Nurse Education in Australia

Each country has slightly differing nurse and midwife education frameworks, as does each state and territory in Australia. Basically though nursing is a three tiered structure. There are Registered Nurses, Enrolled Nurses, also previously known as Division 2 in Victoria, and a third level in most states and territories which is not regulated by the Nursing and Midwifery Regulatory Authority (Assistant in Nursing or Personal Care Attendant etc.). Currently the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Council accredit all courses leading to enrolment or registration in Australia. They are also the body that provides skilled migration assessments for overseas nurses. For a comprehensive list of accredited Nursing courses in Australia go to Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia website

Registered Nurse/ Registered Midwife

This is the highest level of education in the main structure of undergraduate nurse education. To be eligible for registration as a Registered Nurse or Midwife in Australia you must complete a Bachelor of Nursing or Bachelor of Midwifery at a University. This is generally a 3 or 4 year degree course which involves both academic and clinical studies. There are many Universities in Australia these are listed on the Nursing and Midwifery accreditation web page.

Post Graduate Courses for Registered Nurses and Midwives

There are many post graduate pathways for Registered Nurses in Australia however there are only two which are recognized on your registration, as Endorsements, by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia. Both these pathways have specific courses which lead to formal recognition of these qualifications as an Endorsement.

Endorsement as a Midwife

To be recognized as an Eligible Midwife you can do this in two ways. There is a direct entry course which qualifies for Midwifery only – you cannot work in General Nursing Areas. There is also a post graduate course which leads to Endorsement on your registration as a Midwife. This allows the holder to work in either General Nursing or Midwifery, however Recency of Practice regulations require that you maintain competency in each area.See the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia website

Endorsement as a Nurse Practitioner

This is a senior clinician position in the Nursing structure and requires a nurse to have had at least five years clinical experience in a specialty. To be recognized as a Nurse Practitioner you must fulfill the criteria for each individual area of specialty. Se the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia for more details

Special Endorsements

There is also an Endorsement for Nurses and Midwives with special prescribing rights, these are related to specific areas of practice. There is -

Scheduled Medicines – Supply scheduled medicines rural and isolated practice

Scheduled Medicines – for eligible Midwives

Enrolled Nurse

This is the second level nurse who works under direction and supervision of a Registered Nurse. The Enrolled Nurse was known as a Division 2 Nurse in Victoria until recently. With the introduction of National Registration this has been renamed as Enrolled Nurse (Division 2). There have also been levels within the Enrolled Nurse qualifications with some being termed Endorsed Enrolled Nurse, these Enrolled Nurses had undertaken courses to enable them to undertake limited administration of medications. However now all undergraduate Enrolled Nurse courses include Medication Administration, this division will be transitioned out. An Enrolled Nurse Qualification, Diploma of Nursing can be undertaken in a TAFE.

Non Nursing Personal Care Workers or Assistants in Nursing

Most States have a health care position that assists in nursing duties but is not regulated by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia. This workforce development has been the topic of much discussion and dilemma. This role has been infiltrating the health care system over the last 10 years and there is fear that, as this role is unregulated, it could potentially diminish the standards of care being delivered to the public. This issue is ongoing and will be a major workforce issue into the future.

Qualifications Are Rewarded!

There is a positive though for nurse with other post graduate qualifications. Each state has a Nursing Awards provision for extra salary payments for post graduate qualifications. So you will get a bonus for all that hard work.

You can find information about most States and Territories at the following Websites

Victoria -

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