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What Are the Different Types of Nurses?

Employing over 1.8 million people, Health Care and Social Assistance is Australia’s largest industry. This umbrella term covers many healthcare specialists, including various types of nurses.

Nurses are essential healthcare workers who care for people in a variety of settings, including hospitals, schools, aged-care facilities, emergency care, community health and general practice clinics.

To become a nurse in Australia, you’ll need to undertake further study and training after leaving high school. There are many types of nurses and each position requires different nursing qualifications. We’ve outlined the specific requirements for the different types of nursing roles below so you can begin planning your dream career in nursing!

An overview of nursing in Australia

Once nursing students have completed their required training, they must register with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA). The NMBA is the regulating body for the nursing profession and ensures all registered nurses have completed the required training and are appropriately equipped for their duties. Given that nurses are responsible for caring for people’s health, it is critical to ensure they’re up to the task.

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the demand for most health care roles, including nursing staff. Demand for new health care workers to join the industry is expected to continue to grow, making nursing an exciting choice both in terms of job security and career growth pathways.

You may be wondering, “What can I do with a nursing degree?” or “How much do nurses get paid in Australia?”  The answers to these questions depend on the type of nursing you are interested in pursuing.

What are the different nursing types?

To help you decide which type of nursing is right for you, we’ve investigated the required study, responsibilities and average annual salaries for some of the nursing types in Australia.

What is an enrolled nurse?

Enrolled nurses (ENs) are entry-level nursing staff and must perform their duties under the supervision of a registered nurse. Despite needing supervision, they represent one of the most important types of nurses in the industry.

Typical duties: Assisting senior staff in procedures; recording patient information; completing treatments from patient care plans.

Required study: A two-year Diploma of Nursing through a vocational education provider.

Average annual salary: $74,152.

What is a registered nurse?

Compared to studying to be an EN, students must complete more advanced training to become a registered nurse (RN). This additional nursing qualification provides RNs with greater autonomy and scope in their role.

Typical duties: Assessing patients to develop and deliver nursing plans; administering medicines; supervising junior staff; providing specialised nursing care.

Required study: A three-year Bachelor of Nursing through a university.

Average annual salary: $99,268.

What is a nurse practitioner?

RNs who become endorsed by the NMBA are known as nurse practitioners (NPs). NPs are responsible for additional duties and are therefore paid higher salaries. To qualify for endorsement, RNs must have completed 5,000 hours of appropriate experience within the past six years and comply with the NMBA’s professional standards. 

Typical duties: The same scope of work as an RN, but NPs can prescribe some medicines to patients and will work in more advanced and clinical environments.  

Required study: A master’s degree in a relevant field (e.g., Master of Nursing)

Average annual salary: $123,426.

What is a nurse educator and researcher?

Collectively known as ‘Clinical Nurse Educators’, nurse educators and researchers are responsible for the initial and ongoing professional training and development of nurses.

Typical duties: Researching, developing, implementing and reviewing nursing curriculum and policies; managing education resources and practical training for nurses of all levels.

Required study: A master’s degree in nursing plus extensive practical experience.

Average annual salary: $113,984.

What is a nurse manager?

Also known as nurse unit managers (NUMs), nurse managers are responsible for managing the nursing units in hospitals, aged care and community health care facilities. This is an operational and managerial role.

Typical duties: Resource allocation (budget and staff); monitoring nursing staff performance; staff training and development; developing quality; safety and risk management practices and objectives.

Required study: A bachelor degree in nursing plus extensive practical experience.

Average annual salary: $119,184.

Which type of nursing is right for me?

Nursing is a fast-paced and rewarding industry, promising strong future growth and job security. If you feel inspired to take the first step in your nursing career, it is important to find the right education provider to obtain the required nursing qualification.

Get started in nursing now

Charles Sturt University’s School of Nursing, Paramedicine and Healthcare Sciences specialises in preparing students for a career in nursing, including completion of workplace learning as an essential and exciting part of all their courses. Getting hands-on industry experience during your studies will help you become work-ready, and ensure your chosen field is the right fit for you. 

Ready to take the first step in your nursing career? Learn more about Charles Sturt University’s nursing courses and frequently asked questions.

Charles Sturt University is an Australian University, TEQSA Provider Identification: PRV12018. Charles Sturt University CRICOS Provider Number: 00005F