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Nursing

Courses for nurses: the best education options for your career

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Whether you’re just starting out or are an experienced professional, let’s explore the many opportunities for your nursing career.

Ongoing education is a great way to ensure your skills as a nurse remain relevant and advance your career. With benefits like new career opportunities, increased earning potential and improved knowledge, there are many reasons why experienced nurses pursue further education. We explore today’s options for experienced nurses as well as those entering the profession, and where a new qualification can take you.

Education options

To enter the nursing profession, there are several entry-level education options. Once you become a working nurse, there are then plenty of postgraduate opportunities. Let’s look at the various qualifications:

Diplomas and undergraduate degrees are the starting point for those looking to enter the nursing profession. Enrolled nurses, who provide basic nursing care to patients, complete a certificate IV or diploma in nursing. Registered nurses offer more complex care to patients and have to complete a three-year bachelor’s degree in nursing. These are the educational starting points for a nursing career.

Graduate certificates and graduate degrees provide additional training in specific areas and may be required in certain nursing specialities. Graduate certificates and graduate diplomas are those completed following an undergraduate degree by already qualified nurses.

Master's and doctorate degrees are the highest levels of postgraduate study in nursing. Postgraduate degrees are usually available only to undergraduate degree holders or those who have studied a relevant graduate certificate or graduate diploma, with some exceptions and alternate study pathways for experienced nurses. These include JCU’s online Master of Nursing Majoring in Education and SCU’s online Master of Mental Health Nursing.

Flexible education options offering a broad range of qualifications are available for nurses who are keen to gain new skills.

The good news for those entering or already working in the profession is that they can study when and where it suits them: with full-time or part-time, on-campus or online options available.

Online study is perfect for healthcare professionals with busy schedules, allowing them to upskill without taking time off work.

Benefits of postgraduate courses for nurses

Postgraduate study is the most common way for experienced nurses to take the next step in their careers. Beyond knowledge gained, there are many other benefits to be obtained by undertaking further study. We spoke to critical care nurse Kate Hoskin, a clinical education specialist, who shared her thoughts on the benefits of ongoing education.

Up-to-date skills

In addition to mandatory training, postgraduate studies ensure a nurse’s knowledge stays up-to-date and relevant. This can be especially beneficial for those who completed their degrees some time ago.

“What you cover in your three years of university is the bare minimum,” says Kate. “There’s always an opportunity to learn about advancements in research and evidence-based practice. This ensures you’re always offering the current standard of care.”

The chance to specialise

A registered nurse may choose to undertake postgraduate study in order to pursue leadership roles, such as a nurse unit manager. Likewise, nurses who wish to move into specialist areas such as mental health, child and family health and palliative care can choose to gain further qualifications, such as a master's degree, in order to do so. While not all specialist areas require a postgraduate qualification, nurses who do undertake further study have more options available to them.

Better earning potential

Healthcare positions that require postgraduate education, like nurse practitioners, pay substantially more than a traditional registered nurse role. On average, the nursing salary for a nurse practitioner is between $135,000 and $140,000, whereas a registered nurse makes $80,000 to $85,000 a year.

Professional opportunities

Postgraduate education allows nurses to pursue careers and opportunities that are unavailable to those who hold only undergraduate qualifications.

“If you choose to do postgraduate studies in your field of expertise, it opens up so many more doors for you in the clinical space,” says Kate.

Plus, undertaking further studies demonstrates your commitment and initiative to future employers.

Choosing the right postgraduate pathway

Already a nurse but want to take the next step in your profession? It’s hard to know which course to choose. Consider these factors before deciding which option to pursue.

Schedule suitability. Online delivery makes balancing study with your professional and personal life more manageable. Students choose study times that suit them and benefit from flexibility around where and how they study. However, ensuring your future study plans fit your life is essential so you’re not overwhelmed.

Career goals. Examine your long-term career goals and communicate them to your supervisor to determine the best course to meet them. Some courses are suited to specific careers, and others offer more general knowledge that you can apply in many areas and positions within nursing.

Entry requirements. Are there prerequisites to the course you’re considering? A postgraduate nursing degree or course may have selection criteria or prior learning requirements to be eligible for enrolment. Ensure you’ve met all the prerequisites before applying.

A commitment to lifelong learning

Whether you’re new to the profession or are already working as a nurse, there are many advantages to undertaking ongoing education. GlobalHealth Education partners with Australian universities that can help you upskill and level up in your career.

These courses are designed to give you the skills to advance your career and become a specialist in advanced practice and leadership. Whether you want to specialise in mental health, chronic and complex care or chronic disease and ageing or a range of other disciplines, we can help you find the course for you.

Postgraduate nursing courses in Australia

The courses below are listed by qualification level, from lowest to highest.

Graduate Certificate in Nursing
Graduate Certificate in Nursing
Award winning study model, delivered 100% online, this courses is designed to prepare nurses for some of the challenges of leadership.
Graduate Certificate 8 months 4 Units
Units
  • Promoting Cultural Competence and Community Health
  • Care Coordination in Practice
  • Leading Improvement and Innovation
  • Evidence and Research for Practice
Graduate Certificate in Advanced Nursing
Graduate Certificate in Advanced Nursing
Delivered 100% online by a multi-award winning school, this course focuses on advanced skills in leadership, clinical practice, applied pathophysiology and implementing evidence in nursing.
Graduate Certificate 8 months 4 Units
Units
  • Specialty Clinical Practice
  • Applied Pathophysiology in Practice
  • Evidence for Informing Practice
  • Plus Electives
Graduate Certificate in Nursing Education
Graduate Certificate in Nursing Education
Delivered 100% online and providing pathways to further study, this course helps you develop the skills to lead and manage change while implementing effective approaches for building evidence-based teaching and learning capacity in the workplace.
Graduate Certificate 8 months 4 Units
Units
  • Creating a Culture of Teaching and Learning in Healthcare
  • Designing Innovative Learning
  • Specialty Clinical Practice
  • Plus Electives
Graduate Certificate in Nursing Majoring in Advanced Practice
Graduate Certificate in Nursing Majoring in Advanced Practice
100% online, the Advanced Practice major gives you the skills you need to deliver advanced patient care.
Graduate Certificate 8 months 4 Units
Units
  • Quality Use of Medicines in Practice
  • Effective Clinical Governance
  • Advanced Health Assessment
  • Persuasive Communication
Graduate Certificate in Nursing Majoring in Education
Graduate Certificate in Nursing Majoring in Education
100% online, the education major, with its two specialised units in healthcare education, gives you the ability to take on educational practice roles in clinical or non-clinical environments.
Graduate Certificate 8 months 4 Units
Units
  • Principles of Education for the Health Professional
  • Teaching in Practice Settings
  • Clinical Coaching
  • Persuasive Communication
Graduate Certificate in Nursing Majoring in Leadership & Management
Graduate Certificate in Nursing Majoring in Leadership & Management
100% online, the leadership and management major helps prepare you for leadership positions in healthcare.
Graduate Certificate 8 months 4 Units
Units
  • Leading and Managing in Health
  • Ethics and Health Management
  • Effective Clinical Governance
  • Persuasive Communication
Graduate Diploma in Nursing Majoring in Advanced Practice
Graduate Diploma in Nursing Majoring in Advanced Practice
100% online, the advanced practice major helps you develop the skills you need to deliver advanced patient care.
Graduate Diploma 16 months 8 Units
Units
  • Synthesising Evidence for Healthcare
  • Effective Clinical Governance
  • Persuasive Communication
  • Informatics for Health Professionals
  • Advanced Health Assessment
  • Quality Use of Medicines in Practice
  • Applied Health Assessment and Advanced Practice
  • Diagnostic Reasoning for Advanced Practice
Graduate Diploma in Nursing Majoring in Education
Graduate Diploma in Nursing Majoring in Education
100% online, the education major, with its eight specialised units in healthcare education, helps you to prepare to take on educational practice roles in clinical or non-clinical environments.
Graduate Diploma 16 months 8 Units
Units
  • Principles of Education for the Health Professional
  • Teaching in Practice Settings
  • Clinical Coaching
  • Persuasive Communication
  • Informatics for Health Professionals
  • Contemporary Healthcare Education
  • Effective Clinical Governance
  • Synthesising Evidence for Healthcare
Graduate Diploma in Nursing Majoring in Leadership & Management
Graduate Diploma in Nursing Majoring in Leadership & Management
100% online, the leadership and management major has 8 specialised units, designed to prepare you to lead nursing practice and optimise patient outcomes in a hospital setting.
Graduate Diploma 16 months 8 Units
Units
  • Leading and Managing in Health
  • Ethics and Health Management
  • Effective Clinical Governance
  • Persuasive Communication
  • Informatics for Health Professionals
  • Business and Finance for the Health Manager
  • Conflict and Dispute Resolution in Healthcare
  • Synthesising Evidence for Healthcare
Master of Advanced Nursing
Master of Advanced Nursing
Delivered part-time, 100% online and influenced by strong healthcare industry partners, it offers four specialist pathways - Acute Care, Chronic and Complex Care, Quality and Safety, and Leadership and Management.
Master's 24 months 12 Units
Units
  • Specialty Clinical Practice
  • Applied Pathophysiology in Practice
  • Evidence for Informing Practice
  • Improving Safety and Quality in Healthcare
  • Plus Electives
Master of Nursing (Chronic Disease and Ageing)
Master of Nursing (Chronic Disease and Ageing)
Award winning study model, delivered 100% online, this course provides registered nurses with a fundamental knowledge base to devise innovative care interventions and models of care for residents, patients, families and carers.
Master's 24 months 12 Units
Units
  • Promoting Cultural Competence and Community Health
  • Care Coordination in Practice
  • Leading Improvement and Innovation
  • Evidence and Research for Practice
  • Complex Care Coordination
  • Nursing Informatics
  • Professional Development in Practice
  • Mental Health Nursing
  • Innovation in Aged Care Practice
  • Health and Wellbeing for the Older Person
  • Research Project: Chronic Disease and Ageing
  • Plus Electives
Master of Nursing (Leadership)
Master of Nursing (Leadership)
Award winning study model, delivered 100% online, this courses provides registered nurses with the knowledge to develop expertise in the provision of nursing leadership and a comprehensive understanding of management, including financial management.
Master's 24 months 12 Units
Units
  • Promoting Cultural Competence and Community Health
  • Care Coordination in Practice
  • Leading Improvement and Innovation
  • Evidence and Research for Practice
  • Complex Care Coordination
  • Nursing Informatics
  • Professional Development in Practice
  • Mental Health Nursing
  • Nursing Management
  • Nursing Leadership and Management
  • Financial Management for Nurses
  • Research Project: Nursing Leadership
Master of Nursing Majoring in Advanced Practice
Master of Nursing Majoring in Advanced Practice
100% online, the advanced practice major, with its four specialised units, is designed to give you skills you need to deliver advanced patient care.
Master's 24 months 12 Units
Units
  • Informatics for Health Professionals
  • Effective Clinical Governance
  • Persuasive Communication
  • Synthesising Evidence for Healthcare
  • Quantitative Research in Healthcare
  • Qualitative Research in Healthcare
  • Implementing Practice Development in Healthcare Contexts
  • Professional Portfolios for Career Advancement
  • Advanced Health Assessment
  • Quality Use of Medicines in Practice
  • Applied Health Assessment and Advanced Practice
  • Diagnostic Reasoning for Advanced Practice
Master of Nursing Majoring in Education
Master of Nursing Majoring in Education
Designed by nursing professionals and 100% online, the education major, with its four specialised units in healthcare education, prepares you to take on educational practice roles in clinical or non-clinical environments.
Master's 24 months 12 Units
Units
  • Informatics for Health Professionals
  • Effective Clinical Governance
  • Persuasive Communication
  • Synthesising Evidence for Healthcare
  • Quantitative Research in Healthcare
  • Qualitative Research in Healthcare
  • Implementing Practice Development in Healthcare Contexts
  • Professional Portfolios for Career Advancement
  • Principles of Education for the Health Professional
  • Teaching in Practice Settings
  • Clinical Coaching
  • Contemporary Healthcare Education
Master of Nursing Majoring in Leadership & Management
Master of Nursing Majoring in Leadership & Management
The Online Master of Nursing prepares you to take on more complex roles and deliver better patient care.
Master's 24 months 12 Units
Units
  • Informatics for Health Professionals
  • Effective Clinical Governance
  • Persuasive Communication
  • Synthesising Evidence for Healthcare
  • Quantitative Research in Healthcare
  • Qualitative Research in Healthcare
  • Implementing Practice Development in Healthcare Contexts
  • Professional Portfolios for Career Advancement
  • Leading and Managing in Health
  • Ethics and Health Management
  • Business and Finance for the Health Manager
  • Conflict and Dispute Resolution in Healthcare
Master of Mental Health Nursing
Master of Mental Health Nursing
Delivered online and part-time, this courses is developed against the latest mental health industry standards as set by the Australian College of Mental Health Nursing (ACMHN).
Master's 24 months 12 Units
Units
  • Contemporary Mental Health
  • Mental Health Across the Lifespan
  • Mental Health in Community, Non-Government and Primary Health Settings
  • Acute Mental Health
  • Leading Evidence-based Practice in Health
  • Physical Healthcare in Mental Health
  • Supporting Behaviour Change in Mental Health Contexts
  • Building a Professional Portfolio
  • Applied Leadership in Mental Health Clinical Practice
  • Developing Skills in Contemporary Psychotherapies
  • Critical Review in Health
  • Plus Electives

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