Nurses who have obtained their qualifying degrees in countries that are not on this approved list must demonstrate proof of their abilities by undertaking accredited competency assessment courses in Australia. They should give references of their previous work experience, and should have minimum levels of English proficiency as shown by their scores in an approved English language test such as OET or IELTS. They may also be required to undertake a Bridging program that can bring them up to speed with the healthcare environment in the country, and should show proof of their level of knowledge and skills so that they can practice safely and confidently in Australia. This process can take anywhere between 3 months to one and a half years.
All nurses (overseas or domestic) must be registered with a State Nursing Board in Australia. The prerequisites before the registration will depend on their present level of competence or experience. Some nurses may require additional training, whereas for others a complete retraining may be required in the form of a University Bachelor’s Degree. The IRON course (Initial Registration for Overseas Registered Nurses) is accredited by the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Accreditation Council (ANMAC) and is a bridging program for nurses entering Australia. For all such training which will be undertaken in Australian educational institutions and hospitals, a student visa is required.
Those who wish to start their career at a lower level than that of an Enrolled or Registered Nurse can choose to undertake entry level courses that do not require any previous experience or training, such as a Certificate III in Individual Support (Aged Care or Disabled Care), or a Certificate III in Health Services Assistance. They can start their career as a member of a team within a hospital or clinic, and can work their way upwards by doing a Diploma of Nursing which will qualify them to become an Enrolled Nurse after successfully completing the course and obtaining registration with AHPRA. Those who are interested in the administrative side of hospitals can get started with a Certificate III in Health Administration, and manage the administrative work in a healthcare environment, from where they can work their way upwards in the management sector.