Advancing your career - Roles in nursing that require further study

WA Health understands and encourages the need for nurses and midwives to maintain their skills, knowledge and competencies. We encourage and support professional development among all our nurses and midwives.

Through our network of health professionals and expert services, we are able to provide a variety of opportunities for staff and we encourage our nurses and midwives to meet with their managers to discuss opportunities for further skills development.

Continuing professional development is critical to maintaining the high standards expected from the nursing and midwifery professions. It is also essential that clinical skills are maintained through participation in ongoing nursing and/or midwifery education and professional development activities.

Professional development programs are continually run in the public health system and all nurses and midwives are provided clinical support throughout their career.

Paid study days and professional development days are available to help facilitate continued learning.

In addition, postgraduate opportunities exist at each university for registered nurses and midwives and through the state training providers for enrolled nurses.

RN specialisation through continued professional development and study

What most nurses and midwives find appealing about their career is the range of specialty fields available to work in. Chances are there is one that suits you, your skills and interests.

The type of specialty you choose may depend on your lifestyle, strengths and an area of interest. The great thing about so much choice is that you can change your area of work or specialty at any time providing vacancies are availabl

All you need to do is apply to work in a different area, although some specialties may require you to do some more study. This can range from a short up-skill course to a formal postgraduate qualification at university.

Nurse practitioner

What is a nurse practitioner?

A nurse practitioner is an experienced registered nurse educated to a masters degree level and authorised to function autonomously and collaboratively in an advanced and extended clinical role.

The nurse practitioner role includes assessment and management of clients using nursing knowledge and skills and may include, but is not limited to:

  • the direct referral of patients to other health care professionals
  • prescribing medications
  • ordering diagnostic investigations.

The nurse practitioner role is grounded in the nursing profession’s values, knowledge, theories and practice and provides innovative and flexible health care delivery that complements other health care providers.

The scope of practice of the nurse practitioner is determined by the context in which the nurse practitioner is authorised to practise.

What’s new for nurse practitioners

  • ‘A diagnosis made by a Nurse Practitioner will now be considered as permissible evidence for the purposes of an ACFI appraisal, if the diagnosis is made within their scope of practice. Previously only a medical practitioner’s diagnosis was deemed valid for the purposes of an ACFI appraisal’. For further information visit the Department of Health (Federal) website (external site).
  • Did you know that the final report from the sustainable health review identified that action was required to allow nurse practitioners to work to full scope of practice? For further information see WA Health Sustainable Health Review.
  • Did you know there is currently a Nurse Practitioner Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) review under way? For further information visit the Department of Health (Federal) website (external site).
  • The Chief Nursing and Midwifery Office is undertaking a range of initiatives to support and promote the NP workforce in WA.

Become a nurse practitioner

To practise in Western Australia a nurse practitioner must hold endorsement with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (external site).

Last reviewed: 19-04-2021
Produced by

Chief Nursing and Midwifery Office