Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Nurse in Australia

Sep 08, 2023 4 min read
Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Nurse in Australia

Key Takeaways:

  • Begin your journey by checking the eligibility criteria for being a nurse in Australia.
  • Before taking the NCLEX-RN, ensure you’re registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and have met their requirements.
  • Familiarise yourself with the NCLEX-RN, a computerised adaptive test designed to assess your nursing knowledge and clinical judgment skills.

Aspiring nurses around the world strive to provide the highest level of care to patients, and this commitment to excellence is no different in Australia. 

To ensure that nurses entering the field are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge, various assessments are in place. One such assessment, the NCLEX-RN (National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses), plays a crucial role in evaluating a nurse’s readiness for practice. 

Let’s delve into what the NCLEX-RN entails and how you can also become a registered nurse in Australia.

Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Nurse in Australia

  • Introduction
  • Education and Eligibility
  • Registration with AHPRA
  • Understanding the NCLEX-RN
    • Purpose
    • Format
    • Test Plan
  • Preparation for the NCLEX-RN
    • Review Core Concepts
    • Create a Study Plan
    • Use Reliable Resources
    • Practice, Practice, Practice
  • Conclusion
  • FAQs

Introduction

The National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses, commonly called the NCLEX-RN exam, is a pivotal assessment in the journey to becoming a licensed registered nurse in the United States, Canada, and more recently Australia.

Administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), this comprehensive examination evaluates the knowledge, skills, and abilities essential for safe and effective entry-level nursing practice. 

NCLEX has been implemented by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). This exam is designed to ensure that aspiring nurses possess the necessary competencies to provide high-quality and safe patient care in a variety of healthcare settings. 

Education and Eligibility

Education Completion: Successful completion of an accredited nursing education program that fulfils the state’s requirements.

Transcript Submission: Providing official transcripts to verify educational qualifications.

Criminal Background Check: Some states mandate a criminal background check to ensure the candidate’s suitability for nursing practice.

Application and Fees: Applying to the appropriate nursing regulatory body along with the required fees.

Registration with Pearson VUE: Registering with Pearson VUE, the organization that administers the NCLEX, and scheduling an exam date.

Authorization to Test (ATT): Upon meeting eligibility criteria, candidates receive an Authorization to Test, allowing them to schedule the NCLEX-RN exam.

Registration with AHPRA

In Australia, the registration and accreditation of nurses are overseen by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). Before embarking on your nursing career, understanding the significance of registration with AHPRA is paramount.

The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) is a national organization that works in partnership with the National Boards for different health professions to regulate healthcare practitioners.

AHPRA registration is a vital step in your journey to becoming a registered nurse in Australia. It ensures that you meet the necessary standards to provide safe and competent patient care. 

By adhering to AHPRA’s requirements and maintaining professionalism throughout your career, you contribute to the overall quality and integrity of the healthcare system.

Understanding the NCLEX-RN

Purpose

The primary purpose of the NCLEX-RN is to ensure that newly licensed nurses have the competence and capability to provide safe and effective care to patients. 

Format

The exam is computer-adaptive, meaning that the difficulty of the questions adjusts based on the test-takers performance. 

The exam consists of multiple-choice questions, select-all-that-apply questions, and other question formats that assess various levels of cognitive ability.

Test Plan

Understanding the exam’s structure is essential. The NCLEX-RN test plan is based on a framework developed by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN). The framework organizes the content into four major categories:

1. Safe and Effective Care Environment

  • Management of Care
  • Safety and Infection Control

2. Health Promotion and Maintenance

3. Psychosocial Integrity

4. Physiological Integrity

  • Basic Care and Comfort
  • Pharmacological and Parenteral Therapies
  • Reduction of Risk Potential
  • Physiological Adaptation

These categories encompass a wide range of topics related to nursing practice, including patient care, health education, pharmacology, and more.

Preparation for the NCLEX-RN

Review Core Concepts

Begin your preparation by revisiting core nursing concepts. Cover areas such as anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and nursing fundamentals. Ensure you have a strong grasp of the foundational knowledge that will form the basis of your clinical judgments.

Create a Study Plan

Develop a well-structured study plan that outlines your daily and weekly goals. Allocate sufficient time to each content area, focusing on your weaker subjects while reviewing stronger ones to maintain proficiency.

Use Reliable Resources

Invest in reputable NCLEX-RN review books, online courses, and practice question banks. These resources provide focused content review and offer practice questions that mirror the exam’s format.

Practice, Practice, Practice

The NCLEX-RN is not just about rote memorization; it emphasizes critical thinking and clinical judgment. Engage in practice questions that challenge your ability to analyze situations, prioritize care, and make sound decisions.

Conclusion

The NCLEX-RN is more than a test; it’s a measure of your commitment to nursing excellence. By understanding its format, content, and importance, you can better prepare for success and embark on a journey to contribute meaningfully to patient care and the healthcare industry as a whole. 

Remember that while the NCLEX-RN is a milestone, your dedication to continuous learning and growth will shape your nursing career in Australia and beyond.

Academically has an online course exclusively for nurses aspiring to launch their careers in Australia.

FAQs

Q: Who is eligible for the Nclex exam?

Ans: Completion of a nursing bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution is necessary.

Q: Is experience required for the NCLEX exam?

Ans: No, prior nursing experience is not required to take the NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination).

Q: Can I take NCLEX in India?

Ans: Yes, with the recent development, India has gained approval as a testing centre for the NCLEX Exam.

Q: Is NCLEX only in the USA?

Ans: No, The NCLEX, a nationwide test, certifies registered nurses in the United States (since 1982), Canada (since 2015), and Australia (starting in 2022).

Q: How many times can I take the NCLEX?

Ans: There is no limit on the number of times one can take the exam. But candidates who do not pass the NCLEX exam are required to observe a 45-day waiting period between test attempts. This effectively allows for a maximum of eight tests within a year.

Dr. Akram Ahmad
Dr. Akram Ahmad
about the author

Dr. Akram Ahmad is a clinical pharmacist and lecturer with over 10 years of teaching and research experience across various subjects of medicine in India, Malaysia and Australia. He is an educationist and a medpreneur with extensive knowledge of the global healthcare diaspora. Through his articles, videos and engaging sessions, he always aims to impart unexplored knowledge about the healthcare world to interested students and professionals.