Courses and specialisations
Undergraduate qualifications in nursing include bachelor degrees in nursing and midwifery. The completion of a bachelor of nursing degree qualifies graduates to work as a nurse at the registered or 'division 1' level. Registered nurses have higher qualifications than enrolled or division 2 nurses and are able to perform a wider range of tasks (see Nursing jobs in Australia for details).
The completion of a bachelor of midwifery qualifies graduates to work as a midwife. Students wishing to become a midwife are also able to complete a bachelor of nursing and then complete training in midwifery at postgraduate level. Double degrees in nursing and midwifery enable graduates to work as both a registered nurse and a midwife.
Although some degrees allow students to specialise in a particular area of nursing (such as psychiatric nursing or surgical nursing), you may need to work in a range of areas and complete additional study after graduating in order to work in the area in which you want to specialise.
Applicants must meet academic and English language entry requirements, which vary between courses, institutions and qualification levels. Some undergraduate courses in nursing require the completion of prerequisite studies in mathematics in secondary school. Applicants who have completed a VET qualification in nursing or who have relevant work experience are able to enter undergraduate degrees through special pathways with credit. Applicants may need to obtain required immunisations, a police check and a Working with Children Check in order to complete clinical placements. For more information about undergraduate qualifications and entry requirements, see Higher Education Undergraduate.
Where to study
Nursing courses are widely available at undergraduate level and are offered around Australia by most universities and some TAFE institutes.
Since practical experience is an important aspect of nursing courses, it is important to check that the courses and institutions you are considering have good facilities (such as on-campus health clinics and simulation wards), offer a number of clinical placements and provide access to the latest equipment. The best courses should also have good contacts with industry and employers.