Enrolled Nurses (ENs) play a crucial role in the Australian healthcare system, providing essential nursing care to patients in various settings. ENs work under the supervision of Registered Nurses (RNs) and perform a wide range of tasks, from administering medications to monitoring vital signs, assisting with activities of daily living, and providing emotional support to patients and their families.
If you’re considering a career as an EN in Australia, this article will give you an overview of the job outlook, education and training requirements, typical duties and responsibilities, and career prospects in this field.
According to the Job Outlook website, the employment for Enrolled Nurses in Australia is expected to grow strongly in the next five years. This growth is driven by several factors, including an ageing population, the increasing demand for healthcare services, and the ongoing shortage of skilled nurses in some regions and sectors.
Currently, there are around 56,000 ENs working in Australia, with the majority (over 70%) employed in the health care and social assistance sector. ENs are also employed in other sectors such as education and training, public administration and safety, and professional, scientific and technical services.
Education and Training
To become an EN in Australia, you need to complete a Diploma of Nursing, which is a nationally accredited course that combines theoretical and practical training in nursing. The course typically takes 12 to 18 months to complete, and includes supervised clinical placements in hospitals, aged care facilities, community health centres, and other healthcare settings.
To enrol in a Diploma of Nursing course, you need to meet certain entry requirements, including:
- Having completed year 12 or equivalent
- Being proficient in English
- Having a valid police check and immunisation record
- Passing a pre-training assessment
After completing the Diploma of Nursing, you need to apply for registration with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and meet the registration standards for ENs. These standards include having a current CPR certificate, undergoing a criminal history check, and meeting the professional conduct and performance standards.
Duties and Responsibilities
The specific duties and responsibilities of ENs in Australia vary depending on the setting and context of their work. However, some common tasks and roles of ENs include:
- Administering medications, including injections, oral and topical medications, and intravenous fluids
- Monitoring and recording vital signs, such as blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, and respiratory rate
- Assisting with personal care tasks, such as bathing, dressing, grooming, and toileting
- Providing emotional and social support to patients and their families
- Assisting with diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, such as wound care, catheterisation, and nasogastric tube insertion
- Participating in the development and implementation of care plans, and collaborating with RNs and other healthcare professionals to ensure the best outcomes for patients
- Maintaining accurate and timely documentation of patient care activities, and adhering to legal and ethical standards of practice
- Participating in quality improvement and infection control activities, and contributing to the ongoing learning and development of the nursing team
ENs in Australia have various career pathways and opportunities to advance their skills and knowledge, and progress in their nursing career. Some of the potential career paths for ENs include:
- Specialisation in a specific area of nursing, such as aged care, mental health, paediatrics, perioperative nursing, or rural and remote nursing
- Advancement to a more senior role, such as an RN, Nurse Unit Manager, Clinical Nurse Consultant, or Nurse Practitioner
- Taking on leadership and management roles, such as a team leader, coordinator, or educator
- Pursuing research and innovation in nursing, and contributing to the development of new knowledge and practices in the field.Pursuing further education and training, such as a Bachelor of Nursing, which can lead to higher levels of responsibility, autonomy, and salary
In terms of salary, ENs in Australia earn an average annual income of around $80,000, according to PayScale. However, this can vary depending on factors such as location, experience, and sector of employment.