Nursing and Midwifery

When you make the decision to become a nurse or a midwife, you are choosing to make a positive and lasting contribution, not only to the individuals you will support and care for, but to your whole community. Nurses and midwives have always performed a vital role in our community. Today, they are highly valued for the range and extent of skills and knowledge they possess and use in fulfilling their duties.

The impact that these dedicated people have on our society stretches far beyond the bedside into many specialities and disciplines. Nurses and midwives enhance the lives of patients or clients in their varied duties as carers, advocates and educators. They work within teams of skilled health professionals, supporting one another and adapting their abilities and expertise to reflect continuing advances in health service provision, nursing and midwifery.

Careers in nursing and midwifery are rewarding and challenging; they provide widespread opportunities to work in many areas – in hospitals, within the community, in universities and overseas – while offering unparalleled job security. Nurses and midwives make up the largest health professional group in the world. They are constantly in demand, both in Australia and overseas.

The portability of nursing and midwifery offers the choice of where, when and what type of work to do. Nursing and midwifery are well-paid professions and, with allowances for shift work, there is the opportunity to earn even more.

Salaries depend on the state or territory in which a nurse or midwife is practising, although the starting salary for a registered nurse or midwife is in line with starting salaries for other professions, such as teachers and physiotherapists. Varied working hours means that nurses and midwives can choose to work part-time, allowing them to have a career that will accommodate family and other commitments, such as further study, sport, recreation, farm or business responsibilities.

(To find out the latest information on activities, salaries and jobs for graduates working in nursing and midwifery go to

In nursing, there are numerous possible career pathways in the hospital setting, such as intensive care, emergency, neurology, orthopaedics, radiology, communicable diseases, research, paediatrics and special care nurseries, to name just a few. Nurses also work in a wide variety of settings within the community, including private clinics, aged care facilities, the defence forces, schools, industrial sites and remote areas. There are opportunities in education, management, research, remote retrieval services, government, health promotion and sales.

In midwifery, there are also career pathways for working in hospitals or in the community. Increasingly, midwives in Australia and overseas are providing continuity of care to women, right through pregnancy, labour and birth to the postnatal period. Much of this care is now based in the community.

All registered nurses are required to complete a Bachelor of Nursing and there is the opportunity to pursue further study in Midwifery or other specialist areas of practice, such as critical care, palliative care, aged care or management.

Midwives have traditionally undertaken a three-year university degree in nursing and then completed a postgraduate qualification in midwifery to be eligible to be registered as a midwife. More recently, three-year university degrees in midwifery and double degrees have commenced in some states (NSW, SA and Victoria). These qualifications can be combined with other disciplines (such as law, marketing, health promotion or psychology) providing even more possibilities for interesting work and dual careers.

This vast range of choice within the health and allied industries means that there is an interesting career path to suit every person attracted to nursing and midwifery in the 21st century. Imagine a world without nurses and midwives and you will realise how critically important they are to the provision of health services in our society.

 Further Resources

Careers in Nursing and Midwifery