This is the first of a three-part series on becoming a Registered Nurse in Australia. We’d love your comments and feedback so please share your experiences below.
If you have a question about your own registration, please contact the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia.
If you are outside Australia and have a question about work visas, please read these points from the Department of Immigration about working as a nurse in Australia.
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)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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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