There are a diverse range of skills in demand within Australia and if your one of the lucky ones who holds one of these skills, making the move down under can, for you be that little bit easier.
Following our Australia mining jobs article we thought we’d provide another article covering one of the most popular professions used by people looking to use their skillset to help them secure a place in Australia:
Nursing Jobs in Australia
If you are currently working as a nurse in your home country and you’re looking to immigrate to Australia then you are in luck.
At time of typing, nurses are one of the most highly demanded jobs in Australia.
There are excellent career opportunities with permanent and temporary work available within most of the states in Australia. The icing on the cake? Most visa applications for nurses receive priority processing too!
If your currently doing a nursing job in an English speaking country then you’ll probably know someone (or at least know someone who knows someone) who has secured a nursing job in Australia. The Australian government spends a lot of time advertising nursing jobs overseas and frequently travels to places such as the UK and the US hoping to tempt local nurses with the quality of Australian life and the benefits that come with the nursing jobs in Australia.
Types of Nursing Jobs in Australia
There are a number of different nursing roles in Australia. In all states other than Victoria, nursing jobs fall into the following major positions. We’ll explain what the main roles and responsibilities of each nursing position is so you can align it with your own skills and experience.
As an enrolled nurse in Australia, your role will be to care for people who are sick, injured, convalescent, or disabled under the direction of registered nurses and physicians.
Enrolled nurses in Australia usually complete the Australian Diploma of Nursing and spend 24 months training, consisting of 36 weeks theoretical component at TAFE colleges or private institutions, followed by practical experience in hospital wards for the remainder of the time.
The majority of enrolled nurses eventually move on to attend university and become registered nurses, although a substantial number remain as enrolled nurses in public and private hospitals, and nursing homes.
The term Enrolled Nurse is used to describe this type of nursing job in Australia, however people undertaking this type of nursing job are often described differently in other countries.
As an example of this, licensed practical nurse (LPN) is the term used in much of the United States and most Canadian provinces. Enrolled nurses in Australia are often referred to as a licensed vocational nurse (LVN) in the U.S. states of California and Texas. Equivalent professions outside the United States are “registered practical nurse” (RPNs) in the Canadian province of Ontario and “state enrolled nurses” (SENs) in the United Kingdom.
The role of enrolled nurses in Australia has greatly increased in recent years in response to the continuing shortage of registered nurses in the Australian public health care system.
In 2004, a medication endorsement certificate was introduced, allowing ENs to administer some oral medication (excluding schedule 8 drugs of addiction) upon completion. Endorsement also permits the administration of some intravenous (IV) medications and fluids (intravenous therapy or IVT), as well as intramuscular (IM) and subcutaneous (SC) injections. Endorsed enrolled nurses (EENs) are also permitted to check & give S4D and S8 medications with a registered nurse. Most enrolled nurses working in public hospitals are permitted to conduct ECGs, collect pathology specimens, and routinely take a patient load under the direct supervision of a registered nurse.
Despite the fact that the role of enrolled nurses in Australia has been greatly expanded in recent years, opportunities for career progression remain somewhat limited, and for this reason, many choose to go on and study to become registered nurses. In terms of financial remuneration, the earning capacity of an enrolled nurse is capped at five years of service; whereas registered nurses continue to eight years before salary capping is applied.
Nurse practitioner (NP)
Nurse practitioners treat both physical and mental conditions through comprehensive history taking, physical exams, and ordering tests for interpretation. Nurse practitioners in Australia can provide a diagnosis and recommendations for a wide range of acute and chronic diseases (within their scope of practice) and provide appropriate treatment for patients, including prescribing medications in some states.
Similar to all medical professions, the core philosophy of the field is individualized care that focuses on patients’ conditions as well as the effects of illness on the lives of the patients and their families.
In addition to providing health care services, nurse practitioners may conduct research and are often active in patient advocacy activities. To become licensed to practice, Nurse Practitioners must be board certified in an area (such as family medicine, women’s health, paediatrics, adult medicine, acute care, etc.), and are licensed through the state nursing boards. Nurse practitioners must practice within the scope of their certification.
Nurse practitioners can serve as a patient’s primary health care provider, and see patients of all ages depending on their specialty (family, paediatrics, geriatrics, etc.).
A registered nurse is a nurse who has graduated from a nursing program at a college or university and has passed a national licensing exam.
Registration as a registered nurse in Australia now requires a Bachelor of Nursing, considered the foundation for any future specialization within nursing.
Postgraduate diplomas provide further vocational training for specialist areas. Masters level courses are available in both research and course work streams; a specialist course has been developed to provide preparation for registration as a nurse practitioner. Professional doctorates are also available.
A registered nurse’s scope of practice is determined by the school and by the government responsible for health care in the region. These bodies outline what is legal practice for registered nurses and what tasks they may or may not perform. In general, registered nurses help individuals, families, and groups to achieve health and prevent disease. They care for the sick and injured in hospitals and other health care facilities, physicians’ offices, private homes, public health agencies, schools, camps, and industry. Some registered nurses are employed in private practice, and a few work at home for healthcare companies.
Nurses must have the ability to get along with other people and must communicate well. They must provide, without prejudice, the best care possible for every client. Especially during critical moments, the nurse must be self-controlled and efficient and show problem solving ability. Registered nurses supervise the nursing care of clients.
Registered Nurses hold two-year Associates and four-year Bachelor’s degrees; both degree-holders must take and pass the same NCLEX-RN nursing exam to be considered Registered Nurses.
Nursing Jobs in Victoria, Australia
Nurses and nursing were first regulated by statute in 1923 in Victoria. In 1993, the legislation was revised, and all nurses are now termed registered nurse classified according to their educational preparation by the Nurses Board of Victoria (NBV). Since July 2007, all Victorian health registration boards (including the NBV) are governed by the Health Professions Registration Act 2005:
- RN Division 1 are first level nurses comprehensively trained with the potential ability to work in any branch of nursing.
- RN Division 2 are second level nurses that work under the direction of a division one or three nurse, equivalent to an enrolled nurse in other Australian states.
- RN Division 3 are nurses formally trained solely in psychiatric nursing. This is not to be confused with general nurses who undertook “post basic” training in psychiatric nursing and were thus able to work in both general and psychiatric nursing settings.
- RN Division 4 nurses formally trained solely in institutions that cared for people with an intellectual disability. It was possible (but unusual) for general nurses to undertake post basic training to attain this as an additional qualification. Mental retardation nursing (as it was then known) is no longer considered the sole domain of nursing, and courses are available such as the Certificate of Disability Studies (Positive Behaviour Support) designed to meet the needs of practitioners in a variety of disciplines.
- RN Division 5 are mothercraft nurses, who had training postnatal care and early parenting (‘mother crafting’ generally describes the skills needed to care for a newborn baby). Mothercraft nurses worked under the supervision of midwives or registered nurses in postnatal wards of public or private hospitals, or occasionally in childcare centres or early childhood centres. This vocational activity is no longer considered the sole domain of nursing, and courses are available at TAFE/VET level designed to meet the needs of practitioners in a variety of disciplines and settings.
Divisions 3, 4 and 5 are now closed to new applicants. The effect of this policy is that there will be, in time, only division one and two nurses, with a separate foundation qualification pertaining to each type.
Australian Visa Options for Nursing Jobs in Australia
Nursing jobs in Australia are prevalent; however you still need to have the correct type of Australian visa before you can start working down under. Thankfully as one of the lucky ones with skills in demand, there are lots of options available to you.
Be sponsored by an employer
The first option is the Temporary Work (Skilled) Visa; also known as the Subclass 457.
This visa type is suitable if you are a registered nurse and will allow you to work in Australia for an approved business sponsor, for up to four years.
As the onus on implementing this visa is on the employer, this is often the most popular type of visa.
If you move out to Australia as a nurse on this visa class, your accompanying family members can also work and study in Australia.
Finding Sponsored nursing jobs in Australia
The easiest way to find sponsored nursing jobs in Australia is to utilise the services of an online job board. We covered the main Australian Job boards in our article ‘Jobs in Australia’
For the purposed of this article, we’ll use the largest of the Australian Job boards at Seek.com.au for our search
- To Start with go to seek.com.au and once the page loads; in the search box at the top of the screen, use the search term 457 or 457 Nurse
- Next, select ‘Healthcare and Medical’ from the classification drop down menu.
- If you’d like to see more granular results you can choose to filter your search results by sub classification or location within Australia should you wish.
- Click Search and voila!! You’ll be presented with a selection of nursing jobs where sponsorship is being offered as an option.
It’s worth noting that some of these vacancies may give preference to nurses who have had some experience working in Australia (if even for a short time). With this in mind, some of the other visa options mentioned below may also be worth considering.
Alternatively if you’d prefer to find your nursing job in Australia via an alternative visa path or are looking for a little more permanency once arriving in Australia, there are a number of alternative Australian visa options available to you.
Skilled Migration for Nurses
There is a range of visa options under the Skilled Migration program for skilled workers who want to live in Australia and who do not have an employer sponsoring them.
To be eligible to apply for a skilled migration visa, nurses must pass a points test and meet a range of basic requirements; you’d also need to obtain a skills assessment from the Australia Nursing and Midwifery Accreditation Council (ANMAC).
The skilled migration option may be the preferred longer term options for Nurses looking to work in Australia on a longer term basis. Once your successful gained your residency visa, you can normally remain within Australia indefinitely.
Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme
Overseas nurses with qualification and skills requirements relevant to their nominated occupations may be eligible for a permanent visa. Under this scheme, nurses can be nominated by an Australian employer to work and live in regional Australia.
Employer Nomination Scheme
Overseas nurses under 50 years of age with qualifications and work experience as a registered nurse may be eligible for a permanent visa under this scheme.
Working Holidays Visa
If you are between 18 and 30, you may be able to come to Australia temporarily for a working holiday.
This visa allows you to stay for 12 months and work as a nurse with any one employer for a maximum of six months, provided your work remains incidental to your holidays.
This could be the perfect way for you to understand if working as a nurse in Australia is really the right thing for you. It also gives you a great excuse to have a holiday too!
What if my current nursing qualifications don’t make the grade?
If you don’t have all of the qualifications you need to secure a nursing job in Australia right now, there may still be a number of options available to you.
Nurses who do not have the qualifications to work as a nurse in Australia can still do a bridging program to improve their skills to bring them up to Australian standards. There are also a number of temporary visa options available to help support this activity.
Before we cover the next set of visa’s, there is quite a bit of information associated with both of these Australian visa types so we won’t cover them in detail within this article.
We have however provided links to the relevant sections of the Australian Immigration Website which provides more information about these visa classes. You can find the links to these visa types in the resources section at the bottom of this article.
The two visa types in question are the:
Training and Research (Occupational Trainee Stream) Visa
For nurses to undertake a supervised, workplace-based training program in Australia. This option is good for training programs of three months or longer.
Visitor (Business Stream) Visa (Subclass 600)
This visa type is ideal for nurses who are looking to undertake an approved bridging or pre-registration program for less than three months. Nurses who successfully complete the course may be able to apply in Australia for a Temporary Work (Skilled) visa.
So there we have it, everything you could need to know about finding nursing jobs in Australia. Phew! Thanks for making it this far!
We really hope that you found this article a useful insight into nursing jobs in Australia and we really hope this will help you on your way to a new nursing career down under.
We love to hear about your own experiences seeking Australian nursing jobs, so please take a few seconds to share your thoughts in the comments below.
To your success
Visa Types mentioned in this article:
Skilled Migration Option – http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/general-skilled-migration/visa-options.htm
Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme – http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/skilled-workers/rsms/
Employer Nomination Scheme – http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/skilled-workers/ens/
Working Holiday Visa – http://www.immi.gov.au/visitors/working-holiday/
Official Australian Nursing resources: