Registered nurse (overview)

What they do

Registered nurses administer medications, monitor treatment and provide 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 support patients to manage, treat and prevent chronic diseases, and educate the public about staying healthy. 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.

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. You will also need to hold a current Working with Children Check issued by the Working with Children Screening Unit of the Department of Communities.