What's the career outlook for Master of Advanced Nursing graduates?

Nursing professionals at work
Nursing professionals at work

In a world still feeling the tremors of a global pandemic, Australia’s healthcare industry is in a pivotal evolution.

The role of, and need for, qualified nurses continues to be crucial. Experts have forecasted a significant nursing shortage in Australia, with dwindling numbers attributed to pandemic-related burnout, travel restrictions reducing skilled migration visas, the reallocation of nursing staff, and reduced student enrolments in nursing courses.

At the same time, technology has accelerated during COVID-19 to become an increasingly important part of patient care. Growing expectation for a better patient experience and personalised, accurate, real-time health data has driven demand for the integration of digital health, forging nursing into a new frontier.

This new era of healthcare beckons a new generation of highly qualified nurses and new possibilities for careers in advanced nursing. It’s bigger than filling a gap in the nursing shortage; this is about being on the forefront of an industry-wide transformation, where expertise in handling complex and evolving challenges will be invaluable.

Below, we explore the non-negotiable need for future-focused nurses and the emerging career pathways and potential career salaries for advanced nursing graduates.

What’s the career outlook for nurses in Australia?

When it comes to job demand, prospects and potential, the career outlook for nurses in Australia looks bright.

Our nursing shortage combined with an aging population, an increase in complex health issues and demand for digital health integration has created even more possibilities for careers in advanced nursing. Let’s take a look.

Increasing demand

Australia’s nursing shortage is well-documented and driven by a myriad of factors, including advancements in tech, an aging population, more complex care needs due to a rise in chronic illnessmental health issues and more.

According to the Australian Government’s National Skills Commission (NSC), registered nurses are at the top of the list for increasing job demand. Combined with “aged and disabled carers”, the need for registered nurses is projected to grow by a staggering 40 per cent by 2025. But the demand for industry experts doesn’t end there.

The NCS’s employment projections for November 2021 - 2026 also predict a growth of 26.5 per cent for health and welfare services managers, 16.5 per cent for nurse educators and researchers, 23.1 per cent for nurse managers and 21.6 per cent for midwives.

Strong projected job growth and salaries

With increased - and urgent - demand for highly trained nurses comes an increased need to incentivise the uptake of roles. This means higher nursing career salaries and job growth are on the cards for current nurses and advanced graduates. Earlier this year, NSW nurses and midwives received a 4.5 per cent pay increase under the government’s Fair Pay Policy - the biggest pay increase in over a decade.

In Tasmania, nurses and midwives have accepted a deal that will see their pay rise by about 15 per cent over three years - with the remaining states and territories expected to make similar arrangements. The tech-driven expansion of job possibilities within the nursing sector also paves the way for higher-paid positions, opening more doors than ever for nursing professionals.

Increasing need for advanced skills

As the industry continues to evolve, so does the shape of careers in advanced nursing and the skills required to succeed in them.

The rise of digital health - which encompasses everything from wearables, mobile apps, digital health records and remote care - is driving an urgent need for tech-proficient and adaptive nurses who can still deliver a high standard of person-centred care.

Simultaneously, the increase in complex health conditions and aged care needs alongside national policy reform is driving a demand for strategic thinkers who are equipped with advanced skills for the modern healthcare landscape.

This evolution makes continued education not only a value-add for nurses looking to make a mark, but a necessity.

Emerging roles in nursing

Times of great need often foster times of the most significant growth. There are a number of new career pathways for nurses sprouting from the new soil of the Australian healthcare landscape, driven by a rapidly-evolving society’s demand. These include corporate nursing advisors to assist with counseling employees, and primary healthcare nurses to provide preventative support to in-need communities such as older adults, people with disabilities and diverse groups. Traditional nursing roles are also expanding to provide a greater range of services, including mental health care and chronic disease management.

How can a Master of Advanced Nursing advance my career?

Whether you’re a junior nurse looking to accelerate your career or an experienced professional looking to solidify a future-proof skill set in your industry, a Master of Advanced Nursing can equip you with the expertise you need to have a truly transformative impact.

Here are some of the ways a Master of Advanced nursing can advance your career.

Develop specialist expertise

There are a range of specialised, in-demand and highly compensated career pathways within the field of nursing, and a Master of Advanced Nursing can open these doors.

The type of specialisations will vary between different institutions. Students of UTS Online’s Master of Advanced Nursing can choose from majors in acute care, chronic and complex care, quality and safety, critical care and mental health.

A general option with no major is also available.

Gain a cutting-edge skill set to respond to complex healthcare needs

Australians are facing unprecedented health challenges with limited resources, policy reform, an aging population and increasing complex health issues. They need well-equipped healthcare professionals who are ready to step up and thrive under challenging conditions.

With a Master of Advanced Nursing, graduates will be equipped to do exactly that, gaining contemporary skills for the healthcare landscape of tomorrow.

Shape the future of a high-impact industry

Between increasing salaries, national policy reform and evolving position responsibilities, the healthcare industry is undergoing major transformation - and it needs experts to lead it.

Advanced degree holders are well poised to play a significant role in shaping new healthcare policies to improve the industry and outcomes for both patients and industry professionals alike.

Increase your earning potential

With specialised skills and advanced knowledge, highly qualified nurses are more likely to secure better-paying positions. They’re also better placed to advocate for higher salaries in their current roles.

In Australia, some of the highest paying nurse positions include Director of Nursing with a national average salary of $130,000+, Clinical Nurse Manager with a national average salary of $110,000+ and Certified Registered Nurse Anaesthetist with a national average salary of $104,000.

Stay ahead of emerging technologies in healthcare roles

Increasingly, nurses are using digital health strategies to help deliver patient care and improve health outcomes. These technologies - and their uses - are evolving rapidly and require adaptive and well-equipped professionals to make the most of them. A Master of Advanced Nursing will ensure students are equipped to not only master current digital health technologies but handle the advancements to come.

What roles can I take with a postgraduate nursing degree?

A postgraduate nursing degree can open a number of professional doors. Whether you’re a current nurse looking to advance, specialise or pivot roles, or a junior nurse looking to accelerate your career trajectory, there are many opportunities on offer if you hold a master’s degree, graduate diploma or graduate certificate.

Here are some of the roles an advanced nursing qualification can lead to.

Clinical Nurse Specialist

With entry-level positions starting at over $100,000 a year and more experienced workers earning over $130,000, a Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) is one of the higher paid roles in the nursing industry. A CNS is an advanced practice nurse who specialises in a certain area of nursing, such as paediatrics, eating disorders, women’s health or emergency care. 

Because of the difference in specialisation settings, the specific responsibilities of the role will vary but often include providing direct patient care through clinical practice, consulting with healthcare staff on treatment plans, developing or revising relevant policies, and providing education and training to the team. You can become a CNS with a graduate certificate qualification. 

Clinical Nurse Educator

A Clinical Nurse Educator (CNE) plays an integral role in training and development for both current and future nursing staff. The role involves strong collaboration between different healthcare professionals, nursing faculty staff and students.

In addition to educating and assessing nursing students, a CNE will develop, implement and analyse student training programs - so a strategic understanding of the industry and healthcare landscape is highly valuable.

In Australia, entry-level CNE positions start at over $100,000 a year and more experienced workers earn over $120,000. These roles can be gained with a graduate certificate qualification. 

Clinical Nurse Consultant

With entry-level salaries starting at over $113,000 per year and experienced Clinical Nurse Consultants (CNC) earning over $130,000, CNC’s are among the highest paid nursing specialists.

Like CNSs and many CNEs, CNCs are Advanced Practice Registered Nurses who specialise in a certain area of nursing. They provide expert clinical advice to patients, and implement and evaluate innovative clinical practice models that may involve new treatments, therapeutic strategies and technologies.

Nurse Unit Manager

A Nurse Unit Manager is responsible for supervising and managing a nursing team in their chosen healthcare setting. They’re most often found in hospitals, outpatient clinics and aged care facilities and their role involves anything from setting work schedules, to making budgetary decisions, to overseeing patient care. In Australia, entry-level positions start at over $108,000 and experienced Nurse Unit Managers earn over $130,000.

The need for advanced nurses has never been higher, and these are just a sample of the careers in advanced nursing a postgraduate qualification can open up. Australia’s post-pandemic healthcare landscape is ripe with opportunity for current and aspiring nurses who want to make a difference.

Drive better outcomes for person-centred care with UTS Online

Why study advanced nursing at UTS Online? Designed for nurses who want to drive better outcomes for person-centered care, the course equips graduates with the expertise and industry savvy the healthcare landscape demands. UTS Online is also ranked #1 for academic reputation in nursing in midwifery.

Learn more about how you can transform the future of healthcare with the UTS Online Master of Advanced Nursing and our other postgraduate nursing degrees.