• Study nursing or midwifery. Photo credit: University of NewcastleStudy nursing or midwifery. Photo credit: University of Newcastle

Study Nursing in Australia and New Zealand

Nurses are critical to the success of any healthcare system and Australian and New Zealand-trained nurses are much in demand all over the world. At undergraduate level, the Bachelor of Nursing is a three-year professional degree that will qualify you as a General Registered Nurse. As this term suggests, the focus is on producing graduates with a strong academic and practical ability in all areas of nursing. If you wish to specialise in a particular area – for example paediatric, mental health, oncology or emergency nursing – you would do so at postgraduate level (please see information below).

This approach ensures that nursing graduates have a huge number of options open to them after they finish studying, and are able to decide whether they want to focus on one area at a later stage (often after having worked and gained real-world professional experience) rather than being restricted in their career by only being trained in one area of nursing.

Alternative courses are available for students who would prefer to study to diploma rather than degree level. Please contact a Study Options student advisor to find out more about Diploma of Nursing courses.

There are also professional conversion courses available for people who have already qualified as a nurse outside Australia or New Zealand, as well as graduate entry nursing programmes aimed at those who already hold a Bachelors degree in a different subject who wish to retrain and qualify as nurses. This course is usually called the Master of Nursing Practice, and it is offered at several Australian universities including Monash University in Melbourne – click here for details.

Postgraduate nursing programmes in Australia and New Zealand offer already-qualified nursing professionals the opportunity to specialise or further develop their skills in a particular area. Master of Nursing courses offer specialisms including paediatrics, critical care, nursing education, emergency nursing, disaster and emergency management, aged care, advanced medical and surgical, mental health, palliative care, and nursing management. They are aimed at nurses looking to take their careers to the next level.

Midwifery

Midwifery is offered as a single professional clinical degree by the University of Queensland, AUT, Otago Polytechnic and CPIT. All these courses prepare students for successful careers as midwives and aim to equip them with the skills to work in partnership with women and their families to provide excellent levels of care before, during and after childbirth. A significant proportion of time during study is spent in clinical experience, as considerable amounts of practical experience are essential to becoming a confident, competent midwife.

Midwifery can also be studied as a double degree with the Bachelor of Nursing (this dual course requires four years of study, rather than three) which is an excellent option for those hoping to work in remote or rural settings in the future. Qualified midwives can undertake a Master of Midwifery to further develop and specialise their skills and experience.

Paramedicine

At the front line of medical care in the community, a paramedic must be able to provide expert, skilled medical care before someone can be taken to hospital. Paramedics often work in remote or difficult environments, away from the support of other health professionals. The critical and complex decision-making required of them is developed in these degrees. A significant amount of time during study is spent on clinical placement – at AUT in New Zealand, as much as a third of the degree is based on practical experience gained in varied settings including ambulance services, hospitals, mental health institutions, ski fields, and community or primary health centres.

This is a three year specialist undergraduate degree available at Monash University in Melbourne, Flinders University in Adelaide and AUT in Auckland. La Trobe University in Melbourne offers paramedicine as part of a 4-year double degree, the Bachelor of Paramedic Practice and Bachelor of Public Health Promotion.