Career Advice
E.g. nurse, resume, interview, sales...
8 nursing career paths to explore

8 nursing career paths to explore


Health professionals have always been our heroes, and they are now more than ever. 

And if you’re one of the many people thinking of a career change, either out of necessity or curiosity, now is a great time to consider pursuing a career as a nurse. It’s an engaging and rewarding profession that offers a variety of roles and ways to work.

Whether you want to assist in surgery or work with the elderly, here are eight great nursing careers to look into.

  1. Theatre Nurse
    Also called Perioperative Nurses, Theatre Nurses provide care for patients before, during and after surgical and nonsurgical procedures. These registered nurses work as part of a perioperative surgical team, usually with a specific area of responsibility, such as supporting the anaesthetist. They play a crucial role in assessing patients and ensuring their critical medical history is communicated to the surgical team. They typically earn between $70k and $80k.
  2. Clinical Nurse
    Clinical Nurses are senior Registered Nurses who have usually completed postgraduate study and then specialised in an area such as adult psychiatric and mental health, diabetes management or adolescent mental health. Their work involves observing, identifying and investigating complex critical health problems to provide medical support to patients in a variety of settings. They often act as a role model for less experienced staff, and usually earn between $85k and $95k.
  3. Enrolled Nurse
    Interested in having flexibility, diverse work settings and the opportunity to make a positive impact on the lives of others? You might want to consider becoming an Enrolled Nurse. This career involves working under direct or indirect supervision of a Registered Nurse to observe, measure and record patients’ vital statistics, and reporting changes in patients’ conditions. It’s a pivotal role that provides physical and emotional support to patients and their families. Enrolled Nurses commonly earn between $55k and $65k.
  4. Practice Nurse
    If you’d prefer not to work at a big hospital, you might want to consider a career as a Practice Nurse, who works at a metropolitan, regional or rural general practice. This career involves supporting doctors with patient assessments, immunisations, care plans and common health assessments. The varied responsibilities also include assisting GPs with small procedures, wound care and chronic disease management. Practice Nurses are qualified as an Enrolled Nurse or a Registered Nurse, and they usually earn between $65k and $75k.
  5. Registered Nurse
    Often referred to as RNs, Registered Nurses deliver primary healthcare in hospitals, schools or community or aged care facilities. The role of a Registered Nurse can vary depending on the patients they see and the settings in which they work, but they tend to work collaboratively with doctors, surgeons, physiotherapists and other skilled healthcare professionals to provide patient care. Registered Nurses play an important role in health promotion and chronic disease management, and they typically earn between $65k and $75k.
  6. Nurse Unit Manager
    Having worked as Registered Nurses, Nurse Unit Managers are experienced professionals who supervise and manage nursing teams in hospitals, aged care facilities or outpatient clinics. They have elevated decision-making responsibilities that require a high degree of organisation and flexibility, and they tend to work shifts at all hours. They’re tasked with recruiting and coordinating staff, managing budgets and working closely with other departments, in addition to healthcare duties. Due to their senior responsibilities, Nurse Unit Managers commonly earn between $100k and $120k.
  7. Mental Health Nurse
    Mental Health Nurses provide specialised care and support focusing predominantly on patients’ or clients’ psychological wellbeing and emotional health. They play a pivotal role in helping people to manage their mental illness, as well as providing information to their families and other health professionals. To practise as a Mental Health Nurse, you’ll need postgraduate qualifications in mental health, in addition to an undergraduate degree in nursing. Then you’ll be able to work across various clinical, service and forensic settings, including hospitals, community health centres and inpatient care facilities. Mental Health Nurses often earn between $80k and $90k.
  8. Aged Care Registered Nurse
    Working in hospitals, aged care homes, home care or community settings, Aged Care Registered Nurses are qualified nurses who deliver primary health care to elderly patients. Regardless of where they work, Aged Care Registered Nurses play an important role in administering medications, observing patients and managing their health, diet and chronic disease. This includes safe behavioural management of dementia care and emergency responses, including care of patients related to falls and infections. Aged Care Nurses usually earn between $65k and $75k.

These are just some of the rewarding careers available through nursing. Explore more careers in helping people here.


Subscribe to Career Advice

Get the latest expert career guidance delivered to your inbox
You can cancel emails at any time. By clicking ‘subscribe’ you agree to SEEK’s Privacy Statement