From an entry-level nursing certificate to a Masters in Nursing, there are options for you to find the right career path or specialization.
Nursing is a profession that will always have demand, it allows you to grow, change, and adapt. A universally recognized degree, giving you the flexibility to travel and work overseas in the nursing field.
What skills does a nurse require?
A good nurse should be passionate about helping others, understand science and be able to think critically through complex scenarios. You’ll be culturally aware and have excellent communication skills.
In Australia, nursing could be different to in your home country. There are opportunities to work rurally or with Aboriginal communities. In general, although drug names may be different, education levels, expected work week hours and employment options are the same. RN to patient ratios in Australia are about 1:4.
Where can my nursing degree take me?
From birth to old age and every physical change in between, nursing is required and gives you freedom to find what you enjoy.
- Helping women manage their pregnancy, providing support and expert knowledge throughout pregnancy, labour, birth, and for a few weeks post-partum.
- diet and exercise advice while pregnant
- one to one care during labour.
- Medical nurse – hospital:
- Assisting doctors and planning nursing care requirements for patients
- administering medication
- providing care pre and post operation
- managing the day to day needs of patients
- Emergency care nurse:
- Triage incoming patients
- Stabilize patients as required
- Administer drugs as per doctor orders
- Perform IV placements, set broken bones, perform intubations, give stitches
- Create and maintain patient records
- Mental health nurse:
- Visiting patients at home
- Building a relationship and talking with patients
- Assisting families as required to help the patient
- Administering medication
- Public health nurse:
- Promotion of health
- Prevention of illness in the community
- Advising elderly on healthy aging practices
- Child and family health in the community
- Community development
- Oncology nurse:
- Direct patient care for those suffering from cancer
- Patient education on side effects of treatment
- Administering medication as per oncologist directives
- Patient assessment throughout chemotherapy
- Co-ordinating patient care
- Paediatric nurse:
- Provide care for children from birth to teens
- Advise families and assist with concerns
- Identify changes in symptoms and intervene as required
- Pain management
- Administer medication as prescribed
- Evaluate signs and symptoms of abuse
- Aged care nurse:
- Administration of medications
- Patient and family education and support
- Infection control and prevention
- Assisting with day to day needs such as changing sheets, feeding the patient
- Palliative and pain management
- Critical care nurse:
- Help to assess condition of patient
- Treat injuries and prevent further injury while in care
- Assisting doctors as required
- Checking ventilators and other monitors are working correctly
- Providing IV fluids as directed
- Recording and analysis of patient vital signs
What course should I study for my desired outcome?
Certificate 3 in Nursing: This six month TAFE qualification gives you the entry-level qualification to become a:
- Nursing assistant
- Patient care attendant
- Nursing support worker
This roles sees you assisting in nursing work, offering valuable support to other healthcare workers. You’ll learn to work with a variety of different people, and can work in hospitals, community care centres, private practices and aged care facilities.
Certificate 4 in Nursing: An introductory six month preparatory course for nursing, this qualification equips you with knowledge of the human body and health. This course gives you the skills to meet the entry requirements for the Diploma of Nursing but does not qualify you to work in any role.
Diploma of Nursing: This two year course qualifies you to become an enrolled nurse. This degree gives all the foundational knowledge to work as a nurse in Australia. This includes medication, infection, biology and physiology, IV injections and general nursing.
Bachelor of Nursing: This intensive three year course includes clinical placements and on-the-job experience. After completing this degree, you’ll have the knowledge, ethical understanding and skills to become a registered nurse in Australia.
The Bachelor of Nursing allows you to come a registered nurse, while the Diploma of Nursing only means you’re an enrolled nurse. An EN works under an RN and takes on care duties. An RN can administer medicines, undertake patient assessments, and has many more responsibilities than an EN.
Postgraduate studies: Choose your specialization. Choose from graduate certificates or diplomas, which can be credited towards your master’s degree. Alternatively, you can aim for a master’s degree. Choose from an array of subjects, including:
- Advanced nursing practice
- Cancer and haematology nursing
- Emergency nursing
- Intensive care nursing
- Master of Nursing (Nurse Practitioner)
- Mental health nursing
- Primary health care nursing
Overseas nurse conversion program
If you have qualified as a nurse overseas, your qualification may be accepted in Australia without the need for further training depending on where you obtained your degree and your work experience.
You must meet the standards of the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and (NMBA) Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia. Your application has five criteria.
1. Identity proof
This proof includes the biodata page from your current passport, any documentation about a name change, and a recent passport sized photograph.
2. English language skills
You need to prove your English language capabilities. Refer to the university website’s entry requirements, as it could have changed, however below is a rough guide.
IELTS – Lowest of score of seven across listening, speaking, writing, and reading.
OET –Lowest score of B in listening, speaking, writing, and reading.
PTE –Lowest overall score of 65 AND a minimum score of 65 in each of the four communicative skills - listening, speaking, writing, and reading.
TOEFL iBT –Lowest score of 94 and at minimum the following scores: 24 listening, 23 speaking, 27 writing, and 24 reading.
3. Meet Australia’s nursing levels
If you are from New Zealand, Canada, Hong Kong, the UK, Ireland and USA, your bachelor’s degree or above is accepted as an equivalent degree.
Qualifications from Chile, PNG, Belgium Flanders, Pakistan or Singapore, your degree may meet the requirements for accreditation in Australia.
Nurses originating from all other countries will require an assessment to ensure their experiences and qualifications meet Australian guidelines. Qualification proof and transcripts must be supplied by all applicants.
4. Standards of professional practice
You need to provide written proof of employment as a nurse/ midwife for the prior five years. This must be printed on official organisational letterhead, be from a qualified nurse who was your direct supervisor, be dated and have an official signature.
5. Demonstrate you are capable of practicing in Australia
You need to prove there were no disciplinary proceedings taken against you in previous roles, there were no restrictions on your practice for any mental or physical incapacity, and that you have a clean criminal record.
If you meet this criteria, you can submit your application to register with AHPRA, and from there can apply for a visa.
Steps to re-train as a nurse in Australia
If you do not meet these requirements, contact IDP to discuss the options available to you. You can retrain completely if required. You can consider the training visa 407 that allows you to take a bridging program to improve relevant skills to allow you to meet Australia’s criteria.
Australian nursing visas to apply for
If you can secure employment with an organization in Australia, then a permanent Employer Nomination Scheme visa, Temporary Skill Shortage Visa, or permanent Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme visa is appropriate.
If you do not have employment secured, apply under the General Skilled Migration (GSM) visa.
Other things to be aware of
Starting your career in a new country does come with challenges. The procedures and strategies Australian nurses use could be very different from your home country.
Take time to listen and learn as much as possible and acclimatise to the differences. It could be overwhelming, especially if the language is different to what you’re used to, and the procedures are new.
You may also need a working with children check before starting at your new role. This simply ensures you have no inappropriate criminal history and are safe to work with at-risk children.
Speak to ACEM for the right nursing course and career information. We understand the education system and the process to get you where you want to be.