A nurse works with people of all ages who are sick or injured. You can see nurses in different coloured uniforms and badges in hospitals, clinics or other health centres.
In general, nurses can be classified into 3 categories based on their qualifications:
- Enrolled nurses – they take care of and support patients. They must have completed a diploma in nursing and passed the examination for an enrolled nurse.
- Registered nurses – they must have completed a degree in nursing and passed the examination for a registered nurse. They can supervise enrolled nurses.
- Nurse practitioners – they must have worked as a registered nurse for 4 years and completed a master's degree and are able to prescribe medicines. They work in a diverse range of medical settings including GP clinics, nurse practitioner-led and or owned clinics, specialty clinics, hospitals, etc.
- Practice nurses – are registered nurses who work with GPs in primary care practices. They need specialist training to be able to provide preventative care and treatment services to their communities, including in such things as vaccinations, cervical screening and cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
Many nurses choose to specialise in a particular field of medicine. They have had more training in certain aspects of health care, such as:
- intensive care
- children and young people
- older people
- people with physical disabilities
- people with mental health conditions
- people with learning disabilities
- emergency care
- operating theatre.