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The Bachelor of Nursing offers students knowledge of the health care system and the abilities to work to promote and maintain the health of individuals and communities. Students will study nursing therapeutics, human bioscience, aged care, mental health, and the foundations of nursing.
Graduates are valued for their ability to make tangible, physiologically positive differences in people’s lives in a wide range of health care settings. Currently, employment opportunities for nurses are plentiful, in primary health services, community centres, aged care facilities, mental health facilities, hospitals, and acute care, whether in Australia or overseas. Registered nurses may also specialise in fields such as surgery, intensive care, mental health, palliative care, and paediatrics.
Graduates of this program are eligible to apply for registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia, under the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme administered by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency. Application overseas is also available in this internationally recognised degree.
Some jobs require additional qualifications at Honours level. Honours is a one year stand-alone program, completed after successfully fulfilling the requirements of the undergraduate degree. View Bachelor of Nursing (Honours)
Some occupations require a higher level of completed study than an undergraduate degree, and for this reason it is worthwhile considering the range of postgraduate study options available. Postgraduate study may also be useful for specialising in a particular area, or to stimulate career change. Some of the postgraduate study options following the Bachelor of Nursing include:
After completing a degree there are a broad range of postgraduate options available in a variety of fields which can allow you to specialise in a particular area of interest or build upon your existing knowledge base. To explore such options please visit the Postgraduate Handbook.
Upon completion of the degree, Nursing graduates are eligible to apply for registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia and practice as Registered Nurses in Australia as well as in many overseas countries. Once qualified as a Registered Nurse, professional experience and further study will allow Registered Nurses to pursue a range of specialisations and advanced roles within the nursing profession. Below is a list of sample jobs that are typical for nursing graduates.
- Child and Family Health Nurse
- Clinical Nurse/Midwife Educator
- Clinical Nurse/Midwife Specialist
- Community Mental Health Nurse
- Community Registered Nurse
- Emergency Nurse Specialist
- Flight Nurse
- Immunisation Nurse
While many graduates pursue careers that are closely linked to the degree they have studied, others use their degree in different ways. Nursing graduates can use their skills and knowledge to pursue careers other than nursing, whether still within the health sector or in other more generic areas. The list of jobs below shows some examples of alternative jobs that nursing graduates might be able to pursue. Some of these jobs may require additional study and qualifications, while some may only require the completion of a nursing degree.
- Aid Worker
- Case Worker/Manager
- Child Protection Officer
- Diabetes Educator
- Drug and Alcohol Counsellor
- Echocardiography Technologist
- Genetic Counsellor
- Graduate Programs - Public and Private Sectors
- Health Promotion Officer
Getting the Edge
Most employers seek to recruit people who have relevant work experience and an appreciation for their industry. Here is a check list of ideas about gaining experience and industry knowledge.
- Check the type of experience most employers in your field of interest expect. Don’t overlook the part time work you may be currently doing. Most employers understand that the skills are transferrable even if the work is not in their industry.
- Check your academic program for any courses that involve a placement or the opportunity to undertake an industry based project.
- Check your school for Summer Scholarships for research opportunities.
- Check vacancy sites for advertised traineeships, part time employment and vacation work opportunities in your field.
- Source and approach organisations directly about possible work shadowing or information interview opportunities.
- Source and approach organisations directly for paid work opportunities.
- Consider volunteering.
Note: Gaining experience may be important but not at the expense of your studies. Make sure you do not overload your timetable with unrealistic work commitments.
Nurses will typically find work in primary health services, community centres, aged care facilities, mental health facilities, hospitals, and acute care. Below are some examples of organisations that may recruit Bachelor of Nursing graduates.
Check employers' websites for sections titled Employment, Careers, Graduate Programs, or for similar sections. Some employers may also offer vacation work opportunities.
- ACON (Australia)
- ACT Health (Australia)
- Ambulance Service of NSW (Australia)
- Australian Defence Force (International)
- Corrective Services NSW (Australia)
- Council of Remote Area Nurses of Australia (Australia)
- CRS Australia (Australia)
- Department of Health and Ageing (Australia)
- Domain Principal Group (Australia)
- Eastern Health (Australia)
- Healthscope Limited (Australia)
- Heart Foundation (Australia)
- Hunter New England Health (Australia)
- Medicins Sans Frontieres (Australia)
- Northern Health (Australia)
- NSW Department of Community Services (Australia)
- NSW Department of Health (Australia)
- NT Health (Australia)
- QLD Health (Australia)
- Red Cross (Australia)
- Remote Area Health Corps (Australia)
- Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia (Australia)
- SA Health (Australia)
- Sids and Kids (Australia)
- St. Vincents Health and Aged Care (Australia)
- Tresillian Care Centres (Australia)
- UNICEF Australia (International)
- VicHealth (Australia)
- WA Health (Australia)
- World Health Organisation (Australia)
Some large organisations have specific graduate recruitment programs designed to employ the pick of graduates each year. You must be in your final year of study or recently completed to apply for these programs. The timing of these recruitment drives varies and may occur at any point in the academic year, in some cases starting as early as the first few weeks of the first semester or trimester.
Find out if employers in your area/s of interest have graduate programs, when they typically recruit and what recruitment methods they use. Check with the Careers Service .
Job Prospects and Salary
For up-to-date information please see Job Outlook Australia. This site provides basic Australian labour market information including job prospects, skills requirements and salaries. You might try some of the classifications below as a guide on this site.
Societies and Associations
Associations and societies often provide relevant and up to date information about a variety of issues relating to specific industry sectors. These can be a good starting point to learn more about occupations through profiles, industry news, links to academic journals and information on research developments. Many also offer student membership, conference and professional development activities, newsletters and the opportunity to participate in projects.
- Association of Private Nursing Services (Australia)
- Australasian Neuroscience Nurse Association Inc (Australia)
- Australasian Rehabilitation Nurses Association (ARNA) (Australia)
- Australian and New Zealand Urological Nurses Society Inc (Australia)
- Australian Association of Stomal Therapy Nurses Inc (NSW Branch) (Australia)
- Australian College of Children and Young People's Nurses (ACCYPN) (Australia)
- Australian College of Critical Care Nurses Ltd (Australia)
- Australian College of Emergency Nursing (Australia)
- Australian College of Mental Health Nurses (Australia)
- Australian College of Neonatal Nurses (Australia)
- Australian College of Occupational Health Nurses (NSW Branch) (Australia)
- Australian College of Operating Room Nurses (Australia)
- Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (Australia)
- Australian Day Surgery Nurses Association (Australia)
- Australian Diabetes Educators Association (Australia)
- Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Australia)
- Australian Nurse Teachers Society (Australia)
- Australian Nurses for Continence (Australia)
- Australian Nursing and Midwifery Accreditation Council (Australia)
- Australian Nursing Federation (Australia)
- Australian Ophthalmic Nurses Association Inc (Australia)
- Australian Practice Nurses of Australia (Australia)
- Australian Rehabilitation Nurses Association (Australia)
- Australian Rural Nurses and Midwives (ARNM) (Australia)
- Australian Sexual Health Nurses Association (ASHNA) (Australia)
- Australian Society of Post Anaesthesia & Anaesthesia (Australia)
- Australian Society of Vascular Nurses (Australia)
- Australian Women's Health Nurses Association Inc (Australia)
- Australian Wound Management Association (Australia)
- Cancer Nurses Society of Australia (Australia)
- Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand (Australia)
- The Child and Family Health Nurses Association (Australia)
- Clinical Nurse Consultants Association of NSW (Australia)
- The College of Nursing (Australia)
- Community Nurse Audiometrists Association Inc (Australia)
- Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses (Australia)
- Day Surgery Nurses Association (Australia)
- Drug and Alcohol Nurses of Australasia (Australia)
- Emergency Nurses Association of NSW (Australia)
- Endocrine Nurses Society of Australia (Australia)
- Flight Nurses Australia Inc (Australia)
- Gastroenterological Nurses College of Australia (Australia)
- Gynaecological Oncology Nursing Group (Australia)
- International Association for Human Caring (International)
- International Council of Nurses (International)
- International Society of Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurses (International)
- National Rural Health Alliance (Australia)
- Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (Australia)
- Nursing Informatics Australia (Australia)
- Nursing Unit Managers Society of NSW (Australia)
- Professional Association of Nurses in Developmental Disability Areas Inc (Australia)
- Psychogeriatric Nurses Association (Australia)
- Rehabilitation Counselling Association of Australasia (International)
- Respiratory Nurses Interest Group NSW (Australia)
- Royal College of Nursing Australia (Australia)
- Spinal Injury Nurses Association Inc (Australia)
- Transplant Nurses Association (Australia)
Don’t overlook student societies and associations. As well as student chapters of professional associations, some faculties or schools have discipline based student associations. Check your school or faculty web site; perhaps you might start one if one doesn’t exist.
Some academic disciplines run Seminar Programs that involve regular seminars presented by University of Newcastle academics, visiting academics and postgraduate students. Check your schools website for the timetable.
Job Search Sites
Searching job sites is a good way to gain an understanding of: industries recruiting professionals in this field; types of roles and the requirements or expectations of employers for these roles. There are many online job search sites, here are a few to start with:
Australian and International
- CareerHub: the University of Newcastle Careers Service careers and job search site for enrolled students and graduates.
- CareerOne: Australia wide job listings, all levels and industries including executive positions
- MyCareer: Australian and international listings
- Seek: comprehensive Australian job listings, also includes New Zealand and UK listings
- The Big Chair: Management and Executive Jobs
Graduate attributes for the Bachelor of Nursing are the necessary skills, abilities and knowledge acquired through this program. Below is the complete list of attributes that graduates will have demonstrated upon the completion of the degree.
- Practice in a way that demonstrates respect for and appreciation of the person as an individual as well as their family and community
- Practice in a holistic way that that takes into account the physical, mental, spiritual and social well-being of individuals/groups
- Establish partnerships and therapeutic relationships that are goal-directed while maintaining professional boundaries
- Demonstrate sound critical thinking and clinical reasoning in the provision of nursing care for clients across the life-span
- Demonstrate culturally safe nursing practice and the facilitation of environments that promote individual and group safety and security
- Demonstrate cultural safety based upon an understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, culture and history
- Reflect on and critically analyse practice with a view to ongoing improvement and life-long learning
- Identify and address factors that have the potential to impact negatively on patient safety
- Practice in accordance with legislation and ethical and professional frameworks that affect nursing practice and healthcare
- Critically appraise nursing research and integrate evidence into clinical practice
- Plan, prioritise, implement and evaluate nursing care that is comprehensive, safe and effective, and based upon accurate health assessment data
- Implement health promotion and health education as primary healthcare strategies aimed at illness prevention
- Apply a quality use of medicines framework to ensure safe medication practices
- Utilise information and communication technology to support learning and inform clinical practice
- Apply knowledge of the structure and function of the human body, pathophysiology, pharmacology and psychological processes to inform nursing practice and optimise client outcomes
- Communicate and collaborate effectively with members of the healthcare team
- Improve the quality of life of individuals and families who are dealing with life-threatening illness through the provision of evidenced-based and holistic nursing care