What You Should Know About Becoming a Registered Nurse In Australia

December 6, 2013

Registered Nurses or RNs are in high demand all over the world today and can pursue a wide range of career opportunities within Australia and worldwide.  With huge advancements in research and technology in recent years, registered nursing has become one of the most dynamic and evolving areas of nursing. If you choose to pursue a career as a registered nurse, you will be at the cutting edge of information technology in nursing care.

Monitoring young patients on the paediatrics ward at Morogoro Hospital, Tanzania Job Description

Registered nurses play a versatile role in providing ongoing patient care while working as part of a team alongside other skilled medical professionals including physicians, physiotherapists, specialist nurses, occupational therapists and pharmacists.  

Some of the job responsibilities of an RN include:

  • Providing and coordinating ongoing patient care
  • Observing and recording patient behaviour
  • Taking vital signs and establishing treatment plans
  • Performing diagnostic tests
  • Operating medical equipment
  • Prepping patients for various exams
  • Administering medication, IV and other injections
  • Updating and maintaining patients’ records
  • Treating post-operative patients
  • Treating medical emergencies from strokes and heart attacks to burns and car accidents

As an RN, you can also choose to specialize in any one of numerous possible specialties such as cardiac care, neo-natal intensive care, geriatric care or neurologic care.

Qualifying to become a Registered Nurse

To apply for the 3-year Bachelor of Nursing degree at any university in Australia, you have to be over 17 years of age and you should have completed your HSC with an appropriate Universities Admission Index (UAI).

To become a Registered Nurse you will need to complete a Bachelor of Nursing course at university. There are 9 universities that offer 3-years, full-time Bachelor of Nursing courses or the equivalent part-time courses. While the specific curriculums may vary slightly between universities, all of these courses are designed to provide a mixture of theory and nursing clinical experience in various settings, including medical and surgical wards, operating theatres, paediatric wards, emergency departments, intensive care units, mental health units, aged care facilities, rehabilitation and Aboriginal and community health.

At some of the universities you may have the opportunity to acquire some of your experience in simulation laboratories where you get to practise your clinical skills on specially constructed mannequins, under the guidance and supervision of university educators. All universities strive to expose RN students to a broad range of clinical areas and settings, so that students get a better chance to discover what area of nursing they like the best.

After you graduate, you have to apply to the Nurses and Midwives Board to practice as a Registered Nurse.

Scope for Specialisation

As an RV, the opportunities to further your career are unlimited. You can choose to specialise in midwifery, child & family health, surgical nursing, coronary care, emergency nursing, intensive care, occupational health, mental health, rehabilitation or rural and remote community nursing. There’s also the option of moving into a management-based role, research or education.


Registered Nurses earn an average annual salary of AUD 54,000 with a starting salary of AUD 48,000 at and AUD 72,500 for more experienced nurses