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Nurse practitioner

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Summary of occupation

Nurse practitioners are registered nurses who have completed advanced study and clinical training to specialise in nursing fields such as geriatric primary care, mental health care, general care and wound care. They use their nursing knowledge in the assessment, diagnosis and evaluation of care required for a patient.

They develop individual care plans for patients for a variety of acute and chronic illnesses, and also order diagnostic investigations and refer patients to other health care specialists as needed. Nurse practitioners work in direct service delivery positions throughout the State.

ANZSCO description: Provides advanced and extended nursing care to patients, such as ordering diagnostic tests, undertaking diagnosis and health assessments, prescribing patient care management, medicines and therapies, as authorised in relevant nursing legislation, and referring to specialist Medical Practitioners and other Health Professionals in a range of health, welfare and community settings. Registration or licensing is required.
Alternative names:
Job prospects: Good
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A nurse practitioner needs:

  • excellent communication skills and the ability to convey complex medical information to patients in a clear, accessible manner
  • an interest in the well-being of others
  • decision making and problem solving skills
  • discretion and respect for patient confidentiality
  • good organisation and time management skills
  • a caring and compassionate nature.
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Working conditions

Nurse practitioners may work in general medical practices, community health practices, private and public hospitals, correctional facilities, aged care facilities and after hours clinics.

They may be required to do shift work including weekends and public holidays, and their working times may be irregular.

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Salary details

​On average, nurse practitioners can expect to earn between $2,193 and $2,485 per week ($114,070 and $129,227 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience.

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Tools and technologies

​Nurse practitioners regularly use computers to maintain client records, prescribe medications and consult pharmaceutical manuals. They may also administer medicines, such as vaccinations. They may require a driver’s licence in order to visit patients in their homes, or attend health clinics at various locations in the community.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a nurse practitioner, you must first become a qualified registered nurse. You must also complete between two and three years of clinical practice in a selected specialisation and obtain a postgraduate qualification in nurse practitioner.

To become a registered nurse, you usually need to study a degree in nursing at university. Most universities in Western Australia offer relevant nursing courses. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.

Curtin University offers the 3-year Master of Nurse Practitioner and Edith Cowan University offers the 18-month Master of Nursing (Nurse Practitioner). These are the only universities offering postgraduate nurse practitioner courses in Western Australia.

To work as a nurse practitioner in Western Australia, you will need to obtain registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia. You will need to hold a Working with Children Check from the Department of Communities.

Related courses

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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.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

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.

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