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Registered nurse (overview)

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Summary of occupation

​​Registered nurses administer medications, monitor treatment and provide information to patients and their families about treatment and care. They may evaluate and assist patients suffering from critical life-threatening injuries and illnesses. They support patients to manage, treat and prevent chronic diseases, and educate the public about staying healthy. Registered nurses work all over the state providing nursing care to restore health to patients.

ANZSCO description: Registered nurses provide nursing care to patients in hospitals, aged care and other health care facilities, and in the community.
Alternative names:
Job prospects: Average
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

​​A registered nurse needs:

  • good communication and listening skills
  • a caring and compassionate nature
  • a mature and responsible attitude
  • the ability to take initiative in emergencies
  • the ability to cope with the physical and psychological demands of the job
  • discretion and respect for patient confidentiality.
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Working conditions

Registered nurses work in private and public hospitals, aged and palliative care nursing homes, community and home-based services, remote areas, schools and in medical offices or clinics. They may be expected to make sure that their working environments are kept safe and sterile.  

Registered nurses may be required to do shiftwork including weekends and public holidays, and their working times may be irregular.

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Salary details

​On average, registered nurses can expect to earn between $1 000 and $1 249 per week ($65 000 and $77 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience.

Registered nurses with advanced specialist training and years of experience can earn considerably more.

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Tools and technologies

​Registered nurses may use medical equipment such as stethoscopes, sphygmomanometers (blood pressure meter), thermometers, oxygen saturation monitors, electrocardiogram machines (ECG), syringes, as well as gauze for dressing wounds and burns. They may also administer medication, injections and vaccinations.  

Registered nurses may regularly use computers to maintain patient care records and consult pharmaceutical manuals.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

​To become a registered nurse you need to study nursing at university.

Most universities in Western Australia offer degrees in nursing. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.

Once you are qualified as a registered nurse, you can choose to work as a general registered nurse, or you can complete a graduate course in a specialisation that interests you.

To work as a registered nurse in Western Australia, you must obtain professional registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia, and hold a current Working with Children Check issued by the Working with Children Screening Unit of the Department of Community Services.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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