Nursing Degrees

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Distance learning nursing degrees.

Why study nursing online? Studying externally lets you gain a valuable degree with minimal time away from work or family.

  • You can do the academic parts of nursing degree courses from home.
  • Hands-on training can be done during residential schools on campus and at healthcare facilities near to where you live.
  • Diploma courses (not listed here) for becoming an enrolled nurse are now also available through blended learning.

Nursing is a fulfilling and demanding profession requiring intellectual and ethical knowledge, skills, compassion and stamina. An online nursing degree prepares you for healthcare service. It makes you employable in a growing sector with high job security.

Nurses are the backbone of healthcare – they're resourceful and compassionate, and they save lives every day. If you are looking for an important and in-demand career where you make a difference, nursing might just be for you.

~ UQ

Nurse Qualifying Degrees

The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia lists all approved programs of study (here). The courses lead to registration, endorsement and notation of applicants for registration as an enrolled nurse (EN), registered nurse (RN) or midwife.

To become a registered nurse, you need to complete a 3-year Bachelor of Nursing or equivalent degree. Australian universities allow you to do this through a combination of distance learning, residential schools and clinical placements.

  • A Diploma of Nursing can be used as credit towards an online degree. Increasingly, you can study for a diploma using blended (online and on-campus) learning.
  • Universities may allow Endorsed Enrolled Nurses to enter online Bachelor of Nursing degrees in the 2nd year.

Online nursing degrees equip you with the theoretical, research and practical knowledge required to be a nursing professional.

In terms of logistics, it helps to live in the same state as the campus of the nursing school. This makes it easier to get to residential schools and can help with organising clinical placements.

Nurse in scrubs.

Nursing Careers

Nursing is a community service career. Nurses help save lives and bring cheer and comfort to those in need. The nursing career is gratifying and rewarding because you help people directly and personally.

  • Registered Nurses are involved in assessing, treating and caring for patients.
  • They monitor patient responses to treatment or pain, administer some medications, and provide advice.
  • They may also do health promotion and education, and supervise enrolled nurses or other health care workers.

As a group, nursing graduates enjoy consistently high employment rates and strong median salaries after graduating. The nursing field is a growing one and nurses are in high demand.

Featured Bachelor Degrees

CSU Bachelor of Nursing

Charles Sturt University's Bachelor of Nursing covers primary healthcare, health challenges, health optimisation, discipline of nursing, clinical nursing practice, social justice, psychosocial science and bioscience. For some subjects, distance education students attend 1-4 day residential schools at CSU campuses (generally Bathurst and Wagga Wagga).

UNE Bachelor of Nursing

The University of New England was the first Australian university to offer distance education for nurses. The bachelor-degree course involves 880 hours of supervised clinical practice over 6 trimesters. Field placements are normally organised in block placements of 2-4 weeks each trimester at health facilities across NSW. Clinical training is available by attending intensive residential schools at Armidale or regular sessions in Tamwworth.

USQ Bachelor of Nursing

The University of Southern Queensland's Bachelor of Nursing degree consists of coursework, clinical simulation in campus laboratories and clinical experience (840 hours) in a variety of healthcare settings. Clinical experience is mainly in the Toowoomba and Fraser Coast Health Districts. For distance students, the on-campus part can be studied in intensive residential schools each semester.

How to Enrol in Online Nursing Courses

To enrol in an online nursing course, you first need to work out which nursing school to study with. Location may be the most important factor for bachelor degrees.

All nursing bachelor courses and some postgraduate courses have residential attendance requirements. That means you need to attend a nurse training facility for blocks of 2 days or longer at a time.

It's also important that the university allows you to do any supervised work placements at a convenient location – at a hospital or other health facility near you. Universities are usually better at placing students in regions where they run courses.

Attendance pattern

How often you need to visit the campus or nurse training facility depends on your experience, how far into the course you are, and the arrangements of the university.

For a Bachelor of Nursing degree, 1st-year students (especially those without clinical experience) have to put significant hours into applied training. You may be required to complete a long residential school each semester or even attend regularly throughout the year.

Nurse Training Centre Locations

To enrol in an online nursing course, first locate the most convenient provider(s).

You can use the map to help find the closest nurse training centres.

Universities with campuses to support external nursing studies include

  • CDU (Alice Springs, Darwin)
  • CQU (Townsville, Rockhampton, and more)
  • CSU (Albury-Wodonga, Bathurst, Dubbo, Wagga Wagga)
  • FedUni (Ballarat, Gippsland)
  • UNE (Armidale)
  • USQ (Hervey Bay, Toowoomba).

Online Masters Degrees

Postgraduate study of nursing allows you to go beyond the technical and practical concerns of the profession. It is a pathway into health management and administration and other executive roles.

Studying by distance education is a convenient way to deepen and broaden your theoretical and practical knowledge. Extra skills and qualifications can lead to greater roles in leadership, research-based practice and advanced decision making.

By expanding your knowledge base, postgraduate study can help with working in multidisciplinary health teams. It also allows you to develop expertise in areas of interest and shift career paths within nursing.

Nursing graduate.

JCU Master of Nursing (Leadership or Education)

James Cook University Online has a nursing masters that's suitable for any experienced nurse. You have the choice to major in (i) Leadership (team management in a clinical setting, including business skills) or (ii) Education (being an educator in a clinical environment). The 12-unit program is 100% online and gives you the option to start with a graduate certificate (4 units) or graduate diploma (8 units). The courses are ideal if you want to study part-time. They're also available year-round.

Deakin Nursing Practice

Deakin University's 1.5-year Master of Nursing Practice is a flexible, exclusively online course. The main streams are: leadership and management; advanced clinical practice; perioperative; and specialty practice (intensive care, cardiac care, emergency care or critical care). Specialty practice stream applicants need to secure employment with a collaborating hospital. Graduate certificate and graduate diploma qualifications are available.

ECU Master of Nursing degrees

Edith Cowan University has a range of online postgraduate nursing courses, some of which depend on your current work environment. The longest course is the 2-year Master of Clinical Nursing degree. This allows nurse clinicians to expand skills in selected areas. There are numerous possible specialisations. ECU also has a 1.5-year Master of Nursing coursework degree and a Master of Nursing with a Nurse Practitioner specialisation.

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