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4 ways Australian nurses can earn more money

Photo: 4 ways Australian nurses can earn more money
Australian nurses who participate in the public healthcare system are paid from the public purse at rates that are fairly standardised. With this being the situation, it might seem as if nursing salaries are somewhat inflexible. Despite that, there are some viable ways for nurses to increase their earning potential. Let’s take a look at 4 different ways you could potentially earn more money as a nurse in Australia:

1. Train for a Lucrative Specialisation or Management Role

Nursing roles do not all pay equally. Some are more lucrative than others. You could generally earn a higher salary as a nurse practitioner, nurse unit manager or director of nursing than you would earn as a registered nurse.
To secure one of these higher paying roles, you’ll need to be able to demonstrate to prospective employers that you possess the competence and expertise necessary to be trusted with such a job. To earn this required trust, it is typically necessary to first acquire at least a couple of years worth of work experience as a registered nurse. After that, the next step is to attain a suitable postgraduate qualification such as a master’s degree in advanced nursing.

2. Work When Nobody Else Wants to

Ill and injured patients need ongoing care at all hours of the day and night. Somebody has to look after these people on weekends, holidays and in the earliest morning hours – and the nurses who do so have the potential for higher earnings as compared against those who only work weekday hours.

Every state in Australia pays nurses based on their own award system. The specifics of the awards vary by state, but in general, nurses typically earn an increased amount for working night shifts, holidays and weekends.

3. Move to a Location Where Better Pay Is Offered

Nurses in some Australian states earn more than others do. For example, in some nursing roles, you can typically earn a bit more in Queensland than you can in New South Wales. Not only that, the cost of living in, for example, Brisbane, is typically lower than the cost of living in Sydney – which could help to make your nurse’s salary stretch even further if you were to make that particular move. In some cases, a geographic move could make good financial sense for a nurse.

See our guide to nurses’ salaries to investigate what your earning potential might be in a different state if you were to move house.

Moving to a different state within Australia seems to hold better pay potential than nursing in most other foreign countries would. If you compare the Australian healthcare system against the systems in place in other countries, you’re likely to find that Australian nurses have it better in multiple ways. For example, nurses in Australia tend to earn more money and be less overworked than nurses in the UK are.

That said, it may be possible to find lucrative and interesting nursing opportunities outside Australia. Nursing in a foreign country is likely to be a rewarding experience, and it could eventually lead you to a better nursing role here at home; however, depending on the country you choose to move to, just be aware that it might not actually translate to an immediate pay boost.

4. Work With a Nursing Agency

Many hospitals hire full-time nurses directly – but this isn’t the only possible work arrangement for nurses in Australia. Nursing agencies exist to connect healthcare facilities with nurses on an as-needed basis.

Agency nursing is likely to take you to places you might not ordinarily think of working. For example, some agencies have clients in rural areas of Australia, where it’s notoriously difficult for healthcare facilities to recruit and hire the nursing staff they need to maintain operations.

Higher average hourly pay is one of the many advantages of working through nursing agencies rather than seeking employment directly with a hospital or healthcare facility. One possible downside is that you might need to spend a significant amount of time traveling to and from work; however, in many cases, the agency you work with will ensure that your travel expenses are covered.

These 4 ideas could potentially help you to maximise your earnings as a nurse in Australia. If you’re interested in increasing your pay, it could be beneficial to consider implementing one or more of these suggestions.

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