A community health nurse needs:
- to be able to assume responsibility and a leadership role
- to be able to take initiative in emergencies
- good communication skills
- to be able to work alone or as part of a team
- patience and discretion when dealing with people from a wide range of cultures and backgrounds
- to be physically fit
Working conditions for a community health nurse will depend on location. Community health nurses in remote locations can work long hours in difficult conditions.
On average, community health nurses, classified under registered nurses, can expect to earn between $962 and $1,462 per week ($50,000 and $76,000 per year), depending on the organisation they work for and their level of experience.
Community health nurses need to be proficient with a wide variety of tools and technologies associated with nursing as they may be called upon to perform many different tasks in remote areas.
To work as a community health 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.
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 complete a specialised postgraduate course to become a community health nurse.
Apprenticeships and traineeships
As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.
If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.
If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.
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If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.