How to Become a Registered Nurse in Australia via 3 Pathways
Nurses here in the Philippines consider Australia as one of the top choices when it comes to working and migrating. The country offers one of the best benefits, professionals enjoy a high standard of living, and opportunities for career development are limitless. With all these advantages, it’s never a surprise why Filipinos love to work in Australia. Because we know how important it is for you to know, allow us to share three different pathways you can take to become a registered nurse in Australia and pursue your profession in the Land Down Under.
Steps on How to Become a Registered Nurse in Australia Featuring 3 Pathways
STEP 1: TAKE THE PTE ACADEMIC EXAM
Wondering what this exam’s for? This will assess your ability to communicate using the English language. The Pearson Test of English (PTE) is formulated by a highly recognized testing body that will help you pursue further studies in universities or migration plans.
The required minimum overall score for each area of assessment (listening, reading, writing, and speaking) is 65. Applicants can only retake the exam twice in every 6 months with a minimum overall score of 65 in each take, 65 in each section for both takes, and nothing falling below 58.
Per experienced takers, they say it’s easier to gain a higher score in PTE than in IELTS. This is because there are more exercises involved which allow added chances of gaining points. Another factor could be the absence of human checking. Since the exams and checking system are run through a computer, the software cannot read human thoughts thus negligent on the coherence of statements and paragraphs.
STEP 2: REGISTER FOR AHPRA
Together with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA), these organizations make sure that foreign medical professionals are capable of practicing according to Australia’s standards.
The applicant’s qualifications and experience will be assessed to check if they meet the requirements. Registration involves 5 criteria: proof of identity, English language proficiency, education standards, length of practice, and capacity to work as a Nurse.
STEP 3: TAKE THE MCQ (NCLEX RN THEORY) EXAM
Starting last March 2020, the regulatory board has included the NCLEX RN in Australia - also known as the Multiple-choice question (MCQ) exam as part of the eligibility assessment. Not all applicants are recommended to take this exam, it is the NMBA that decides as to who should take the test. The same goes for the OSCE (Objective Structured Clinical Examination) - a second type of exam required from the applicants.
If you are approved to take the said exam, you’ll have your IQNM dashboard tracker where updates such as registration and payments will be posted. You’ll receive an authorization test and you’ll be able to book your exam according to the available date, location, and time. The cost of this exam is around $350, inclusive of the registration and scheduling fee.
The introduction of this new registration method has gained positive feedback from foreign Nurses wanting to work in Australia. Previously, all applicants were required to take a bridging course and this method entails a huge amount of money. With the initiation of the new system, chances are given to all International Nurses. I believe this helps fill in the tremendous need for medical practitioners, especially during this trying time.
STEP 4: SECURE A SUBCLASS 600 BUSINESS VISA
A business visa must be secured to complete the 2nd Nursing exam called the OSCE. The maximum length of stay granted is up to 3 months. An applicant can only proceed to this process after successfully passing the MCQ/NCLEX - RN since this gives the eligibility to take the OSCE. Why is there a need to fly for this test? The assessment is only delivered at the Adelaide Health Simulation (AHS) in Adelaide, South Australia. Since OSCE is a practical clinical assessment, the accredited testing center will require all participants to be physically present to take the exam.
Fil-Global understands the members’ desire to pass the exam in just a single take. To provide review assistance, FG has partnered with ACFE (Australian Center for Further Education) so that applicants may take the practical exam with full confidence.
STEP 5: TAKE THE OSCE
This clinical exam will assess the nurse’s knowledge, skills, and competence. Since it involves an application of theory, candidates won’t be able to progress to this step unless they pass the MCQ/NCLEX-RN exam.
The cost of taking the OSCE is around $4,000 per sitting. Ample preparation is required before taking both exams, especially for the OSCE. If you add up fees for airfare, stay, and allowances, you can expect to set aside another $3,000 for this. It’s a costly process and you can’t afford to do retakes, so it’s better to be fully equipped before entering the battle.
Do you remember doing your return demonstrations when you were still completing your nursing studies? It can be pretty intimidating and nerve-wracking. Bear in mind that nursing practice constantly evolves. If you have gained years of clinical experience, this is not a reason to be complacent. What you’ve learned yesterday could be an outdated procedure and you might be surprised that you’re still performing it. So, it’s better to take a refresher by enrolling in a review center.
If you’re looking for more resources that can help you in preparing for the big event, you might want to check out Geeky Medics’ Top Tips for OSCEs. They have a quiz platform with over 5,000 free MCQs and flashcards.
STEP 6: OPTIONS 1, 2, OR 3.
OPTION 1: APPLY FOR GSM SUBCLASS 189 PERMANENT RESIDENCY VISA
This is a points-based visa application that when granted, applicants would be able to permanently live and work in Australia. No sponsor is needed as long as you are found eligible during the assessment. Since registered nurses belong to the skilled occupation list, passing the OSCE along with the other factors will grant you the possibility to get a PR status.
Processing can take around 6 to 12 months. Once approved, applicants can progress their application to citizenship and sponsor qualified family members.