Registered Nurses provide nursing care to patients in hospitals, aged care and other health care facilities, and in the community.

A Bachelor Degree or higher as well as 5 years of relevant experience is usually needed to work in this job. Registration or licensing is required.

Tasks

  • assessing, planning, implementing and evaluating nursing care for patients according to accepted nursing practice and standards
  • working in consultation with other Health Professionals and members of health teams, and coordinating the care of patients
  • providing interventions, treatments and therapies such as medications, and monitoring responses to treatment and care plan
  • promoting health and assisting in preventing ill health by participating in health education and other health promotion activities
  • answering questions and providing information to patients and families about treatment and care
  • supervising and coordinating the work of Enrolled Nurses and other health care workers

Job Titles

  • Nurse Practitioner
  • Registered Nurse (Aged Care)
  • Registered Nurse (Child and Family Health)
  • Registered Nurse (Community Health)
  • Registered Nurse (Critical Care and Emergency)
  • Developmental Disability or Mental Retardation Nurse
  • Registered Nurse (Disability and Rehabilitation)
  • Registered Nurse (Medical)
  • Medical Practice Nurse
  • Mental Health or Psychiatric Nurse
  • Perioperative or Operating Room Nurse
  • Registered Nurse (Surgical)
  • Registered Nurse (Paediatrics)
  • Other Registered Nurses
  • Nurse Practitioner

    Provides advanced and extended nursing care to patients, such as ordering diagnostic tests, undertaking diagnosis and health assessments, prescribing patient care management, medicines and therapies, as authorised in relevant nursing legislation, and referring to specialist Medical Practitioners and other Health Professionals in a range of health, welfare and community settings. Registration or licensing is required.

  • Registered Nurse (Aged Care)

    Provides nursing care to the elderly in community settings, residential aged care facilities, retirement villages and health care facilities. Registration or licensing is required.

  • Registered Nurse (Child and Family Health)

    Provides nursing care to children from birth to school age and their families with an emphasis on the prevention, early detection of, and early intervention in, physical, emotional and social problems affecting children and their families such as assistance with parentcraft, immunisation and developmental milestones. Registration or licensing is required.

    Specialisations: Registered Nurse (Gerontology)

  • Registered Nurse (Community Health)

    Provides nursing care, health counselling, screening and education to individuals, families and groups in the wider community with a focus on patient independence and health promotion. Registration or licensing is required.

  • Registered Nurse (Critical Care and Emergency)

    Provides nursing care to critically ill patients and patients with unstable health following injury, surgery or during the acute phase of diseases, integrating new technological equipment into care in settings such as high dependency units, intensive care units, emergency departments or retrieval services. Registration or licensing is required.

    Specialisations: Registered Nurse (Health Education and Promotion), Registered Nurse (Public Health), Registered Nurse (School Nurse)

  • Developmental Disability or Mental Retardation Nurse

    Provides nursing care to people with intellectual and development disabilities in a range of health, welfare and community settings. Registration or licensing is required.

    Specialisations: Registered Nurse (Acute Care), Registered Nurse (Emergency/Trauma), Registered Nurse (High Dependency), Registered Nurse (Neonatal Intensive Care), Registered Nurse (Paediatric Intensive Care)

  • Registered Nurse (Disability and Rehabilitation)

    Provides nursing care to patients recovering from injury and illness, and assists and facilitates patients with disabilities to live more independently. Registration or licensing is required.

  • Registered Nurse (Medical)

    Provides nursing care to patients with conditions, such as infections, metabolic disorders and degenerative conditions, which require medical intervention in a range of health, aged care and community settings. Registration or licensing is required.

    Specialisations: Registered Nurse (Rehabilitation)

  • Medical Practice Nurse

    Provides clinical care to patients, undertakes clinical organisation and practice administration, and facilitates communication within a general practice environment and between the practice and outside organisations and individuals. Registration or licensing is required.

  • Mental Health or Psychiatric Nurse

    Provides nursing care to patients with mental health illness, disorder and dysfunction, and those experiencing emotional difficulties, distress and crisis in health, welfare and aged care facilities, correctional services and the community. Registration or licensing is required.

  • Perioperative or Operating Room Nurse

    Provides nursing care to patients before, during and immediately after surgery, assesses patients' condition, plans nursing care for surgical intervention, maintains a safe and comfortable environment, assists Surgeons and Anaesthetists during surgery, and monitors patients' recovery from anaesthetic, prior to return to, or discharge from, ward. Registration or licensing is required.

    Specialisations: Registered Nurse (Child and Adolescence Mental Health), Registered Nurse (Drug and Alcohol), Registered Nurse (Psychiatric Rehabilitation), Registered Nurse (Psychogeriatric Care)

  • Registered Nurse (Surgical)

    Provides nursing care to patients with injuries and illness that require surgical intervention. Registration or licensing is required.

    Specialisations: Registered Nurse (Anaesthetic), Registered Nurse (Operating Room), Registered Nurse (Recovery)

  • Registered Nurse (Paediatrics)

    Provides nursing care to children of all ages, including neonates, across a range of health and community settings with an emphasis on assessing children’s acute and ongoing needs while taking into account physical, social, cultural and family circumstances. Registration or licensing is required.

  • Other Registered Nurses

    Includes Flight Nurse, Nursing Officer (Defence Forces), Registered Nurse (Infection Control), Registered Nurse (Remote or Rural Area). Registration or licensing is required.

Fast Facts

  • Avg. Weekly Pay

    $1,480 Before Tax
  • Future Growth

    very strong
  • Skill Level

    Bachelor Degree or higher
  • Employment Size

    257,400
  • Unemployment

    below average
  • Male Share

    13.2%
  • Female Share

    86.8%
  • Full-Time Share

    55.6%

Find Vacancies

This is a very large occupation employing 257,400 workers. Over the past 5 years the number of jobs has grown strongly.
Very strong growth is expected in the future. New jobs and turnover from workers leaving may create more than 50,000 job openings over the 5 years to 2020.

  • Registered Nurses work in most parts of Australia.
  • They nearly all work in Health Care and Social Assistance.
  • Part-time work is fairly common, but more than half work full-time. Full-time workers, on average, work 34.0 hours per week (compared to the all jobs average of 40 hours).
  • Average earnings for full-time workers are around $1,480 per week (higher than the all jobs average of $1,230). Earnings tend to be lower when starting out and higher as experience grows.
  • The average age is 43 years (compared to the all jobs average of 40 years) and around 5 in 10 workers are aged 45 years or older.
  • Around 9 in 10 workers are female.
  • In 2016, the unemployment rate was below average.

Employment Outlook

Number of Workers

Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, Department of Employment trend data to November 2015 and Department of Employment projections to 2020.
YearNumber of Workers
2005173200
2006176700
2007181700
2008180500
2009210600
2010209100
2011216300
2012231100
2013236300
2014243000
2015257400
2020308800

Weekly Earnings

Full-time Earnings

All Jobs Average

Weekly Earnings (before tax)

Source: Based on ABS Characteristics of Employment survey, August 2015, Cat. No. 6333.0, Customised Report. Median earnings are before tax and do not include superannuation. Earnings can vary greatly depending on the skills and experience of the worker and the demands of the role. These figures should be used as a guide only, not to determine a wage rate.
EarningsRegistered NursesAll Jobs Average
Full-Time Earnings14801230

Hours

Weekly Hours Worked

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Hours actually worked by people who usually work full-time, and share of employment by full-time and part-time status, for this job compared to the all jobs average.
CategoryRegistered NursesAll Jobs Average
Full-time55.668.4
Part-time44.431.6
Average Weekly Hours (full-time)34.040.0

Main Industries

Top Industries

Main Employing Industries (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Industries are based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC 06).
Main Employing IndustriesIndustry (% share)
Health Care and Social Assistance93.8
Public Administration and Safety3.4
Administrative and Support Services1.4
Education and Training0.6
Other Industries0.8

States and Territories

  • NSW

  • VIC

  • QLD

  • SA

  • TAS

  • NT

  • ACT

Employment by State and Territory (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian States and Territories, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
StateRegistered NursesAll Jobs Average
NSW31.331.8
VIC24.925.5
QLD21.419.8
SA7.56.8
WA10.111.2
TAS2.12.0
NT1.21.1
ACT1.51.8

Age Profile

Age Profile (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age BracketRegistered NursesAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
15-190.3-5.45.4
20-245.9-9.99.9
25-3424.4-23.423.4
35-4422.5-21.721.7
45-5424.6-21.121.1
55-5911.0-8.78.7
60-648.2-5.95.9
65 and Over3.2-3.83.8

Gender

Male Share

Female Share

Gender (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Male and female share of employment in this job compared to the all jobs average.
CategoryRegistered NursesCategoryAll Jobs Average
Males13.2Males53.6
Females86.8Females46.4

Education Level

Top Education Levels

Highest Level of Education (% share)

Source: ABS, Education and Work (2016). Findings based on use of ABS TableBuilder data. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Skill level requirements can change over time, the qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.
Type of QualificationRegistered NursesAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate18.5-8.68.6
Bachelor degree55.1-17.917.9
Advanced Diploma/Diploma17.1-10.110.1
Certificate III/IV7.3-18.918.9
Year 120.5-18.718.7
Years 11 & 101.1-17.717.7
Below Year 100.4-8.18.1

A Bachelor Degree or higher as well as 5 years of relevant experience is usually needed to work in this job. Registration or licensing is required.

If you are interested in this style of work, there are a wide range of training options available that could lead to this or a similar job.
The pathway that is right for you will depend on your skills and interests.

It is a good idea to speak to industry bodies, employers, and workers to learn more about the skills and qualifications you will need.

Employers look for Registered Nurses who are caring, empathetic, reliable, with strong communication and interpersonal skills.

Knowledge

The topics, subjects, or knowledge areas workers rate as most important are shown below.

  1. Medicine and Dentistry

    89% Important

    Diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.

  2. Customer and Personal Service

    86% Important

    Customer and personal services. This includes understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.

  3. Psychology

    84% Important

    Human behaviour and performance; differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioural and affective disorders.

  4. English Language

    81% Important

    English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

  5. Therapy and Counseling

    78% Important

    Diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and career counselling and guidance.

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O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. The information on this site is derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2

Learn about the daily activities, and physical and social demands faced by workers. Explore the values and work styles that workers rate as most important.

Activities

The work activities workers rate as most important are shown below.

  1. Assisting and Caring for Others

    97% Important

    Providing personal assistance, medical attention, or emotional support to people such as co-workers, customers, or patients.

  2. Documenting/Recording Information

    96% Important

    Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.

  3. Getting Information

    92% Important

    Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.

  4. Making Decisions and Solving Problems

    92% Important

    Using information to work out the best solution and solve problems.

  5. Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge

    91% Important

    Keeping up-to-date with technology and new ideas.

Occupational Information Network Registered Nurses Opens in a new window
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. The information on this site is derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2

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