Nursing is one of the most challenging, rewarding and diverse career options out there. There are great opportunities for career progression and lots of scope for applying your skills in different settings. Schools, care homes, hospitals and doctor’s surgeries within the community are just some of the places you could find yourself working.
The type of nurse you become will, in part, depend upon your level of training. Enrolled nurses train for two years at a Registered Training Organisation, learning all of the practical skills necessary to treat and care for patients. Registered nurses undergo a longer training program of three years. This takes place within a university. They are expected to understand nursing theory as well as practice and are generally paid a little more than enrolled nurses. Nurse practitioners are even more qualified and have more responsibility for prescribing and dictating the kind of care their patients get.
Here are just some of the roles you can perform as a trained nurse:
A nurse midwife helps women through their pregnancy and labour. You’ll help to prepare women for giving birth and support them in the first days with their new baby. This can be a very rewarding job as you’ll see new life coming into the world each and every day.
As a nurse educator, you’ll be responsible for teaching nursing skills and theory to less experienced nurses. This is a great way to combine your nursing experience with teaching. Many nurses who have been working for a long time find that this is a good way to expand their skills and the scope of their work.
Intensive Care Nurse
An intensive care nurse cares for patients who are in a critical state. You’ll need to be able to respond quickly in case any of the patients on your ward suddenly takes a turn for the worse.
Palliative Care Nurse
A palliative care nurse is responsible for patients suffering from a terminal illness. At this sometimes frightening and painful time, you’ll help to make patients as comfortable as possible and support them in maintaining their quality of life throughout these final stages.
Nursing skills are required the world over. You can choose to work at hospitals and clinics overseas. You could even join an organisation like MSF to work within less developed countries where medical services are limited.
An oncology nurse helps to care for people with cancer. Through diagnosis and treatment you’ll be there to support and care for your patients.
A school nurse has responsibility for the care of the children attending that school. You will tend to cuts and bumps to the head, assess when an injury needs hospital attention and provide medical advice. If you enjoy working with children, this could be a great option for you.
Mental Health Nurse
As a mental health nurse you’ll be supporting patients who have a wide range of mental illnesses. From depression to eating disorders, addictions to schizophrenia, you’ll be trained to work and support people suffering from these conditions in hospitals, schools or clinics.
To be an A&E nurse you have to work well under pressure. You’ll be working as part of a fast paced team to care for patients requiring emergency treatment. You won’t get to know your patients very well but you’ll be saving lives on a daily basis.
Nursing is an incredibly diverse profession. Whether you’re looking for a fast-paced work environment or something more sedate, to spend time with the elderly or with children, work at home or abroad, there’s a nursing role for you.
With a background in business administration and management, Tess Pajaron currently works at Open Colleges, Australia’s leading online educator. She likes to cover stories in careers and marketing.