How to become a nurse
Becoming a nurse is more than just a rewarding and fulfilling career choice — for many it’s a calling. Learn how to become a registered or enrolled nurse and help people in your community.
Key career takeaways
Salary of A$1,426 (enrolled nurse) – $1,909 (registered nurse) (median rates per week)*
Very strong future growth. Over the next 5 years, there is expected to be 14,000 job openings for enrolled nurses and 147,000 for registered nurses*
Due to the high demand for nurses, unemployment is low among enrolled and registered nurses.*
If you are searching for a career that is both personally and professionally rewarding, allows you to help and care for people that are most in need, and provides work opportunities around the world, a career as a registered or enrolled nurse could be exactly what you’re looking for.
*Data sourced from JobOutlook.gov.au.
What it takes to become a registered or enrolled nurse
The first thing you’ll want to consider is whether you want to become a registered nurse or an enrolled nurse?
What is a registered nurse? Most nurses working in Australia are registered nurses. As a registered nurse you’ll assess and manage a patient’s healthcare: administering medication, monitoring their health and caring for them. A registered nurse has a higher level of responsibility and accountability than an enrolled nurse and can manage a unit or team. To become a registered nurse you’ll need a Bachelor of Nursing.
What is an enrolled nurse? Enrolled nurses play a crucial role in providing healthcare to patients working under the supervision of a registered nurse. As an enrolled nurse you’ll be able to work in most healthcare settings — you’ll assess, plan and implement care for patients. To become an enrolled nurse you’ll need a Diploma of Nursing.
How to become a registered nurse (RN)
1. Apply for a Bachelor of Nursing
To become a registered nurse, you’ll need to successfully complete your Bachelor of Nursing. Start your journey into nursing with our Bachelor of Nursing.
2. Get your vaccinations and a Working with Children and Police Check
Once your application is accepted and before you enrol in classes you’ll need to apply for your Working With Children Check and National Police Check. These checks will need to be current throughout your entire course.
You’ll also need to show evidence of a completed adult vaccination program before you can begin clinical placements.
3. Study a Bachelor of Nursing
Now that you’ve applied and enrolled you need to actually study how to be a nurse! At Swinburne, our Bachelor of Nursing degree combines practical clinical experience and theory to give you the vital skills you need to work in operating theatres, emergency departments, aged care facilities and more. You’ll learn from experienced staff, use state-of-the-art technology and actually complete 800 hours in placements across various clinical settings, so you can get a real taste of what it’s like to be a nurse.
4. Register with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA)
Once you complete your course, you need to apply to the AHPRA to practice as a registered nurse. You’ll need to renew this registration annually.
Then, you’ll be a registered nurse and a career of bringing comfort, care and quality of life to people will begin.
Swinburne’s Nursing facilities
Our cutting-edge nursing facilities will ensure you’re experienced in working with the latest technology right from the start of your degree.
How to become an enrolled nurse (EN)
1. Get your vaccinations and a Working with Children and Police Check
When enrolling in your Diploma of Nursing (after you’ve applied and been accepted) , you’ll need a Working with Children Check and National Police Check. These checks will need to be current throughout your entire course and come from the appropriate state authority. You'll also need to show evidence of a completed adult vaccination program before you can begin your clinical placements.
2. Study a Diploma of Nursing
To become an enrolled nurse you must complete a Diploma of Nursing. At Swinburne, our Diploma of Nursing course will equip you with the foundational clinical skills and knowledge you need to work in healthcare under the supervision of a registered nurse with extensive industry experience.
You’ll study in our state-of-the-art nursing facilities and undertake at least 400 hours of supervised clinical placements — you’ll effectively learn on the job.
3. Register with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA)
Once you complete your course, you’ll need to apply to the AHPRA to practice as an enrolled nurse. Your registration will need to be renewed annually.
4. Take it to the next level with a Bachelor of Nursing
Now that you’re an enrolled nurse, you may want to start working right away or you may also want to further your studies and become a registered nurse with a Bachelor of Nursing. As a registered nurse, you’ll have more responsibilities, and be able to manage teams, units and administer more advanced healthcare services.
"This course has allowed me to gain a much better understanding of the nursing profession and has been a great stepping stone into the industry. I’ve enjoyed every moment of the course. My experience on my first aged-care placement was one I’m truly grateful for, as I was given the space to learn and participate in everyday life at the hostel."
Samantha , Diploma of Nursing (enrolled/Division 2 nursing)
Interested in studying Nursing?
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