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Diploma and Degree in Nursing

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#1 twokids+1more

Posted 29 December 2012 - 10:56 AM


I am thinking about having a career change. I have wanted to do Nursing since i finished school but didn't get the marks and ended up doing Accounting at tafe. I haven't really worked in the last 6 years as i have been at home with the kids. I have three kids 6,4 and 2 and i am feeling it is now time to start thinking about going back to work and a good time to change my career.

Anyway, I have been looking into doing a Certificate 111 in Aged Care and Home & Community Care and then once i am working and i will do the Cert IV in Aged Care or Health Nursing and once all kids are in school i might do a Diploma in Nursing.  Then i might think of a Degree but who knows.

My question is what is the difference between Diploma and Degree qualified? What do Degree qualified nurses do that Diploma nurses can't say when working in a hospital?


#2 justinefay

Posted 29 December 2012 - 11:42 AM


I'm a Registered Nurse working on a busy medical ward.

An aged care certificate will qualify you to work in a nursing home, or as an aged carer in the community. In this job you will perform a lot of personal care, such as helping incapacitated older people to shower, use the toilet, change incontinence pads, get dresssed, brush their teeth. You might help to prepare or serve meals, dispense medications from a pre-packed Webster pack, do dressings on wounds and assist with leisure activities, like trips to the shops. I found working as an aged carer very heavy and stressful, personally.

A diploma in nursing should qualify you to be an enrolled nurse (EN) or an endorsed enrolled nurse (EEN). An EEN is endorsed to give medications under the direction of the doctor and with indirect supervision from a registered nurse. An EN does not give medication. ENs and EENs work in different wards of hospitals, including medical, surgical, operating theatre, emergency and in doctors surgeries and aged care homes, they do all of the things that aged carers do, (personal care) plus more dressings, taking observations and monitoring vital signs, hospital paperwork such as admitting patients and discharge planning, and other tasks specific to their work area (for instance theatre ENs will spend a good portion of their day setting up for surgeries and cleaning up after them)

I did a three year degree to become a registered nurse, which qualifies me to do all of the above, as well as give prescribed medications including oral meds, intravenous injections and drips, and other needles (but not immunisations - thats another short course) As an RN you often have other nurses working under your direction, and are ultimately responsible for the patients' wellbeing and care. RNs work in hospitals, nursing homes, doctors surgeries and the community in lots of diverse roles, and their is a vast number of ways in which you can advance your career as an RN (some examples include diabetes education, child and family health, midwifery, scrub nurse in theatre, nurse leadership, High dependency or intensive care nurse.)

I hope that answers your question, it's a actually a really big question

#3 Kafkaesque

Posted 29 December 2012 - 12:36 PM

I'm not sure where the pp is or where you are but here in wa an EN can do everything an RN can do except for IV medications. You can become an advanced skills EN who can do everything an RN can do except for the management side of things. ENs can't coordinate shifts and there isn't the career progression opportunities.

Hospital nursing is hard physical as well as mental work.

#4 elmo_mum

Posted 29 December 2012 - 12:45 PM

ens cant give meds
eens (med endprsed) can give meds - although may need in house training to do iv's

some hospis wont have ens on various wards...

ens can supervise at aged care, but still report to a rn

#5 KNL909

Posted 29 December 2012 - 01:21 PM

I am an IV endorsed EEN in QLD so can do basically the same as an RN except the management/supervision side of things.  It all depends on the policy of the hospital you are working at.  I work at private hospital but I know EENs working in the public system aren't allowed to do IV medications due to the public hospital policy.

#6 Screm

Posted 29 December 2012 - 02:58 PM

ASEN's in WA do IV meds and in critical care areas look after monitored pt's, inotropes, BiPAP, artlines etc. Only thing they can't do is co-ordinate, hold the DD keys and as of 2 years ago give DD's but that will be changing again when they revise the Poison's Act. We work under the direction of a RN.

Once an ASEN in WA there is no further career progression. I would advice you just to do your RN.

#7 BeachedAsBro

Posted 29 December 2012 - 08:44 PM


Edited by BeachedAsBro, 30 December 2012 - 06:28 AM.

#8 The 7 Dwarfs

Posted 29 December 2012 - 09:08 PM

It must depend which state you are in, because in Victoria and South Australia ENs can give medications and can pretty much do most of what RNs can do, the difference is ENs do it under the direction of an RN, where as an RN can just do it. For example, As needed (PRN) medications an RN can give as prescribed on the medication chart, and EN need to clear it with an RN first. Nurse initiated medications are the same, RN can just give, EN needs to clear it with the RN first. ENs have to get an RN to sign off on a lot of things, like wound management plans.

Sometimes things will be designated RN only tasks, such as more complex wounds, high risk feeds etc, but that is at the discretion of the hospital / facility and or doctor.

ENs where I work (aged care facility) do not  typically do any personal care work unless they decide to help the carers out or there are addition needs for that person, which is the same for the RNs. Hospital was a different matter though, did much more care work, however the same applied to ENs regarding what they could and couldn't do. A lot of the time is it difficult to work out who is a RN / EN unless you can see their ID.

Carers where I work don't give out any medication or dressings.

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