How to become a nurse in Australia

Students in practical session

Considering a Nursing career or ready to take your Nursing career to the next level? Current THINK Education Diploma of Nursing students completing practical work at the Pyrmont campus.

Considering a Nursing career? Or ready to take your Nursing career to the next level?

A career in Nursing can enrich your life and the lives of others every day; offer diverse challenges; take you around the world; and you could be employed within just months of graduating, as our aging and growing population means skilled nurses are in demand. Start by looking at the options of becoming a Registered Nurse (RN) or an Enrolled Nurse (EN).

Registered Nurses (RN) have a high level of expertise and responsibility, and they can take on many challenging and rewarding roles. For example, they can be a unit manager, team leader or work in medical administration. The RN has the training and experience to give their patients the highest level of care in a range of complex situations.

To become a Registered Nurse, you will:

  1. Complete a Bachelor of Nursing.
  2. Apply to AHPRA (Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency) to practice as an RN. You have to renew your registration annually.
  3. Work for several years in a general capacity as an RN, and along the way, decide if you want to specialise in, say, Emergency Nursing, Cardiology, Paediatrics or Aged Care. The list is endless.

Enrolled Nurses (EN) work under the supervision of an RN, either directly or indirectly depending on their experience and their work environment. They attend to their patients’ comfort, hygiene and safety. This can involve observing, measuring and recording their patients’ blood pressure and pulse, and reporting changes in their patients’ condition to the RN or to the doctors. The EN can also assist in first aid and emergency situations.

An Enrolled Nurse can work in a range of healthcare environments, such as hospitals, aged-care facilities, welfare organisations, and in the community.

To become an Enrolled Nurse, you will:

  1. Complete a Diploma of Nursing
  2. Apply to AHPRA (Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency) to practice as an EN. You have to renew your registration annually.
  3. Work for a couple of years and decide if you want to further your studies and enrol in a Bachelor of Nursing, or continue as an EN.

AHPRA (Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency) regulates Australian nurses in partnership with the NMBA (Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia).

To work as an RN or EN you must register with AHPRA.


Let’s look at this in more detail …

Bachelor of Nursing

The Bachelor of Nursing is 3 years, full-time under the standard study plan.

By fast-tracking you can complete the degree in 2 years, including clinical placements.

Studying part-time you set your own pace and decide on the amount of time you can commit to study each term (depending on subject delivery).

You will study on campus, face to face, with some elements delivered online. You’ll also complete 840 hours of clinical experience via professional placements in a range of health care settings.

Diploma of Nursing

Studying full time, you can complete the Diploma of Nursing in 20 months

In the full-time model of teaching and learning, you study face-to-face on campus.

You can choose a blended mode delivery and only attend one day on campus and complete a significant component of your studies online.

The course includes 400 hours (10 weeks) of unpaid clinical placement in a range of professional workplace settings.

Once you have graduated

When you have graduated as an RN or an EN, you then have to register with the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and meet the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA)’s registration standards in order to practice in Australia.

For more information about these requirements, visit:

As well as your university qualifications

Employers are looking for nurses who have good written skills; emotional intelligence and professional ethics. They want candidates who have experience in teamwork, and time management and interpersonal skills, have integrity and are adaptable.

Check our Nursing Courses to learn more
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