20 Top Requirements for Nursing in Australia:Best Guide

In this article, we have covered all the top requirements for nursing in Australia. Australia is ranked among the highest in the world for quality of life, democracy, education, safety, and health among other things. The country is highly developed and is the world’s thirteenth-largest economy. 

The country has a population of approximately eighteen million people, with around 337,000 registered nurses. In Australia, nurses and midwives make up the largest sector of the health workforce.

Nursing has always been one of the most trusted and respected professions in the world. Nurses are the link between doctors and patients, they provide care and support for patients.

If you have dreams of becoming a nurse, you should know that the profession is a challenging one, but you are sure to have a highly rewarding career if what you want is to make a difference in people’s lives. 

As a nurse, you can decide to specialize in several areas such as community health, family health, aged care, mental health, and many of her specialties. In this article, we will look at nurses in Australia, we will go over the types of nurses in the country if nurses are needed there, the average salary for a nurse in Australia, etc. This is to help you decide if a nursing career in Australia will be the right fit for you.

As a nurse, your job is to assist, protect and promote the health of those under your care. You play a significant role in advocating for better health outcomes and improvement in the quality of patient care.  

If you want to study nursing in Australia, there are so many advantages to that:

  • The universities that offer nursing programs in Australia are recognized all over the world.

  • Nursing courses are popular in Australia because the profession is a stable and rewarding one.

  • Studying nursing in Australia means that you can work easily as a nurse there and in other parts of the world as well.

  • Upon completion of your degree in nursing, you can join the professional body for nursing in Australia (The AHPRA). You have the opportunity to network with other professionals and improve your skills for better job opportunities if you join such an organization. Read on to find out the requirements for nursing in Australia and the types of nurses.

Types Of Nurses In Australia

Becoming a nurse is an enormous responsibility. The profession is all about caring for other people who are in need. Nurses can be found in several places such as hospitals, clinics, and aged care homes, just to mention a few.

As much as nurses have some things in common, it does not erase the fact that there are different kinds of nurses. The nurses in Australia can be divided into six different kinds of nurses. Each of these nurses has their specialty, qualifications, and specific roles they play in the healthcare sector.

1. Registered Nurses:

These nurses are regulated by the Nurses and Midwives Board and they are registered and licensed under the appropriate Nursing Act.

They have a higher level of responsibility and accountability than other types of nurses. Often, they are given the roles and duties of a unit manager, team leader, or administrator.

Their responsibility may include medication administration, assessment and management of patients, and complex or specialized nursing care, among others.

2. Enrolled Nurses:

These are second-level nurses. They work under the direct or indirect supervision of registered nurses.

Their duties can vary depending on where they work but they can include observing, measuring, and recording patients’ vitals, reporting changes in patients’ condition, assisting in hygiene and comfort, and assisting in first aid and emergencies.

3. Assistant In Nursing:

Technically, they are not nurses, but they perform nursing duties under the direction and supervision of registered nurses.

Their tasks involve assisting with personal hygiene, repositioning patients in bed, or helping with mobility. This type of nurse goes by many names depending on where and the sector they work in.

4. Clinical Nurses:

They are registered nurses who have gone through additional studies in a specialized area and have worked in that area for some years. They are often the resource person for other registered nurses in their workplace. They can also take active roles in teaching fewer experienced staff.

5. Midwives:

They are health professionals who work with women to give them the necessary support, care, and advice during pregnancy, labor, and the postpartum period.

They can also conduct births, provide care for the newborn, and detect complications. They have specialized education and are licensed under the Nursing Act to practice midwifery in Australia.

6. Nurse Practitioners:

They are registered nurses who have been authorized to function autonomously and collaboratively in an advanced and extended clinical role.

They require further education and other qualifications as well. They have the unique role of direct referral of patients to other healthcare professionals, prescribing medications, and ordering diagnostic investigations.

Nurses’ Salaries in Australia

We mentioned we would talk about the salary of nurses in Australia, and here we are. You should note that Australia is among the highest-paying countries in the world. They appear regularly in the list of top ten for average salary paid.

The salary of a nurse in Australia depends a lot on the type of nurse you are. The starting for a junior nurse might be relatively low, but the country offers a broad scope for professional development, this can see the salary rise significantly.

On that note, the average salary for a registered nurse in Australia is $79,956 per year or $41 per hour. Nurses at entry-level positions can start at $75,875 per year while most experienced nurses can make up to $97,732 per year.

Highest Paid Nurse In Australia

Nurses have a wide range of responsibilities that contribute to the care and needs of their patients. As we mentioned earlier, there are different types of nurses and the roles they play that are available at different education and experience levels.

The nurses who have more years of experience or have undergone extra education would earn more than the nurses who do more. Nevertheless, the highest paid nurse in Australia holds the Position of Director of Nursing. They are paid a national average salary of $132,341 per year.

Their primary duties include providing leadership to all nursing staff and undertaking an administrative role involving budgeting, health service planning, and workforce planning. They oversee the planning and organization of the services in a hospital or healthcare facility.

You can click on the link to check out the other nine highest-paid nurses in Australia.

Shortage Of Nurses In Australia

The nurses in Australia have been at the forefront of the Covid-19 response since the pandemic started. They have been working nonstop to help patients throughout, the workload on them is so much now that most of them are stressed beyond the limit.

Australia also has an aging population, an increasing rate of chronic diseases, and a wide range of mental health issues. All this means that the healthcare system n Australia is under a lot of stress and pressure. The country is in a dire need of nurses.

Health Workforce Australia (HWA) is predicting a shortage of over 100,000 nurses by 2025 and more than 123,000 nurses by 2030. Also putting into consideration that the need for nurses n Australia will likely not come down soon, there will be a consistent demand for more nurses in the country.

Another report shows that 62 percent of hospitals are reporting a nurse vacancy rate that is higher than 7.5 percent. Most of the nurses there are quitting their jobs because of the pressure and stress that is being mounted on them. One of the remedies to fill up the gap that exists between the demand for nurses in Australia and the supply is internationally trained nurses

The conclusion is that there will always be a need for nurses who are dedicated and professional in Australia. So if you are looking to have a career in nursing in Australia, there is a good chance to have one. 

Requirements for Nursing in Australia

To the main reason why you are here, we will be talking about the top requirements for nursing in Australia in this section.

For anyone who has an interest in studying nursing in Australia, you should know that these courses have been thoroughly developed to impart theoretical knowledge and sharpen the practical skills a nurse would need in healthcare services. 

The profession is dedicated to the care of individuals and society with specific knowledge, training, and skills that are developed through adequate education.

A certified nurse can work in a plethora of places including hospitals, general practices, community settings, prisons, homes, and even residential settings.

For international students who want to study nursing in Australia, they would need to fulfill some requirements to be able to do so. These requirements include:

  • A valid passport for the timeframe of your nursing program.

  • An IELTS score of 7 bands and no score below 6.5 bands in each of the components. Or a PTE score of 65 or an OET score of B. (We will talk more about this below.)

  • At least one year of experience within the last five years.

  • Evidence of access to sufficient funds.

  • Overseas Student Health Cover.

  • Successful completion of at least year 12 of education is equivalent to the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF).

  • Any other relevant document listed on the Department of Home Affairs visa checklists.

IELTS Score For Nurses In Australia

Australia is a popular destination for people looking to work and study. The country has a vibrant culture, beautiful landscape, and strong economy. 

In the country, English is the primary medium of communication, so to be able to move over there, you would have to prove you understand the language enough to engage in day-to-day conversations.

To do this, you have to take the IELTS. It is the preferred test for immigration to Australia and is accepted by almost all professional entities there. 

To obtain a visa for Australian permanent residency, you can either take the IELTS Academic or IELTS General Training. Although, for professional registration and work in Australia, the former is best. IELTS scores have three bands: competent, proficient, and superior which correspond to many points allocated.

Although IELTS is the preferred test, there are other language tests available such as TOEFL iBT, CTE, PTE Academic, and OET. (OET is only approved for medical and allied health professionals.)

There are different score requirements for the various language test for permanent residency in Australia. You can take a look at them here. But if you aim to work in Australia as a nurse, you would need an overall score of at least 7.0.

Courses For Nurses In Australia

Having talked about the requirements for nursing in Australia, at this point, if you feel like becoming a nurse in Australia might not be such a terrible idea but you have no idea where to start. We have you covered. This is the part of the article where we let you know some of the courses you can take to become a registered nurse in the country. 

Nursing is a popular course amongst students who want to study medical courses. Australia has one of the most in-demand occupations for nursing, many international students would prefer to study nursing over there. 

Some types of courses students can get in nursing in Australia are:

  • An undergraduate degree can be obtained by getting a Bachelor of Nursing (BSN), or Bachelor of Science (BSc.)

  • A postgraduate degree can be gotten by getting a Master of Nursing Science, Master of Science (MS.c)

  • A doctoral degree can be obtained by getting a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

  • Short-term courses such as Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma.

PR For Nurses In Australia

If you get a nursing degree from Australia, it makes your career flexible and it allows you to move to any part of the world to work.

Besides a high-quality education, there is also the salary package, excellent health coverage, and the option to bring family members to the country. The place is indisputably one of the best places to study nursing.

Also, nursing is a pathway to Permanent Residence in Australia. There are several PR pathway options for nurses, but they depend mainly on their specialization, degree, and work experience.

International nursing students can apply for Skilled Independent Subclass Visa 189 under General Skilled Migration, without requiring a state or an employer sponsorship. The candidates are expected to pass the skills assessments and gain a minimum of 65 points to receive an invitation through Skill Select.

Other options exist like Employer sponsorship, this could get you four years of temporary visa if your employer is an approved sponsor and offers a minimum salary of $53,900 per year.

Skilled Regional Subclass 489 Visa is another option for nurses who have relatives in the designated regional areas that can sponsor. This sponsorship adds an extra ten PR points.

This PR pathway is relatively easier for nurses in Australia when it is compared to many other professions. For nurses, living in Australia as a permanent resident for 4-6 years could lead to citizenship.

The steps to follow upon completion of your study are: 

  • Clear one of the accepted English Language tests. In each of the four test components of IELTS, a minimum score of seven is required. In the PTE test, a score of 65 in each of the four test components. Finally, a B in each of the four test components of OET.
  • Apply for full registration with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).
  • If you are internationally trained, it is required that you do the bridging program that is approved by AHPRA in Australia.
  • Apply for skills assessment with the Australian Nursing & Midwifery Accreditation Council (ANMAC).
  • Lodge an Expression of Interest (EOI). The minimum entry point of Skill Select is 65.
  • Get invited to apply for Permanent Residency-Subclass 189. Then apply for the visa.

There are other pathway options available to Nursing Graduates such as:

  • Skilled Nominated Visa- Subclass 190.
  • Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa- Subclass 491.
  • Temporary Skill Shortage visa- Subclass 482.
  • Employer Nomination Scheme Visa-Subclass 186 (for candidates with 3 years of work experience).

Code Of Ethics For Nurses In Australia

The Code of Ethics for Nurses in Australia has been developed for the nursing profession in the country. It is pertinent for nurses at all levels and areas of practice to know them. 

The code is framed by the principles and standards outlined in the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; the World Health Organization’s Constitution and publication series entitled Health and Human Rights; and the United Nations Development Programme Human Development Report 2004: Cultural liberty in today’s diverse world.

The code is designed for several audiences: nurses, nursing students, people requiring or receiving nursing care, employers of nurses, nursing regulatory authorities, consumer protection agencies, and the community generally.

The code outlines the commitment of the nursing profession to respect, promote, protect and uphold the fundamental rights of people who are the receivers and providers of nursing and health care. 

Some codes of Ethics for Nurses are:

  • Nurses value quality nursing care for all people.

  • Nurses value respect and kindness for themselves and others.

  • Nurses value the diversity of people.

  • Nurses value access to quality nursing and health care for all people.

  • Nurses value informed decision-making.

  • Nurses value a culture of safety in nursing and health care.

  • Nurses value ethical management of information.

  • Nurses value a socially, economically, and ecologically sustainable environment promoting health and wellbeing.

Here is a downloadable copy of the code.

Hospitals Sponsoring International Nurses In Australia

In Australia, some hospitals sponsor green cards for international nurses. These sponsorships are best done using international nursing recruitment agencies. You can access a review of eight top international nursing recruitment agencies in Australia here.

This link takes you to some nursing jobs in Australia with sponsorships. 

Also, some sponsorships for overseas nurses can be accessed here. What are your thoughts about these requirements for nursing in Australia? Please share your thoughts in the comment section.

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