Registered nurses assess, plan, provide and evaluate preventative, curative and rehabilitative care for patients, clients and residents in a wide variety of settings.
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. Most universities in Australia offer degrees in nursing. 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 full details, refer to the entries on the website at www.goodcareersguide.com.au or university handbooks.
Registered nurses may perform the following tasks:
In hospitals, nurses usually work according to a rotating seven-day roster that includes morning, afternoon and night shifts, as well as weekends and public holidays. In other areas, the hours depend on the service.
Registered nurses may work in public and private hospitals; community and home-based services such as doctorsâ€™ surgeries, community health centres and development programs, and youth and womenâ€™s shelters; and school and university health clinics. They may also work in remote and rural areas. Nurses are also employed by the Defence Force, international aid agencies and the Royal Flying Doctor Service. An increasing number of nurses are becoming self-employed as consultants or educators, or working through nursing agencies. With experience, and sometimes further study, registered nurses may progress to unit manager or nursing manager roles. The increasing variety of specialist services and advances in medical technology have increased the demand for nurses with training and experience in specialist areas.
A clinical nurse specialist a registered nurse who has demonstrated competency in advanced practice or has developed competency in an area of specialisation.
A community health nurse works in the wider community, providing nursing care, health counselling, health forums and group programmes to individuals, families and groups. They may develop and facilitate community development programmes with a health promotion focus.
A mental health nurse provides nursing care to patients with psychological and emotional problems who are undergoing treatment and support in hospitals, clinics, community settings or private homes.
A nurse educator assists with the design, implementation and assessment of education programmes; delivery of education and staff development programmes; and the management of educational resources.
A nurse practitioner has highly developed skills and knowledge in a specialty field (wound care, sexual health or aged care, for example). They work independently in their area of specialty and can prescribe medications and tests.
A nurse researcher conducts research into nursing and health issues.
A practice nurse employed by general practitioners to conduct general treatments. They may also work in chronic disease management and health promotion or perform other general practice and administrative duties.