Most people think of nurses as working exclusively in clinical practice (treating the sick or injured) and in hospitals, but there is a much wider variety of careers available. Nurses can work in hospital, community and industrial settings, including aged care facilities, community centres, factories, offices, schools, pharmaceutical companies and in patients’ homes. Many also work as nurse educators or nursing managers and administrators. There are also specialisations within clinical practice areas, such as emergency, aged care, mental health, midwifery, palliative care or intensive care.
VET qualifications in nursing focus on providing the skills and education required for qualification as an enrolled or ‘division 2’ nurse. Enrolled nurses are associates of registered or ‘division 2’ nurses and work under their direction and supervision. They are involved in many aspects of patient care and health promotion but, unlike registered nurses, they implement rather than plan nursing care and are not qualified to administer medications. Although enrolled nurses may end up specialising in a specific type of nursing because they choose a particular health setting, they do not have the same capacity as registered nurses to adopt a clinical specialty.