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.

    Specialisations: Registered Nurse (Gerontology)

  • 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.

  • 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.

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

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

    Specialisations: Registered Nurse (Rehabilitation)

  • 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.

  • 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.

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

  • 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 (Anaesthetic), Registered Nurse (Operating Room), Registered Nurse (Recovery)

  • Registered Nurse (Surgical)

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

  • 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

  • $1,480 Weekly Pay
  • 279,600 workers Employment Size
  • Very strong Future Growth
  • Very high skill Skill level rating
  • Lower unemployment Unemployment
  • 53.7% Full-Time Full-Time Share
  • 34.4 hours Average full-time
  • 42 years Average age
  • 87.7% female Gender Share

The number of Registered Nurses grew very strongly over the past 5 years and is expected to grow very strongly over the next 5 years:
from 279,600 in 2018 to 330,900 by 2023.
Job openings can come from new jobs being created, but most come from turnover (workers leaving).
There are likely to be around 147,000 job openings over 5 years (that's about 29,400 a year).

  • Size: This is a very large occupation.
  • Unemployment: Unemployment was below average in 2017.
  • Location: Registered Nurses work in most regions of Australia.
  • Industries: Most work in the Health Care and Social Assistance industry.
  • Earnings: Full-time workers earn 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.
  • Full-time: More than half work full-time (53.7%, similar to the all jobs average of 68.4%), but there are many opportunities to work part-time.
  • Hours: Full-time workers spend around 34.4 hours per week at work (compared to the all jobs average of 40.0 hours).
  • Age: The average age is 42 years (compared to the all jobs average of 40 years).
  • Gender: 87.7% of workers are female (compared to the all jobs average of 46.7%).

Employment Outlook

Number of Workers

Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, Department of Jobs and Small Business trend data to May 2018 and Department of Jobs and Small Business projections to 2023.
YearNumber of Workers
2008175700
2009195600
2010214000
2011211000
2012225900
2013228900
2014236000
2015260100
2016261700
2017282200
2018279600
2023330900

Weekly Earnings

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

Main Industries

Main Employing Industries (% Share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2017, 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 Assistance93.1
Public Administration and Safety5.1
Administrative and Support Services1.0
Education and Training0.3
Other Industries0.5

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 2017, 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
NSW29.631.6
VIC25.926.2
QLD22.119.7
SA8.26.7
WA9.310.8
TAS2.22.0
NT1.51.1
ACT1.21.8

Age Profile

Age Profile (% Share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2017, 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
15-190.3-5.25.2
20-247.3-9.99.9
25-3426.5-23.623.6
35-4422.1-21.721.7
45-5421.8-20.820.8
55-5911.5-8.88.8
60-647.0-6.06.0
65 and Over3.6-4.04.0

Education Level

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.

Before starting a course, check it will provide you with the skills and qualifications you need.

  • Compare undergraduate and postgraduate student experiences and outcomes on the QILT website.
  • Compare Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses, providers and student outcomes on the My Skills website.
  • You might be interested in Health Industry VET training pathways on the AAPathways website.

The course listings on this page are provided by Good Education Group.

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

Knowledge

These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.

  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.

Occupational Information Network
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 29-1141.00 - Registered Nurses.

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

These are kinds of activities workers regularly do in this job.

  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
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 29-1141.00 - Registered Nurses.

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