Nursing Courses
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Nursing Education

There are a wide range of nursing courses available in Australia. Starting from a basic certificate, all the way through to a nursing masters. There also a number of different specialisations to choose from, creating a wide and diverse employment industry.

Until recent years, nursing education was the domain of hospitals. Gradually the need for students to be trained in the theory as well as the practice of nursing became recognised. At first, post-secondary institutions provided only the upgrading required to qualify as a registered nurse and associated nursing diploma and certificate courses. Now, even nursing assistants (AINs) are required to take certificate courses in order to provide personal care services under the direction of a registered or enrolled nurse. Registered nurses themselves must have, at minimum, a Bachelor of Nursing degree while enrolled nurses must complete a diploma course.

There are a number of ways to become a nurse in Australia today ranging from TAFE (technical and further education) diplomas to university undergraduate and graduate degrees. Nursing is regulated by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia and there are four standard accreditations:

  • Enrolled Nurse (Division 2 in Victoria)
  • Registered Nurse (Division 1 in Victoria)
  • Midwife
  • Nurse Practitioner

Australian nursing schools have a reputation for providing high quality nursing courses with graduates who are well-equipped to work in a wide range of healthcare situations in many different specialisations.

Nursing courses are many and varied, providing a great deal of options for a well paid and satisfying career.

NURSING COURSE LEVELS

Read about the different levels of nursing courses, and then browse through the list of education providers.

Diploma of Nursing Courses

Enrolled Nurses (EN) work as second level nurses under the supervision of a registered nurse. They must complete a Diploma of Nursing at an Australian Nursing and Midwifery Accreditation Council recognised institution. These are usually 18 month to two year nursing courses and they provide the skills and knowledge required for registration as an enrolled nurse with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia. Completion of advanced diplomas will add endorsements to your endorsed nurse licence.

In addition to their basic training, endorsed enrolled nurses (EEN) complete a medication endorsement to allow them to administer oral and topical medications.

Diploma and certificate enrolled nurses are eligible for acceptance in Bachelor of Nursing degree courses at the 2nd year level.

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Bachelor of Nursing Courses

A Bachelor Degree in Nursing or in Health Science (Nursing) is required for registration as a Registered Nurse (RN). These involve three years of university study and healthcare facility training, or the equivalent in part-time courses. Courses provide for simulation learning and practice in the classroom prior to 800 hours of training and practice in a clinical environment. A fourth year (Honours Degree), offered at some universities, enhances critical thinking and problem solving skills to equip graduates for entry into MD or PhD research programs.

Some university schools of nursing offer combined BA degree courses and combined BA/MA degree courses, or dual degrees in nursing and midwifery. The relevant endorsements are added to your licence.

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Postgraduate Diploma/Certificate

Diploma and certificate courses provide for further study, training and qualifications in specialist areas for endorsements to your Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia registration. These are usually 6 month or 12 month courses in, for example, midwifery, child welfare, theatre nursing, psychiatric, coronary care.

A registered nurse who has trained, taken required nursing courses and worked in specific areas of nursing is qualified to work as a Clinical Nurse (CN), becoming a resource person and providing education and leadership to other RNs in the clinical environment of the area of expertise. A postgraduate diploma, certificate or master’s degree in midwifery adds a midwifery endorsement to a registered nurse’s licence. Other specialist diplomas and certificates equip you as a theatre nurse, to work in ICU, coronary care, etc.

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Master of Nursing Courses

Master of Nursing degrees allow registered nurses to qualify to work at senior levels in such areas as advanced practice, cardiology, gerontology, paediatrics, midwifery. Full-time study requires one and a half to two years. Longer part-time courses are available and a number of study modules can be completed online. Study is centred on comprehensive theory content that includes exploration of the biological, psychological as well as social sciences. Postgraduate nursing degree courses are offered at a number of Australian universities with more intensive study in clinical or non-clinical areas of specialisation being available in the larger institutions, although some of these are specific to certain universities. Nurse practitioners require a master’s degree as do various scientific research nursing positions.

An 18 month or two year MD equips the registered nurse to be a nurse practitioner, working in an extended clinical role, to assess and manage patients. This involves referrals to other health professionals, prescribing medication and requesting diagnostic services.

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Nursing Industry

A nursing career is generally associated with secure employment and a high level of job satisfaction. In this age of contract employment and declining job security and benefits, nursing credentials can provide you with a reliable source of both income and employee benefits, while doing something you enjoy and can take great pride in.

Nurses are crucial to the healthcare industry and have an employment rate at graduation of around 80% – higher than almost all other disciplines. Job security with such reliable employers as hospitals, clinics and other healthcare service institutions is far superior to most other occupations. At the same time, nursing has variety and flexibility. Taking time out or working part-time to meet family responsibilities does not prevent you from picking up your career where you left off. Skilled nurses are needed everywhere.

In terms of career development, nursing courses provide further education and growth opportunities at convenient points in the career path. Experienced nurses can take a variety of nursing courses to move on to specialist or administrative roles, educating or consulting when they choose to take the steps to do so.

Nursing Courses in Australia

Kick start your nursing career!