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10 ways to level up your nursing career

So you’ve finished your Bachelor of Nursing, been working as a Registered Nurse for a while, and you’re ready to apply those skills towards a new challenge.

Image: Inside the Nursing simulation lab, Cradle Coast Campus at West Park. 

The beauty of a nursing career is that the opportunities are amazingly varied and you can take your career in all kinds of directions.

And if you’ve been in the workforce as a Registered Nurse for at least six months, you could qualify for one of the University of Tasmania’s postgraduate nursing degrees and specialise in an area that you’re passionate about.

With more than 20 different nursing specialisations to pick from, there’s bound to be something that captures your interest. Adding a postgraduate qualification to your resume adds extra to your pay packet as well.

The median salary for our students one year out from an undergraduate nursing degree is $65,600. But with a postgraduate nursing course this jumps to $81,800, which is more than the national median of $78,600.

Courses like the Graduate Diploma of Nursing or Graduate Certificate in Nursing are available to study part time, online, and can be completed in as little as one year, or as many as five. So, we’re flexible enough to fit your work and personal life.

We’ve picked some interesting specialisations just to pique your interest. But remember, there’s plenty more to pick from.

1. Paediatric

If you think your future lies in caring for children, this specialisation will prepare you for that path, from both the medical and social aspects.

This specialisation explores the interplay of biological and ecological factors that relate to the development of resilience in children, as well as a wide range of interpersonal, social and economic influences, within a family-centred framework.

You will learn about the care of acutely unwell children and their families as well as the pathophysiology of disease, pharmacology, nursing assessment and management of paediatric conditions.

2. Neonatal Intensive Care

This specialisation will equip you to provide comprehensive and therapeutic nursing care to critically ill newborns, premature infants, and their families.

While exploring the science of neonatology, you will gain knowledge in the pathophysiology of respiratory, cardiac, haemodynamic, renal and neurological disease, including advanced supportive therapies. 

You will learn more about acute and chronic variations of health, as well as the diverse needs of premature and term newborn/neonates.

3. Emergency

In many ways the pointy end of medical care, Emergency Nursing is always one of the more popular specialisations for postgraduate students.

Studying this specialisation will give you an understanding of the principles of triage, while examining theories and principles of trauma and acutely unwell patients. You’ll also learn to relate these to common clinical presentations.

4. Critical Care

Designed to be experiential and practice-focused, this specialisation will prepare you to manage patients who are critically ill and in complex critical care situations.

This includes learning about patient deterioration and scientific theories related to nursing critically ill patients with single and multi-organ systems failure.

Specialised cardiothoracic and neuromedical pathology will be explored, as will principles of nursing the critically ill child and obstetric patient.

5. Mental Health/Psychiatric

Did you know depression was the second-highest ranked reason to visit a GP in Tasmania during 2019-2020? And even prior to COVID, Headspace reported in 2019 (PDF 1,110KB) growing demands for services and increased wait times.

In this specialisation, you will explore, discuss and reflect on a range of topics, including: contemporary roles and functions of mental health nursing; therapeutic relationship; assessment and diagnosis; critical reflection; evidenced-based practice; and consumer/caregiver perspectives.

You will also examine the application of biological, psychological, socio-political, cultural, spiritual, environmental, and legal/ethical contexts of mental health nursing practice. 

And you will be introduced to what many describe as sub-specialty mental health areas, such as child and adolescent, older persons, and forensic/correctional and alcohol and other drugs. 

University of Tasmania nursing student on placement at the Royal Hobart Hospital.

6. Gerontological

Aged care is a fast-growing sector and an area worth exploring if you’re looking for a specialisation. 

Explore healthy aging in contemporary professional practice, as well as preparedness to care for people in the last year of their lives, and the concepts of mental health wellbeing and dementia care.

You will also look into the concepts of mental health well-being and dementia care, led by expert practitioners, including the Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre.

7. Addiction Studies

Addiction Studies explores the context of addiction, assessment and management of addictive disorders, as well as approaches to intervention.

You will explore epidemiological theories of substance abuse and identify principles of dependence within a range of maladaptive behaviours, and also extend your knowledge and understanding of treatment approaches, withdrawal management and toxicology.

The course also includes units on delivering drug and alcohol interventions, substitution therapies and the issue of violence and how it can relate to the healthcare service.

8. Primary Health

Primary health care is the “entry level” or first contact point with the health system, includes services like general practitioners, allied health, nurses and preventative health.

In this specialisation, you will gain advanced knowledge, skills and analysis of primary health care (PHC), and explore primary health principles, philosophy, approaches and frameworks for working in a variety of roles.

Electives in this specialisation include: introduction to epidemiology; violence and health; perinatal and infant mental health; wound management; and assessment and management of pain.

9. High Acuity

High Acuity units provide acute care and closer, more frequent monitoring for patients with challenging, acute medical conditions.

This specialisation will help you to develop an understanding of acute illness and how this is applied in the context of complex health conditions. 

You will learn to apply concepts and theories around recognition, response and management of the acute, complex and/or high acuity deteriorating patient.

10. Perioperative

This specialisation will help you hone your skills around the specific needs of patients undergoing and recovering from surgery.

This specialisation will teach you the principles of perioperative nursing, ethical and legal issues related to perioperative nursing, professional issues, infection control, and operating suite planning.

Your studies will also include applied anatomy, pathophysiology and surgical techniques for general surgery.

Ready to take the next step?

To qualify for our courses in postgraduate nursing, you must have worked for at least six months as a Registered Nurse before applying. 

You must also be currently working in the specialised field, or in the process of transferring to the specialised field, to qualify for entry.

Ready to level up your career? Explore our Postgraduate Nursing courses to learn more.