Want to become a Registered Nurse?

We’re going to do a three-part series on becoming a Registered Nurse in Australia. We’d love your comments and feedback on this so please share your experiences below.

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Council (ANMC) has oversight for the nursing and midwifery professions in Australia. The council was established in 1992. It works with Australia’s state and territory Nursing and Midwifery Regulatory Authorities (NMRA) to review and update statutes and regulations impacting the nursing industry. It also conducts skills assessments for international nurses who register to practice in the country.

The Nursing and Midwifery Board Australia (NMBA) recognises the following registrations and enrolments:

  • Registered Nurse (RN);
  • Registered Midwife (RM); and
  • Enrolled Nurse (EN).

Career pathways within the profession have been designed to allow individuals to follow their own field of interest, gain promotion and improve their earning capacity. There are four parallel streams available: clinical practice, management or administration, education and research, although it is possible to move in and out of each area. In all streams there are differing levels of practice, which may be carried out in the public or private sectors.

There are several steps to take to become a Registered Nurse or Midwife.

  1. If you are a year 12 school leaver or mature student and are not a registered nurse you need to complete a Bachelor of Nursing (pre-registration) degree.
    The program is usually studied fulltime over three years (or the equivalent part time). Usually a large portion of the program is devoted to clinical practice. This takes place within simulated hospital wards and clinical placement outside the university in settings such as large general hospitals, psychiatric hospitals, smaller country hospitals, nursing homes, community health services and rehabilitation centres.
    During your first year as a student nurse you will undertake approximately three weeks, out of a total 21 weeks, of clinical placement.
    (The Bachelor of Nursing can be studied either as a first degree or post registration/professional entry.)
    To see a list of universities and education providers that offer Bachelor of Nursing degrees, click here.
  2. The post registration/professional entry degree program is studied fulltime over 18 months (or the equivalent part time). To be eligible for entry to the post registration/professional entry degree program, applicants must be a registered midwife and hold a current practising certificate.
  3. Upon successful completion of the Bachelor of Nursing, the graduate will have reached the competency levels set by the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Council (ANMC) and will be eligible to apply to the Nursing and Midwifery Board Australia (NMBA) for entry onto the Register.
  4. Following registration, the nurse has the opportunity to gain employment as a Registered Nurse or choose to commence a transition to professional practice program (Graduate Nurse Program).

To become a registered midwife in Australia is a similar process.

  1. First it is necessary to complete a Bachelor of Midwifery. The Bachelor of Midwifery can be studied either as a first degree or post registration/professional entry. The first degree program is studied fulltime over three years (or the equivalent part time).
  2. The post registration/professional entry degree program is studied fulltime over 18 months (or the equivalent part time). To be eligible for entry to the post registration/professional entry degree program applicants must be a Registered Nurse and hold a current practising certificate.
  3. Upon successful completion of the midwifery degree, the graduate will be eligible to apply to the Nursing and Midwifery Board for entry onto the Register.
  4. Following registration, the midwife has the opportunity to gain employment as a Registered Midwife or choose to commence a transition to professional practice program (Graduate Midwife Program).

You can also attend the RCNA Nursing Expo (held once a year in each state) to talk to all the education and employment providers about your options and the best way to go about applying for each course.

Next week we will share Emma’s experience. She works as an educator who gets to work with third-year undergraduate students as well as a transition support program for nurses who have been fortunate to gain a Registered Nurse position for a year with additional support and training.

“This is one of my favourite roles as an educator; no, not because I get to boss them about, but because I really enjoy hearing how and what they have learnt at uni, what they have learnt in their previous prac, what influences them and how they, usually Gen Y, cope and interpret health care.”

Emma trained in the UK as a Registered Nurse so will also share her journey to getting her qualifications recognised in Australia.

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22 Responses to Want to become a Registered Nurse?

  1. JustPete says:

    Oh no…no male nurses in the photos…looks like we are getting phased out lol.

    I just want to say that when I worked for State Rail I saw the first female train driver and also gave on the job instruction to new female train guards back in the early 90s. These positions in the past were male dominated ones just like nursing was to females. I just thought I would mention that to encourage males as well as females to look into the nursing profession as a career.

  2. Gordo says:

    In the past ( I mean years and years ago ), the only real domain of male nurses was Psych & Mental Retardation, as it was once called ( Disability Nursing ).

    GORDO

  3. VIMALA says:

    This information are very useful.Actually, i want to know whether any 6 months adaptation programme is available for international nurses to get registration?

  4. Pingback: Pathways to Becoming a Registered Nurse – Part Two | Nurse Uncut Australia

  5. joan says:

    Hello, I am from the Philippines. I want to be a registered nurse in Australia. I have already completed my Bachelor’s degree here. I am also a registered nurse here. How can I be qualified to become a registered nurse in Australia? Can anyone help me? Thank you so much.

  6. purnima says:

    Hi, I am from the Nepal. I want to apply for a Masters in nursing. I have already completed my Bachelor’s degree here. I am also a registered nurse here. How can I be qualified to become a registered nurse in Australia? Can anyone help me?

  7. Suman says:

    Dear admin,

    I am Suman from Nepal. Just completed my Bachelors of Nursing (BN), a 2 year program. It would be a great help if you suggest me about the process of becoming a Registered Nurse in Australia.

    Thanks.

  8. Bipisha says:

    Thanks for a very informative article. I am an Australian resident planning to study Bachelor of Nursing. However, somebody told me that instead of directly enrolling into a Bachelor degree for three years, I can choose a pathway of doing DIP1, DIP2 (not sure if it is DIP1…) and finally Registered Nurse. Can you please advise a better option for me/or a better place where I can get a better understanding of the pathway?
    Meanwhile, If possible, I would also want to do a job in the related field while studying (like aged care III).

  9. bindu says:

    Hello, I am Bindu from Nepal. I completed my PCL nursing and am registered with Nepal Nursing Council. Now I want to become an RN in Australia. How can I become qualified to be that? Thank you.

  10. seema says:

    Hi, I have done cert 3 in Health Services Assistance and thinking of doing the diploma of nursing in Enrolled nursing this year and later be an RN. Am I on the right path?

  11. Emma says:

    Hi, I am wanting to work as a midwife or midwife’s assistant. Basically work in the maternity ward. What’s the lowest degree of training I need to do this or is it only registered nurses who can do this?

  12. Russ says:

    Hello there! Great article! My name is Russell and I’m from Singapore. I’m planning on starting a life in Australia as a nurse, going through the Diploma and then to Degree and passing out as an RN.
    Would it be easy to obtain a sponsored visa and work as a newly graduate RN?
    What problems would I face as a new graduate RN and what can I do to overcome these problems?
    Any insight or information would be helpful.
    Thanks in advance!

  13. loren cossid says:

    Good day, I’m a registered nurse in the Philippines. How many years of job experience do I need? Do I need to take a bridging course? or a degree of 1-2 yrs?

    Nurse Uncut says: Find out about visa requirements first: https://www.immi.gov.au/asri/occupations/r/registered-nurse-medical.htm

  14. Kate RN says:

    Hello. I am a Registered Nurse in the Philippines, but currently living in Queensland, Australia. What are the things that I need to do to become a registered Nurse here in Australia?

    Cheers

  15. Sofi says:

    I have a question for those studying Bachelor of Midwifery. I have been told it is harder to obtain employment just having the qualification of midwifery undergrad. So I was wondering if you have completed the Bachelor of Midwifery, are there any postgrad qualifications one can do to become a registered nurse as well? Thank you to anyone who can help.

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