In many ways the backbone of the healthcare sector, here is what you can expect to be paid if you’re considering a career as a nurse or wanting a change into a new role.
As any current working practitioner will tell you, being a nurse can be an exciting and rewarding but also challenging career choice, often involving a super-human level of commitment, energy and drive, and even more so during the global pandemic the world has faced over the past years.
Given how critical nurses are to the healthy functioning of our wider healthcare system, it raises the question of how well are nurses remunerated for the critical healthcare roles they play?
According to Talent.com, entry-level nursing positions start at around $64K but the average comes out considerably higher at $76K. To give this some perspective, this is reasonably higher than a graduate lawyer who, on average, starts out at around $60K.
Current nursing professionals
For those currently in nursing jobs, Salary Explorer estimates that a typical annual average salary sits at around $88K, with the range being from an average of $56K to an average of $169K, with the highest maximum salary higher again. Nurses are likely to observe salary increases of approximately 8% every 19 months, which is in line with the Australian general average.
Just 52% of those surveyed by Salary Explorer stated they had received some kind of monetary bonus (individual performance, company performance, goal-based or holiday/end-of-year) in the range of 3-5% of their salary.
And, similar to many other professional roles, location plays a factor in the average salary. Following most trends, salaries are higher in the larger cities, with the three largest capitals all hovering around similar levels – Brisbane $100K, Melbourne $102K and Sydney $104K. In the regions, average salaries drop a little but are not far behind their urban counterparts: Wollongong $88K, Newcastle $91K and Sunshine Coast $89K.
As with any profession, pay rates vary according to role, and the more specific the role (and therefore the skills or training required), more often than not, the higher the average salary.
Here are some examples of the kinds of roles out there.
Registered Nurse (RN)
A core nursing role, RNs often work as part of multidisciplinary healthcare teams to provide ongoing patient care, playing a versatile role with duties including observing and recording patient behaviour, performing diagnostic tests, administering medication and establishing treatment plans, amongst many others.
Psychiatric / Mental Health Nurse
Psychiatric nurses, often referred to as mental health nurses, are RNs who evaluate patients to diagnose mental illnesses, assist in treatment planning, prescribe medication and help with educating patients and their families about a mental illness diagnosis and treatment options.
Midwifery has been around for centuries to assist women through childbirth, but in modern times a certified nurse-midwife can offer holistic care to women at many different stages of life, with duties including conducting physical exams, diagnosing and treating medical conditions, and advising mothers-to-be.
Nurse practitioners are healthcare professionals who are clinical leaders responsible for direct clinical care, including conducting and interpreting diagnostic tests, diagnosing conditions, creating treatment plans and consulting with patients and their families, differing from RNs in that they are permitted to prescribe treatments, order tests and diagnose patients—duties normally performed by physicians.
Theatre nurses assist with each stage of a patient’s operation, with the theatre manager acting as a ‘clinical leader’ in overseeing the operations of a healthcare facility’s theatre suite.
The list of Nursing jobs available across the different sectors of healthcare in Australia could continue. Finding a suitable one is key.
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