Home' The Good Universities Guide : The Good Universities Guide 2014 Contents NURSING 183
What majors can I study?
The following are just some of the majors you can study in this
What you’re in for
Nurses work closely with different health professionals, patients
and their families. They are well known for their compassion and
communication skills. As a nurse, you will encounter some people
during the most difficult times of their lives and others during the
most exciting times. This makes nursing a career that is both
rewarding and versatile.
To find out more about careers in this area, visit the
Australian Nursing Federation (ANF) website at www.anf.org.au.
This site also links you to your relevant state or territory nursing
If you are interested in nursing, you could also consider a
range of other health professions and para-professions. See the
field of study profiles for dentistry, medicine, veterinary science,
social work, rehabilitation and health services and support. There
may also be some specialisations of interest within the sciences
and the humanities and social sciences.
Courses and specialisation
Where most people think of nurses as working exclusively in
clinical practice (that is, looking after the sick or injured) and in
hospitals, there is more variety than first appears. Many work in
community education, factories, offices, schools, pharmaceutical
companies, in administration or in nurse education. There are
also many specialisations within clinical practice, such as
emergency, aged care, midwifery or intensive care.
Although some degrees will let you specialise in a particular
area, be aware that you may need to train and work in a range of
areas first and you may need to complete additional study after
graduation to work in the area you want to specialise in (this used
to be the only way to get into midwifery, but undergraduate
options are now available).
Where to study
In the past, if you wanted to be a nurse you would have applied to
a hospital and not a tertiary institution. Nurses unions (nursing is
more unionised than most occupations) agitated for 20 years to
get nurse education moved out of the hospitals and into
universities. Their main agenda was to increase the status and
pay of nurses, and they also claimed that universities could
provide the higher standard of education that nurses need. That
said, since they were first opened in universities, nursing faculties
on most campuses have had problems teaching the practical
elements of the nursing profession and making studies exciting
and relevant. More recently though, many have introduced
practical training facilities such as on-campus simulation wards.
Despite excellent employment prospects after graduation,
nursing graduates do not usually look fondly on their university
experience (see ‘The outcome’). Some courses are likely to be
better than others though, so look very carefully at the information
available and try to get detailed outlines of any course you are
considering. Also pay particular attention to the amount and kind
of practical experience you get. Try to visit the campus and ask to
talk with students as well as a staff member about these issues.
14% $61 192
3% $62 896
13% $61 239
20% $59 312
13% $64 217
15% $60 526
Is it worth it? (continued)
WHAT GRADUATES SAY
GETTING A JOB
For an explanation of abbreviations, see page 587
Child health nursing
Mental health nursing
Primary healthcare nursing
To find out which higher education providers have courses with these
specialisations, use the Index on page 562.
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