Sydney Nursing School

Facts & figures

  • #1 in Australia 2024 QS Subject Rankings in Nursing
  • #14 in the world 2024 QS Subject Rankings in Nursing
  • 98% Rate of employment after graduation for Sydney Nursing School students

How to become a nurse

Steps to becoming a registered nurse in Australia

Becoming a registered nurse (RN) is a straightforward process. After completing the HSC, you must study an accredited tertiary degree and then register as an RN through the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA).

University of Sydney nursing students stand in simulation hospital.

Find out everything you need to know about how to pursue a career in Australia’s fast-growing healthcare sector and make a meaningful impact to society as a nurse.

1. Graduate from high school

To be considered for entry into a tertiary education program in nursing, students must:

  • Have completed the HSC or another state-based equivalent. 
  • While some universities will require you to have completed prerequisite subjects, at Sydney the only nursing courses with a prerequisite are the combined degrees Bachelor of Science / Master of Nursing and Bachelor of Science (Health) / Master of Nursing.
  • Our other courses have no prerequisites!

2. Complete a university degree in nursing

Straight from high school

To become a nurse, you must complete an accredited Bachelor of Nursing degree at University. Accreditation is granted by the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Accreditation Council and approved by the NMBA.

For recent school leavers, the University of Sydney offers an NMBA accredited three-year program; the Bachelor of Nursing (Advanced Studies).

This course provides students with:

  • Essential knowledge and skills required for a career in nursing
  • Over 800 hours of clinical, hands-on experience
  • A unique advanced studies component to help students cultivate non-technical skills in leadership, research and a better understanding of the international health landscape
  • State-of-the-art facilities at the Susan Wakil Health Building
  • Small cohort of students to allow close contact with clinically current and research active academics and teaching staff.

We also offer combined degrees for students who wish to pursue their broader interests in science, health or the arts, in addition to nursing;

After completing a bachelor’s degree at university

For those who may be looking for a career change and have already completed an undergraduate degree in an area different to nursing, the University offers a Master of Nursing.

This two-year accredited program also comprises health theory and hands-on practical experience. 

This is a great degree for those people who wish to change their careers after working in a particular field for some time, or those people who have not had the opportunity to commence or grow a career following their initial degree.

3. Apply to the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia

After graduating with a nursing degree, all nurses are required to apply for registration to practice through the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia.

To be successful, all nurses must meet the mandatory registration requirements as set out by the NMBA. Registration is updated annually.

Qualified nurses from overseas who hold a valid working visa are also eligible to apply for registration to the NMBA. You must be registered before you can be made a job offer. To gain sponsorship it’s best to have at least two years of experience as a nurse in your home country.

4. Continue progressing your career with specialised education

Registered nurses can go on to pursue careers in different health specialities, including:

  • Emergency nursing
  • Mental health nursing 
  • Cancer and haematology nursing 

Many speciality areas look favourably on applicants who have completed postgraduate education in these fields as this additional study helps build on clinical experience, knowledge and skills.

Further study is essential if you are looking to take the next step in your career and advance to a role as a clinical nurse specialist, clinical nurse educator, clinical nurse consultant or nurse practitioner.

These leadership roles support you to deliver sophisticated, complex care, take on extra responsibilities and often attract a higher salary.

Explore our postgraduate study options for registered nurses.

8 December 2022

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