What you Need to Know about Rural and Remote Nursing in Australia


In Australia, the nursing profession is one of the largest healthcare-related professions. The demand for these jobs is increasing day by day, especially in the rural and remote areas of the country.

A recent survey indicates that the average age of nurses working in remote areas is over 45, which is older compared to the nurses in major cities. This ageing workforce is one of the biggest challenges Australia has been facing for a long time.

It is also a reason for a shortage of skill in the workforce due to the global demand of nurses. The nursing workforce is majorly distributed in five categories, including major cities, inner and outer regional and remote and extreme/very remote areas.

What do we Understand by Rural Nurses and What is the Current Scenario?

Rural nurses are specialists who provide treatment across the lifetime and range of health, often with minimal access to clinical resources and assistance relative to their urban colleagues. Rural nurses are high-profile members of their group who are trained to respond when health needs and emergencies take place.

As per the Remoteness Area Statistics 2018, the number of nurses and midwives employed;[i]

By comparing the Full-time Equivalent (FTE) per 100,000 populations by the remoteness area from 2013-17, the supply of registered nurses in the remote areas has gradually increased between 2013-17. The supply was highest in the very remote regions between 2015-17, whereas it was lowest in the outer areas.

How does it Work in Rural and Remote Areas?

The rural nurses majorly work in rural hospitals, community health centres and nursing homes. They are mainly associated with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary health care services.

Generally, at least one medical practitioner is present in the town or on-call close by. Nurses in rural hospitals who are better known as “specialist generalists” call them in case of emergencies. Sometimes they may work as part of a small team who are not necessarily united geographically. They often work independently and refer patients if further interventions are required.

What Skill is Required?

The registered nurses in remote areas may have to perform an array of clinical ranges consisting of paediatric, surgical, medical, aged care, operating theatre, palliative care, mental health, men & women's health, emergency care etc.

In addition to the clinical roles, they may have to take care of the non-clinical services including but not limited to cleaning, food preparation, maintaining, administrative and managerial roles. Though there has no Basic Requirement to Get a Nursing Job; however, an advanced level of multi-skill is often preferred by the employer.

What Can you Expect While Working in a Remote Area?

There is no doubt that the experience will be different. The area will be much smaller, and the city-like facilities will be less. However, people in remote areas are expected to be more resourceful in their day-to-day life.

You may have to drive a lot, but most notably preparing yourself mentally is more challenging than everything else. Living in small areas has a lot of positives, let us have a look at a few:

Pros of choosing Rural and Remote Nursing

Australia is not about only the main cities. There is so much to discover than the hustle and bustle of urban lives. The remote areas are culturally so rich, and one acquires knowledge of the roots of the nation.

  • Become Culturally Enhanced

You will get a chance to know different communities and their way of living. Taking a move into the rural and remote areas of Australia is not only an opportunity to “become one with nature”, it is also an opportunity to develop culturally and learn about your roots or different cultures.

  • Chance to explore

Are the chances of travelling and exploring new places in your bucket list? Then, you should give rural and remote nursing a try. Rural and remote placements can provide you with a chance to explore some of the most beautiful places in the country.

  • Multi-skill development

You will get a chance with different communities whose clinical needs will be different than others. Also, you need to act in multipurpose roles which can help you become an all-rounder.

Regulations in Nursing and Midwifery in Australia

To practice efficiently and safely, the Nursing and Midwifery Board (NMBA) has developed specific standards, guidelines and codes for the nurses and midwives. Nurses and midwives can register themselves as an enrolled nurse, registered nurse, midwife or a combination of a midwife and registered nurse.

At the time of registering, a National Criminal History Check is required to ensure that the candidate has no relevant criminal history. KONCHECK is an accredited body of the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC), and it conducts police checks completely online. 70% of the results are delivered within 1-2 business days.

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