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What is a Job as a Nurse Like?

This article is sponsored by Charles Sturt University

Have you ever wondered what a day in the life of a nurse is like in Australia? Want to know how many hours nurses work and the pay scale for a registered nurse? Well, we had a chat with Charles Sturt University nursing student Gauri to find out all these answers and more.

Gauri was a flight attendant based in Nepal for nine years before she came to Australia in 2017 to join her husband who was studying here. After prioritising her family life, she completed a Certificate III in Aged Care in 2019 from Advance College in Sydney. Having thoroughly enjoyed her work as an aged care nurse, Gauri felt ready to take her nursing education to the next level. 

That’s what led Gauri to enrol in a Bachelor of Nursing at Charles Sturt University, the course she is currently completing at the Port Macquarie Campus. 

“I love challenges and changes in life, and I always look forward to what’s next. Since the demand for nurses in aged care is very high at the moment, this opportunity to upskill my professional journey was timely,” she says.

Gauri is also a recipient of the Destination Australia scholarship, which has helped make her study journey a reality. 

“The scholarship lets me dedicate more time to my study and I don’t have to work both afternoons and nights at the aged care to cover my fees and living cost,” she says.

Below, Gauri walks us through the details of nursing placements in Australia and what international students can expect from an education and career in nursing.

Finding your motivation: Why be a nurse in Australia? 

If you’re in the early stages of considering nursing as a course or career path, you might be asking yourself this exact question. According to Gauri, there are plenty of excellent reasons to explore this industry.

“If you want to have a fulfilling career that catapults you to greater heights, pursuing a nursing degree and working as a nurse practitioner can be a rewarding pathway,” she says. 

Moreover, there are many types of nurses who work in many different settings. Regardless of your specialisation, you’ll gain a well-rounded set of transferable skills that you can use anywhere. Not to mention, nursing is a high-demand profession in Australia (we explore this in greater detail below). 

What is a nursing placement like in Australia?

Nursing placements may vary between education providers. As an example, the Bachelor of Nursing course at Charles Sturt University involves at least 800 hours of placement for workplace learning in various healthcare settings. According to Gauri, undertaking nursing placements provides students with “practical experience [that] prepares us for real workplace scenarios. It complements the theoretical knowledge we gain in class.”

In these placements, nursing students work in a range of contexts with patients of all ages, backgrounds and medical concerns. By completing practical placements, students will gain the skills they need to become adaptable, ethical healthcare practitioners. 

A peek into the industry: What is nursing like in Australia?

Here, we walk you through some of the most important criteria you need to know about nursing in Australia. 

Are there a lot of nursing jobs in Australia?

Employing over 1.8 million people across the country, Health Care and Social Assistance is Australia’s largest professional sector. That means that job prospects in nursing are incredibly promising for new graduates. Australia is also home to an ageing population; as more people reach old age, the demand for nurses in Australia is expected to remain consistently high.

How much do nurses get paid in Australia? 

Earning potential is another key consideration to keep in mind when choosing nursing as a career path. So, how much do nurses get paid in Australia? According to PayScale, the average salary for a registered nurse is between $57,000 and $91,000, depending on the healthcare setting you work in, skillsets you have, and your cumulative field experience.

How many hours do nurses work? 

The number of working hours for a nurse will vary depending on several circumstances. On average, nurses work 38 hours per week, beginning with 12-hour shifts over three consecutive days. However, working hours tend to change as you advance and begin to specialise in the field.

Find information about why you should study nursing in Australia, including where to study.

Preparing for the realities: Is nursing a hard job?

Nurses must handle a variety of unpredictable scenarios, work long hours, and care for patients suffering from severe illnesses. As a result, Gauri believes nurses must be highly resilient and have significant emotional strength to deal with these challenges.

“Nothing worth having comes easy,” she says. “I believe you need to have the determination to make a difference and plan your days and time well. When you set your mind and heart towards the occupation, you will find that there is plenty of support around you to help you pursue this career path.”

Gauri also says students must be committed to the profession, as it can be rewarding and lead to a meaningful working life. 

“Upgrading myself and switching careers [to nursing] was the best decision I ever made. These are the best days of my life,” she says.

Still feel like nursing could be a good career for you? Check out these frequently asked questions about the profession or take our interactive quiz to discover what kind of nurse you should be!

Begin your nursing journey today

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. With 97 per cent of nursing graduates gaining full-time employment within four months of completing their studies, Charles Sturt University is the perfect place to set yourself up for success.

Ready to take the first step in your nursing career? Learn more about Charles Sturt University’s nursing courses to get started.

Charles Sturt University is an Australian University, TEQSA Provider Identification: PRV12018. Charles Sturt University CRICOS Provider Number: 00005F. CRICOS Code for Nursing: 0101019 (Port Macquarie), 010599C (Albury-Wodonga, Bathurst, Wagga Wagga).