If you’re considering studying nursing in Australia, you’re probably wondering what your future might look like.

Of course, the best way to find out is to hear directly from those who’ve already done it. We’ve interviewed two, University of Adelaide College students to help track the different stages of a journey to become a fully-qualified nurse: university preparation, the bachelor degree, and post-graduation.

Read on to find out what they had to say about their experiences – and imagine your future, starting here.

Pathways to nursing in Australia

Your journey begins with the first day of your Foundation Studies Program at the University of Adelaide College. This course is designed in partnership with the University of Adelaide to make sure you’re as prepared as possible and have the best chance of getting into your degree.

“The Foundation Studies Program I took at the College was tailored to focus on bachelor studies. The English and critical thinking subjects I studied have accelerated my cognitive skills and enhanced my writing, so I am now able to apply to study a Bachelor of Nursing.

 In China, you normally just accept what your teachers tell you, whereas here teachers encourage you to discuss your work and give constructive feedback.

 My critical thinking subject teacher, Liam, was very funny and his classes were interesting which kept me excited and eager to learn. I also remember my biology teacher Nicole, because she would teach us in a step-by-step approach, which made everything easy to follow and understand.

 At first, having Academic English classes was a challenge, but thanks to the help of my teachers showing me how to write academic essays, my English improved very quickly, and the structure of my writing is now more sophisticated.

 I was fortunate that my classes had a harmonious learning atmosphere. Everyone helped each other by working collaboratively. We used to communicate socially in a WhatsApp group and still keep in touch today!” – Chang Ge, China (Foundation Studies pathway to a Bachelor of Nursing).

After a year, you’ll successfully graduate from the College, and then apply for a BA of Nursing at the University of Adelaide. Student support staff will be there to help you through the application and your interview.

Bachelor of Nursing

Congratulations, you’ve now been accepted into nursing! The next three years of full-time study are going to be a huge step in giving you the confidence to build a career as a nursing practitioner in Australia. You’re going to learn so much in class, and in your clinical practice. You’ll make friends, overcome challenges, and come out the other side as a fully-qualified nurse.

The graduate nurses coming from the University of Adelaide are acclimatised to the hospital. Throughout the degree, students undertake compulsory placements in clinical settings across city and rural locations to gain the skills, experience and knowledge that will help you to transition into a graduate role.

Over the three years, you also have a clinical tutor who follows you through your placements. They will help you choose clinical objectives, provide more depth to your experience and bring the academic study into the practical.

If you’re an international student, they can also provide valuable insights into the health care system in Australia and the role nurses play within the system.

“In Australia, the care provided by nurses is a lot more patient-oriented. The ratio of nurses to patients in Australian hospitals is typically 1-to-4, whereas in Malaysia the number is much lower. While the education system for nurses in Malaysia is a lot different, I very much appreciate the holistic patient care in Australia.” Jenny (Pei Pei) Yee, Malaysia (graduate of Foundation Studies at the University of Adelaide College and Bachelor of Nursing at the University of Adelaide).


Graduation – what’s next?

When it finally comes time to leave the University of Adelaide, you’ll feel a little sad to say goodbye – after all, you’ve just spent years of your life here – but you’re going to be excited to start your career.

Luckily, with your highly regarded qualification, you’re going to be in demand in Australia and around the world. You’ll be able to pick a nursing position in the hospital you want. You’ll go on to save lives, care for others, and develop a rewarding career over the course of your life.

“I have been working at the Royal District Nursing Services (RDNS) for the past six years. I initially started as a Registered Nurse but have recently progressed to become a Clinical Nurse.

I work with a team of Clinical Nurses to manage Registered Nurses, Enrolled Nurses and Team Leaders, and liaise with South Australia Health who send us referrals for patients. Once we receive referrals, we review them to ensure the correct information is provided for our nurses to provide the appropriate care and medication.

As a Clinical Nurse I also provide medical advice and troubleshoot complex challenges for patients and other nurses. There are a lot of exciting duties involved with RDNS and I have seen myself grow so much professionally since I started here.” – Jenny (Pei Pei) Yee.


See here for more information about the Foundation Studies Program at the University of Adelaide College, and here for more information about the BA of Nursing at the University of Adelaide.