Student EEN: Are there actually any jobs?


Julie writes: As a student EEN about to graduate in two weeks, I wish I’d looked into employment options prior to enrolling. According to our teachers there are plenty of jobs. I would say that jobs are scarce even with experience!

I have been trying for months to get a position in aged care – I have applied for positions vacant online, I have cold canvassed and emailed facilities and I never hear back.

I have started to apply for EEN positions to be told I will need to apply for EEN new grad jobs – I believe I have seen one public position in the Hunter region in the last 6 months and a handful in private facilities. My TAFE alone is turning out 90-120 EENs annually.

I can guarantee most wards are short on shifts but they just don’t have the nursing hours available to employ new staff – this infuriates me no end.

Do other Enrolled Nurse students share this experience?


  1. I’ll be really interested to see the comments on this. I’m on the verge of committing to start a Diploma of Nursing to become an EEN, and it’s been hard to find much information about employment prospects at the end of it.

  2. I am doing my 4 weeks final placement and have the same fears as well as the fact that I am 57 years old and facing the barrier of age discrimination. I would like to see a return to the old system … obviously with some changes. It seems to me that the hospitals would be better placed being involved in the recruitment of the applicants to do the EN course with applicants committing to 3 years – 18 months training through TAFE as it is now (maybe with double the clinic time and far less time spent on subjects like “Australian Healthcare”), followed by 18 months paid grad work with the hospital that recruited them. I’m pretty sure the retention rate would be better, the quality of EN would be better and the nursing service delivery would be better, benefiting the community far more than the current system.
    There could be some sort of reward system if you stayed for the 3 years, your TAFE fees would be subsidised in some way, or a job guaranteed at the end of the 3 years or something similar… just saying, there is no point in churning out ENs if there is no work available out there. The subject matter is such that it needs to be put into practice immediately or the standard of care WILL drop and the patients are the ones that will suffer as a result.

  3. I have been nursing for 25yrs and 18 of them as an EEN. I have had many experiences working hospital based, aged care, practice nurse, community nursing and now staff management in charge of the whole Upper Hunter with community nursing. I did jobs many jobs I really did not like and did many I loved. There are so many avenues you can choose .It may have only taken me 25yrs to get to my ideal but life is constantly challenging and we have to work hard even if we work as an AIN even tho we are EENs, it about the experience. Their are many oportunities and up to you to choose them.

  4. Most hospitals are reluctant to hire eens with no experience. I fortunately got a new grad position locked in before commencing my course, but this provision doesnt exist anymore. I hope all those new eens are at least going for agency work, as this should give them a leg up when it comes to references and knowing what jobs are going. If you have a good attitude, work hard, and remember your scope of practice, the regular work will come!

  5. I got the first job I applied for in a private hospital, it was a night shift position but willing to do it to get in. I’ve been there 2 years part-time & now work nights & days. Plus I have just got another part-tome position at a GP practice. There are jobs around!

  6. My daughter is just finishing her EENs course and has missed out on a grad position. There were 70 hopeful students and 20 positions. She is now in the process of canvassing facilities to give her a chance to get some experience. Without experience = no job…no job = no experience. It’s a vicious circle.

  7. Someone please tell me that is the correct title for EEN I was told the title EEN is no more it changed to EN where can I get the right information?

    • That’s my understanding too, Mary. I think Julie would be an EN endorsed to give medication, before the EN training was changed to include medications.

  8. Honestly I’m still waiting for someone to give me an opportunity. Have just graduated and I have been on the hunt and even the agency work I have inquired about want at least one years experience…but I cant get any without the opportunity! Grrrr.


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