The most popular nursing specialties in Australia

September 12, 2016

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Nursing is projected to become one of the fastest growing occupations in Australia within the next few years. While most nursing specialties have bright job outlooks, these few are predicted to rise above the rest as peak performers. If you are looking for a nursing career that has great potential and also pays well, this list is a great place to start.

Keep in mind though that you are not limited to these choices. Choosing a specialty simply because it is popular could be a mistake. There are several other specialties that may be better suited to your skills, aptitude and personal preferences. If you are having a tough time making a decision, obtaining some nursing work experience is a good idea. Nursing work experience can help you recognise your strengths and your limitations so that you can make a more informed decision, rather than one based solely on the income potential.

Geriatrics nurse

Geriatric nurses specialise in caring for the unique ailments and conditions that arise from old age. When treating the elderly, the focus is more on pain management and helping patients stay more mobile and independent. It is not the same as treating younger adults where the focus is on providing curative treatments. The rapidly growing geriatric population in Australia has created a surge in demand for nurses in this specialty.

Home care nurse

A home care nurse focuses on providing supportive care to patients in their homes. With the escalating cost of hospital fees, more and more patients are choosing to go to the hospital only if there is a medical emergency. In the absence of an emergency, they would rather have a home care nurse come to their home to monitor their health instead of going to the hospital. For older patients especially, having a home care nurse come over to check on them can be a huge relief. Part of your responsibilities in this role may include counselling, medical assistance and helping patients with everyday tasks such as bathing, eating and dressing.

Critical care nurse

Critical Care Nurses are also known as intensive care or ICU nurses. These specialists are dedicated to caring and tending to critically ill patients in a hospital’s intensive care unit. This is one of the most fast-paced of nursing specialties and requires you to have excellent analytical skills and the ability to think objectively and make quick decisions under pressure. Not many nurses can handle the intense pressure of this specialty. But for those who do, finding employment will never be a problem.

If critical care nursing interests you but you are not sure if you can do justice to this role, consider doing a medical placement where you can get first-hand nursing work experience, in this as well as other nursing specialties. You may discover a side of you that you never knew existed!


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Gap Medics provides year-round hospital work experience for people aged 16 and over. Our shadowing placements offer a unique insight into the work of doctors, nurses, midwives and dentists – helping students to focus their career aspirations before embarking upon medical training.