How to become a Nurse - Registered

Registered nurses assess, plan, provide and evaluate preventative, curative and rehabilitative care for patients, clients and residents in a wide variety of settings. Areas of specialist nursing practice include emergency, trauma nursing, mental health, aged care, cancer/oncology, critical care, perioperative, community health, rural and remote health, as well as policy, research, management, education and workplace health and safety.

Personal requirements of a Nurse - Registered

  • Good communication skills
  • Able to assume responsibility and a leadership role
  • Able to take initiative in emergencies
  • Tolerant, patient and tactful in dealing with people from a wide range of backgrounds and cultures
  • Able to work both independently and as part of a team
  • Able to cope with the physical demands and psychological aspects of the job

Education & Training for a Nurse - Registered

To become a registered nurse you usually have to study nursing at university. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English, mathematics, biology, physics and chemistry are normally required. Applicants may also be required to attend an interview. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information. For further details, visit

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Additional Information
Before undertaking the clinical placements required by courses, students will need to obtain a National Police Certificate, a Provide First Aid Certificate and immunisations, and undergo a Working with Children Check. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information. Clinical placements may require travel to both metropolitan and rural areas. It is a legal requirement for graduates to be registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia before being able to practise as a nurse in any state or territory in Australia. For full details, see the board's website. Following registration, there are courses available in a range of clinical specialities, including medical-surgical, mental health, paediatric, emergency, critical care, palliative care, occupational health and community nursing. There are also postgraduate nursing courses available in management and education. Registration permits a person to work as a registered nurse in any relevant area of employment, except midwifery, which is restricted to registered midwives only. To become a midwife you must either complete postgraduate study in midwifery or a Bachelor of Midwifery. See the separate entry for Midwife for more information.
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