Who can study a postgraduate nursing course?
Every university had different entry requirements but common requirements include:.
- Completion of an AQF Level 7 Bachelor of Nursing or relevant undergraduate degree.
- Current registration as a health care professional in Australia.
- Registration as a Registered Nurse (Division 1).
- A minimum of one year experience working part-time or full-time in the industry.
Speak to a Student Advisor to confirm if you qualify to study a postgraduate nursing course.
Types of postgraduate nursing courses
Online postgraduate study enables you build hands-on skills and grow your theoretical knowledge while you work. You will learn technical skills as well as the interpersonal management ‘soft-skills’ that are in growing demand in the nursing industry.
Postgraduate nursing courses can be completed at a graduate certificate, graduate diploma or masters degree level. Some courses are specialised and include a major whereas others are more generalised.
- Leadership and management
This focus area enables you to develop the skills required to become a healthcare leader and Build your understanding of health systems holistically to achieve better person-centred care. You may also gain people and business management skills to lead in nursing and broader healthcare settings. Depending on the program, topics may include business and financial management, leadership in health and social care organisations, change in the health system and people management.
Build your skills and knowledge to become an effective educator in clinical or non-clinical environments. Learn the foundational principles of education in contemporary healthcare settings and how to teach in practice settings.
- Acute care:
A program that focuses on acute care enables you to gain skills in comprehensive physical assessment and diagnostic reasoning, quality and safety in medicines, plus managing clinical deterioration and responding to nursing-sensitive indicators in acute care settings.
- Quality and safety:
Skills in quality and safety are integral in improving person-centred care. These skills are in high demand and are a focus of the National Safety and Quality Health Services (NSQHS) Standards. This topic focuses on implementing innovative systems and services, enabling nurses to gain advanced skills to improve overall safety and quality for consumers regardless of the healthcare setting.
- Advanced practice:
This major builds advanced skills to deliver patient care across healthcare settings and specialisations within the areas of advanced health assessment, diagnostic reasoning and use of medicines in practice.
- Mental health nursing:
A specialisation in mental health nursing equips professionals with the skills and knowledge to offer professional support and respond to challenges as a credentialed mental health nurse.
- Critical care:
Postgraduate studies in critical care teach you how to manage fast-paced environments, understand core critical care concepts and evaluate complex patient data and develop the skills to care for people with life-threatening conditions, injuries and complications.
- Chronic disease and aging:
This specialisation focuses on the physical, mental and psychological factors that are associated with chronic diseases and aging. This area of study looks at the role of nurses as advocates for early detection, evidence-based care and evaluation of care programs for patients.
You will learn character-based skills in your studies that you can apply on the job. Having the knowledge to do your job is important, but the skills you use to apply what you have learned is an integral part of being a nurse. Now, more than ever, these skills will equip you to handle the changing nature of the industry.
Learning transferable skills allows you to excel in various clinical settings. The healthcare industry is evolving and being able to innovate and adapt to technological advancements is key.
- Interpersonal skills:
Effective communicators create positive environments to be able to handle dynamic situations, work productively with colleagues and treat patients with respect and empathy.
Depending on the course you choose, you can apply the skills you gain to:
- Step into senior nursing and leadership roles.
- Become a transformational leader.
- Improve your clinical practice.
- Build highly functional teams.
- Develop individual and team resilience.
- Improve workplace culture.
- Be at the forefront of improving quality and safety standards in healthcare.
Career outcomes for online nursing courses
Nurses with postgraduate qualifications can qualify for the following:
Nurse unit manager
- Salary range: $78–$128K/year.
- Skills in acute care can positively affect nurse manager salaries.
- According to Job Outlook there is very strong future growth for this role Other potential roles include: nurse manager, nurse manager resource allocation, after-hours nurse manager, clinical unit nurse manager.
Clinical Nurse consultant and clinical nurse specialist
- Salary range: $90–$150K.
- These roles have very strong future growth prospects.
- Ideal for a postgraduate-qualified nurse seeking a leadership role and who is ready to be at the forefront of nursing care in a clinical setting, acute or chronic and complex care environments.
Clinical nurse educator
- Salary average: $108K.
- These roles are suited to a nurse who aspires to work in education and training of other nurses and to facilitate wide-ranging and meaningful change.
Benefits of studying postgraduate nursing online
- Study around your career and life – online postgraduate study complements nurses’ shift work and busy family and social lives.
- The online accelerated learning model lets you focus on one unit at a time over a seven-week term. Some universities offer up to six entails per year.
- Complete your masters in two years or a graduate certificate in eight months.
- Take breaks based on your life and work needs, then pick up study again when it’s convenient for you. Online learning platforms are accessible anywhere, any time, on any device.
Choosing the right online nursing course for you
Masters degrees allow you to build skills and knowledge across different areas of nursing – for example, critical care and leadership. Most have graduate certificate and graduate diploma qualifications embedded within them, so you can work toward your masters at your own pace, acquiring new skills and career-boosting qualifications along the way.
Choose a university that offers both specialist and generalist graduate certificates that all lead to a masters degree and look into the electives you can do. If life gets busy, you can always take breaks as required.
Before you choose a graduate certificate, check out the graduate diploma or masters degree it's embedded within. Some graduate certificates are specialist, others are generalist.
Make sure you enrol in a masters program that’s appropriate to your needs – reach out to the university’s Student Enrollment Advisor to help you decide what’s best for you. If you want to start with a graduate certificate with the option to go on to complete a masters, you should confirm that pathway is available.
To make the best possible decision for you, start by reviewing the courses on offer in detail. If you need more information than what’s available online, have a chat with an Student Enrollment Advisor – they will help you understand which course is right for you.
Compile a list of the key factors and questions you should seek to answer in deciding which course to do. This list might include the following:
- How do the various courses on offer differ from one another?
- How do the providers differ? What are their points of difference that are of value to me?
- Does this program give me skills and knowledge for the next stage of my nursing career?
- If I pick a specialisation/major, can I change my mind part-way through and study a different specialisation or take a generalist path?
- If I wanted to come back and study again in the future, does this degree offer me pathways?
- What support do the universities offer students?
- Are there any additional fees? Who teaches the course?