Registered nurse (overview)

What they do

Registered nurses care for patients through the administration of medications, monitoring treatment and providing information to patients and their families about treatment and care. They may evaluate and assist patients suffering from critical life-threatening injuries and illnesses. They may also support patients to manage, treat and prevent chronic diseases, and educate the public about staying healthy. They work as part of a larger team, with other skilled healthcare professionals including doctors, occupational therapists, paramedics and pharmacists. Registered nurses work all over the state providing nursing care to restore health to patients.

Working conditions

Registered nurses work in private and public hospitals, aged and palliative care nursing homes, community and home-based services, remote areas, schools and in medical offices or clinics. They may be expected to make sure that their working environments are kept safe and sterile. 

Registered nurses may be required to do shiftwork including weekends and public holidays, and their working times may be irregular.

Tools and technologies

Registered nurses may use medical equipment such as stethoscopes, sphygmomanometers (blood pressure meter), thermometers, oxygen saturation monitors, electrocardiogram machines (ECG), syringes, as well as gauze for dressing wounds and burns. They may also administer medication, injections and vaccinations. 

Registered nurses may regularly use computers to maintain patient care records and consult pharmaceutical manuals.

How do I become one?

Education and training

To become a registered nurse, you usually need to study a degree in nursing at university.

Most universities in Western Australia offer relevant courses. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.

Once you are qualified as a registered nurse, you can choose to work as a general registered nurse, or you can complete a graduate course in a specialisation that interests you. This may include burns, cardiology, community health, emergency, and many more. 


Required registration and licensing

To work as a registered nurse in Western Australia, you will need to obtain registration from the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia website. You will also need to hold a current Working with Children Check (WWC Check). Visit the Working with Children website for information on how to apply for a WWC Check.