries, to community services, the tourism industry and more.
How to become a Registered Nurse in Australia
You’ll need to obtain a relevant qualification (at least a Bachelor’s Degree) and be registered to practise.
Step 1 – Successfully complete Year 12 – English and Maths are essential. One of biology, chemistry or physics are often prerequisites for nursing degrees too. Other useful subjects to consider include social studies and psychology.
Step 2 – Work experience could help to decide if healthcare is the right career for you and look good on your degree applications.
You could look for work experience in aged care, pharmacies, GP’s, community health clinics and hospitals in a variety of departments. There are also programs in Australia and projects abroad to look into, (these will probably have a fee attached).
Step 3 – Find and complete a degree that will give you the right qualifications. For example:
Or complete any undergraduate degree then achieve your Master of Nursing (check that your chosen undergraduate degree will meet the entry requirements).
Step 4 – Apply to the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA), for a license to practise as a Registered Nurse.
Step 5 – Get a few years of experience then move into a more specialised role, transfer into the medical administrative sector, or apply to become a nurse unit manager.
Find out more here –
Similar Careers to Registered Nurse
Tele Health Nursing
Find out more about alternative careers.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
Do I need qualifications to become a Registered Nurse?
Yes, you will need to be qualified – minimum Bachelor’s degree in nursing – and registered to work as an RN. You should also check with the state or territory where you’ll be working about any other requirements.
Where do Registered Nurses work?
Nurses can work in hospitals, GP’s, schools, in the community (visiting people’s houses or working in clinics), courts of law as forensic nurses, war zones and military bases, prisons, in teaching or training environments, on cruise ships and at resorts, and may even in publication houses as writers and reporters.
How long will it take to qualify as a Registered Nurse?
Usually it takes a minimum of three years to become an RN, but it could take longer if you take a different pathway, e.g. 5 years if you complete a related undergraduate degree (3 years) then a postgraduate nursing degree (2 years).
What is the difference between and Enrolled Nurse (EN) and a Registered Nurse (RN)?
EN’s are only required to complete a Diploma (2 years) not a Bachelor’s Degree, the job comes with less responsibility than an RN’s role – so an EN won’t have to supervise other nurses, undertake complex patient’s care, administer medications or carry out some diagnostic tests.