Nursing in Australia
 /  Nursing in Australia

Australian Nursing Career

Nursing is considered one of the best professions in the world. This field of employment is an extremely respectable occupation for people to work. A person can actually earn a decent income from doing this type of work. The field of nursing is just about the same all over the world. However, within the country of Australia, this occupation has some subtle differences than the U.S. and other parts of the world. The following information will explain what it is like to be nurse in the land of Australia.


Nursing Qualifications

In order to become a nurse in Australia, you must first complete a qualification. There are various level of nursing courses available, beginning with a 2 year nursing diploma. Upon completion you must also register or enrol with one of two organizations primarily responsible for providing licenses and certificates for practicing nurses. The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia is one credentialing nursing organisation. The other is the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).


Australian Requirements

There are 5 specific requirements that must be met by any individual who wants to become a nurse. These requirements are outlined below.

  1. English Proficiency Tests. English is the primary language spoken in Australia. The Australian variety of English is the dialect that is primarily used by many of the nation’s citizens. Any person wanting to work as a nurse within the nation of Australia must be able to pass the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam.
  1. All individuals wanting to become a nurse must meet the Australian standards of nursing and midwifery. People who have received a nursing degree and credentialing within another country can transfer their credentials to Australia to meet nursing requirements. However, this degree is only valid if a person has been given a degree from the United Kingdom, the United States, the Republic of Ireland, Canada, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore.

People with this type of credentialing must take an assessment to determine if their skills are on par with Australian requirements. person must also provide evidence that they have practiced nursing within a professional setting. This will validate their experience. An individual is also required to prove that they are mentally and physically fit to perform the job of nursing within Australia.

Listing these qualifications were important because they provide the framework for being a nurse within Australia. Once these qualifications are met a person can then begin to start working within this chosen profession.


Working Hours of Australian Nurses

Before we can describe the everyday life of a practising nurse within Australia; we first look at how the work week is set up for the Aussie people. Australia’s work week consist of 38 hours. However, most midwives and nurses work a total of 33 hours on average.

Keep in mind that most nurses will work an average of 38 hours but overtime opportunities abound. When a nurse first starts off their career they can work up to 12 hour shifts for three days in a row. This will put them in the 36-hour range. Many American, Canadian and British nurses work these kinds of hours.

When nurses first start off they might be required to work on the weekend and during holidays. Hospitals typically require new nurses to work the extra hours and to work night shift or weekends. Once a nurse starts to gain some time in the job they can then start to work normal hours.

So, a newly hired nurse will probably work as many hours as management needs them to. They can also expect to work odd hours and weekends until they can start to gain some seniority on the job. Shift hours will vary by hospital. Keep in mind that a day shift for a nurse could start anywhere from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. for the day shift. Midday and night shifts could start during anytime as well.


Daily Tasks and Responsibilities

All (or at least most) nurses work within an integrated healthcare environment. This simply means that nurses team up together or with other health professionals to provide care to patient. They might deal with patients directly by themselves or paired up with another health professional. Nurses will provide basic care such as taking vital signs, administering IVs or they could provide a basic examination of a patient’s body. Nurses can also expect to perform unique duties within any area that they specialise in.

What will nurses have to do with patients?

Nurses will be required to work with patients and providing excellent patient care is a must. Nurses must know how to communicate with people and they must be able to tolerate different types of personalities.

Lunch Breaks and Breaks

Many nurses receive benefits and some of them are mandatory. Lunch breaks typically last for about ½ hour. However, some nurses can get 45 minutes to an hour to eat or relax. By law Australian nurses are allowed breaks. These breaks are usually taken during the first 4 to 6 hours of a shift and toward the last 4 to 6 hours of a shift. Lunch breaks are typically given half way through the work shift.


Work Environment and Colleagues

Australian nurses can be of any age, and although historically dominated by women, is becoming an increasingly popular professional for men. In many ways he can be like any other shift job, where you will be surrounded by like-minded individuals and will develop a comradery with their colleagues.


Holidays and Vacations

In the Australia, a holiday means vacation but it can also mean an official holiday. Each province can choose their own holidays and some are national. Nurses generally will receive holiday pay for days such as Christmas, New Years, Boxing Day and Easter. Even though nurses are salaried they usually receive compensation for working holidays.


Nursing Wages

Nurses can be paid whenever their hospital wants them to be. However, most nurses are paid on Friday. Keep in mind that Monday’s and Wednesday’s are not that uncommon for paydays. The average nurse in Australia makes a$74,000 a year. A nurse’s starting wage is around $50,000. This figure is low for nurses but it is an extremely competitive wage for a given profession.


Ultimately, a day in the life of a nurse is filled with fun, hard work and some good times; but unfortunately it can get downright scary. The fact is that nurses will have to encounter situations involving death and extreme pain. That is a part of the job. However, most nurses understand this reality and continue to provide quality care. They know that peoples lives depend on it. In the end, this is what the Australian nursing profession is all about.