Nursing is a tough profession, but for those with the determination and skill to master the craft, it’s one that’s never-ending.
But what if you’re not looking to work in the nursing profession?
There are plenty of opportunities in Australia that you can find as a nursing student.
Read moreThe National Nursing and Midwifery Council (NNMC) says there are more than 1.2 million people enrolled in its nursing career pathways program.
It estimates the average entry level RN has two years of relevant experience and a minimum of four years of experience in a healthcare field.
The NNMC’s National Career Outlook 2016-2020 suggests there are approximately 250,000 RNs working in Australia.
It says the number of nurses with relevant experience in healthcare and social work has grown by about 100,000 in the last decade.
The growth of the profession means the number and type of jobs available are becoming more diverse.
Nursing graduates in Queensland are among the top-paying occupations in Australia, according to a recent report by the University of Queensland’s School of Nursing.
The university’s report showed nurses were working in the field of healthcare and support services, including occupational health and safety, emergency medicine, paediatric and nursing home nursing, occupational therapy, obstetrics and gynaecology and nutrition.
There are many reasons why nurses are drawn to the profession.
There’s a high demand for nursing graduates, who are expected to fill vacancies that might not otherwise exist, said Professor James Smith, senior lecturer in nursing education at the university.
The profession offers a flexible and fast-paced work environment and a competitive salary.
In the past decade, graduates have taken up positions in the fields of nursing and occupational health, said Dr Smith.
Nurses are expected, especially in nursing, to develop the skills needed to meet the challenges of healthcare management, such as: caring for the elderly, pregnant and nursing mothers, caring for children, assisting with the discharge of patients, caring at home and caring for people with disabilities.
The need for nurses to adapt to changing technology and technology-related changes is also a growing concern for the profession, he said.
Nurse training programs have expanded in recent years.
There are now more than 400 nurse training programs across Australia, with more than 600 currently running, according the NNMG.
Some nurses are expected by employers to have a Bachelor of Science degree, which can be a prerequisite for jobs in the healthcare industry.
A bachelor’s degree also has the potential to boost their chances of finding work.
“The NNS is actively seeking to recruit more nurse trainees through its nursing program, particularly as it sees an increasing demand for nurses in the workplace,” said Professor Smith.
The Australian Nursing Association says a Bachelor’s degree in nursing is a good start for nurses looking to take on a new role in the future.
The ANA says it supports nursing students in their journey to becoming nurses.
Numerous studies have shown a Bachelor degree can be highly useful in terms of job placement and salary, and the ANA is also keen to emphasise that nursing is not a one-size-fits-all career.
“Nurses must be prepared to learn and adapt to new and challenging tasks in order to succeed in the workforce, and it’s important that nurses are aware of their specific skills, their work skills, and their specific roles,” it said.
It also stresses that it is a profession that requires a solid understanding of healthcare, which is important to becoming a good nurse.