Long shifts, uncomfortable work gear and being at the frontline of the pandemic has not stopped this field emerging as a top career choice.
Interest in nursing has surged despite the pandemic, with the career choice topping other fields in applications received by five out of nine Victorian public universities.
A bachelor’s degree in nursing is the prime choice for students applying to Australian Catholic University, Deakin University, Federation University Australia, La Trobe University and Victoria University, according to Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre data.
Deakin University has had the highest number of nurse aspirants, with general nursing drawing 7987 applicants, followed by Australian Catholic University with 4947, La Trobe University with 2652 and Victoria University with 1427.
Overall, Monash University’s society and culture degree attracted the most applicants to Victorian universities, with 12,879 applying, followed by the University of Melbourne’s Natural and Physical Sciences with 11,386 applicants.
The VTAC data does not include late applications, but provides a first glance at what courses are shaping to be the most popular in 2022.
Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation state secretary Lisa Fitzpatrick said the pandemic had shifted nursing to “the forefront of people’s minds”.
“It’s recognition of what such an amazing contribution nurses have made during the last two years with the pandemic,” Ms Fitzpatrick told 3AW radio on Wednesday.
“It’s been at the forefront of people’s minds and I think people have a great understanding of the work they have done, whether it be looking after people who are unwell, vaccinating the community, it’s very exciting to see.
“All of those students, in three years’ time, will be welcomed with very open arms.”
Ms Fitzpatrick said the profession offered variety, from neonatal care to clinical specialties, theatre, mental health, palliative care and end of life.
While nursing had always been popular, the last two years had been “very different”.
“(It’s) changed us in many ways and hopefully made us appreciate some of the smaller things in life that we took for granted,” she said.
Critically, nursing students could choose to study a degree or a diploma, and choose to go onto further study, Ms Fitzpatrick said.
“That’s a wonderful thing about nursing also, there there’s flexibility in how you can study it,” she said.
“You can travel, you can work anywhere in Australia, you can work overseas and we do have a very good reputation overseas.”
Originally published as Nursing emerges as top career choice, Victorian uni data reveals
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