Nurse practitioner

What they do

Nurse practitioners are registered nurses who have completed advanced study and clinical training to specialise in nursing fields such as geriatric primary care, mental health care, general care and wound care. They use their nursing knowledge in the assessment, diagnosis and evaluation of care required for a patient.

They develop individual care plans for patients for a variety of acute and chronic illnesses, and also order diagnostic investigations and refer patients to other health care specialists as needed. Nurse practitioners work in direct service delivery positions throughout the State.

Working conditions

Nurse practitioners may work in general medical practices, community health practices, private and public hospitals, correctional facilities, aged care facilities and after hours clinics.

They may be required to do shift work including weekends and public holidays, and their working times may be irregular.

Tools and technologies

Nurse practitioners regularly use computers to maintain client records, prescribe medications and consult pharmaceutical manuals. They may also administer medicines, such as vaccinations. They may require a driver’s licence in order to visit patients in their homes, or attend health clinics at various locations in the community.

How do I become one?

Education and training

To become a nurse practitioner, you must first become a qualified registered nurse. You must also complete between two and three years of clinical practice in a selected specialisation and obtain a postgraduate qualification in nurse practitioner.

To become a registered nurse, you usually need to study a degree in nursing at university. Most universities in Western Australia offer relevant nursing courses. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.

Curtin University offers the 3-year Master of Nurse Practitioner and Edith Cowan University offers the 18-month Master of Nursing (Nurse Practitioner). These are the only universities offering postgraduate nurse practitioner courses in Western Australia.

Required registration and licensing

To work as a nurse practitioner in Western Australia, you will need to obtain registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia. You will need to hold a Working with Children Check from the Department of Communities.