Australia’s nurses are the unsung heroes of the country’s medical profession. Without them, patients would be left without caretakers, doctors would flounder on their own, and medical systems would find themselves in big trouble.
If you’ve ever considered going into nursing, there are some things you need to know that will help you get started. Whether you’re already a nursing student or just starting your research, you’ll find information here that will point you in the right direction.
Navigating the Nursing Landscape in Australia
Did you know there is currently a nursing shortage in Australia? The COVID-19 pandemic put a heavy strain on nurses throughout the country, and now healthcare systems in Australia are seeking talented and qualified nurses to join their ranks.
Nursing Salaries: What to Expect
You might be interested to know that nurses are paid quite well in Australia, with salaries starting at an average of $35.28 per hour. That can change depending on your region, experience level, and specialty, but you’ll find that nurses receive competitive compensation.
Nursing Schedules: How Much Will You Work?
Australia considers 38 hours to be a full-time work week, but most nurses will average around 32 hours each week. Depending on whether you’re working in a hospital or medical office, you may work shifts lasting anywhere from 8 to 12 hours.
Many nurses also take advantage of overtime hours and shift differentials, where hours worked are paid at higher rates due to the time of day. There are plenty of opportunities to work as much as you’d like in nursing.
Nursing Job Satisfaction: Are Australian Nurses Happy?
Australian nurses are among the happiest workers in the country. One study showed that 96% of surveyed nurses were happy with their career.
Understanding the Foundations: Key Qualifications and Licensing in Australian Nursing
Once you have completed an enrolled nursing qualification you may decide to take a further step and become a registered nurse. To do this there are a few important steps you’ll need to take in order to kickstart your career.
- First, you need to complete a Bachelor of Nursing degree to become an RN. There are some scholarships and programs available that can help you earn your education if you meet certain qualifications.
- Once you’ve obtained your degree, you’ll need to register with the government so you can begin working. You’ll apply to the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia, a division of the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). This registration will need to be renewed each year.
- Once you’re working as a nurse, you can continue your education as desired to pursue specific specialties, such as:
- Emergency medicine
- Mental health nursing
- Pediatric nursing
Strategies for Professional Growth: Building a Strong Nursing Foundation
As you look forward to building your career, you should put some thought into the kind of nurse you want to become. Perhaps you’ve encountered excellent nurses in your life that inspired you to look into the career path for yourself. Maybe you just want to get into the business of helping people.
Whatever your motivations are, nursing is a demanding career, so make sure you’re prepared to put in the work. Part of that work is being ready to invest in yourself and your professional growth. Consider what that might look like for you:
- Find a great mentor. A seasoned nurse will have a wealth of experience to share with you, and you can learn a lot from people who have already been on the front lines.
- Identify your goals. Decide what path you want to take and whether you want to specialise, and figure out what education and courses you’ll need to get there.
- Connect with others in the field. Your peers are a great resource, and other new nurses will be valuable connections for you now and in the future.
Specialised Paths in Nursing: Exploring Diverse Career Opportunities
Specialising as a nurse may attract additional education and training, which is a great way to get involved in an area of care that is important to you. You may spend the first part of your career as a general enrolled or registered nurse, but if there’s a specialty you’re interested in, you should explore that path.
Some nursing specialty roles to look into might include:
- Nurse anesthetist
- Nurse researcher
- Nurse practitioner
- Neonatal nurse
- Cancer nurse
- Health policy nurse
- Pediatric nurse
- Mental health nurse
Once you’ve decided on a specialty, you can start exploring what training will be required for you to get into that field. This is where your mentor and network will come in handy. Don’t be afraid to use the resources available to you to help advance your career.
Future Trends in Australian Nursing
As it stands today, the shortage of Australian nurses is expected to grow in the coming years. In order to attract new talent, the industry as a whole will be taking steps to develop the profession to make it more interesting to potential new nurses.
Keep your eyes open for some new trends to be aware of in nursing:
- Telehealth: more and more remote nursing jobs are likely to become available in the near future.
- Salaries: pay for nurses will likely continue to rise as the shortage worsens.
- Privatised healthcare: nursing opportunities in the private sector will become more available.
Nursing is an exciting and diverse career option. It’s a great time to take advantage of the opportunity to become one of Australia’s best and brightest healthcare providers, using your passion and talents to treat patients and provide excellent care.
This blog post has been produced in partnership with MedShop Australia.