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Nursing Officer

With a career in the Army, you’ll enjoy the sort of variety, challenges and travel that you simply can’t get as a civilian nurse.



Additional Information

IN BRIEF

If you're a fully qualified nurse or you are currently completing a nursing degree, you could join the Army and experience adventure, variety and travel that are well beyond the scope of most nursing jobs. Your Primary Place of work will be in one of Army's deployable health units. Here, in addition to training for your operational role, you will be afforded the opportunities to maintain your clinical skills through attachments to primary care, rehabilitation and hospital facilities. As an Army nurse you can expect deployment on exercises and operations both at home and overseas.

LIFESTYLE

Life in the Army is rich and rewarding. Your work could take you across Australia and even overseas. You'll have memorable experiences such as joining disaster-relief missions and participating in combat operations. You will gain skills and confidence in a supportive team environment and make friends for life. You'll also have access to extensive sport and leisure facilities ensuring a good work/life balance.

TRAINING

You'll join the Army as an undergraduate or a qualified nurse. Either way you will go on to receive world-class leadership training plus opportunities for professional development. Fitness training will also be a part of your job, as you'll need to be in good physical shape to carry out your duties safely and effectively. Click on the Training links below for more detailed information.

WHAT YOU COULD EARN

In the Army you'll receive a competitive salary, generous Superannuation and an excellent range of benefits. You get paid from the day you start training and your salary will increase with rank and experience.

NURSING OFFICERS
can earn over
$73,300 p.a.
on completion of initial employment training. This salary includes Uniform and Service allowances and applies to full time Officer entry.



Job Details

Undergraduate, Graduate

The Australian Regular Army employs Registered General Nurses as nurses primarily in its deployable health units, however, there are opportunities for employment in primary healthcare facilities, in-patient facilities  as well as roles in training and health management, administration and command .

Nurses can expect to work in units which, when deployed, provide primary health care and immediate resuscitation in a pre-hospital setting. Additionally, Army has a field hospital that can provide a comprehensive hospital capability. These units will deploy during combat, peace-keeping and humanitarian relief operations. Whatever the type of deployment it will test your professional, mental and physical capabilities.

When not on exercises or operations, Nurses focus on training for operations through a range of individual and group activities. There are opportunities to maintain clinical skills through employment on Defence bases delivering primary healthcare and limited in-patient care. There are also programs through which nurses are placed  in major metropolitan hospitals to maintain higher order clinical skills. Nurses can also fill a range of key management, administrative and command positions which will develop your skills and professional horizon.

In addition to generalists, the Nursing Corps has a requirement for officers from key specialisations, in particular nurses with post-graduate emergency, peri-operative and intensive care nursing qualifications. If you do not have a formal post graduate qualification, the Army offers a  range of paid post-graduate training opportunities in these and other specialist areas.

A career as an Army Nurse offers variety and challenges in employment and travel not available in the normal hospital environment. You will gain experience and skills that will equip you for advancement in the Army, and will also be in high demand in your profession.

Graduate (Reserve)

The Australian Army employs Registered General Nurses as Reserve Nurses. These officers are an integral component of all of the capabilities the Nursing Corps is expected to deliver and you can expect to train with and deploy alongside your Regular Army colleagues on exercises and operations fulfilling the same range of roles. As with regular Army nurses, the Reserve welcomes applications from a wide range of specialist nurses with post-graduate clinical qualifications and experience. Whatever your specialisation, the Reserve has a place for you.

Entry

Graduate

If you are in your final year of study - or you are already a degree qualified professional - and you are looking for a job that offers satisfaction, excitement and a challenge, and the opportunity to utilise and further develop your management and leadership skills, then you may wish to consider a career as an Officer (Graduate Only) in the Australian Regular Army. On appointment as an Officer (Graduate Only) in the Army, you will complete the Specialist Service Officer First Appointment Course at the Royal Military College Duntroon, ACT. This initial officer course consists of two modules, Foundation Skills and Basic Officer Skills, completed as one block of training.

Undergraduate

The Australian Regular Army has a continuing need for undergraduates studying for professional and technical vocations. This need is partly met by the Undergraduate Scheme, and partly by the Graduate Entry Scheme.

The Undergraduate Scheme appoints selected tertiary students as Commissioned Officers and they are sponsored to complete their studies.

In addition to the payment of a salary while studying, the Undergraduate Scheme provides for tuition fees, Student Contribution Charges, library and examination fees and the provision of textbooks.

Note: Full-fee paying students can apply for Army Undergraduate Scheme and GMS entry; however sponsorship funding is limited to the equivalent of full time student contribution band rate for a Commonwealth Supported Place (HECS) only. The remainder of the cost of a full-fee degree is the member's responsibility.

If you have further questions about the sponsorship or about life as a Medical Officer in the ADF, get in touch with a member from the Specialist Health team via email: healthjobs@dfr.com.au

Graduate (Reserve)

If you are already a degree qualified professional and currently employed as a legal professional in your civilian capacity, and you are looking for a job that offers satisfaction, excitement and a challenge, then you may wish to consider a career as a Specialist Service Officer (Graduate Only) in the Australian Army Reserve. The Army Reserve will also provide you with the opportunity to utilise and further develop your management and leadership skills.

Specialist Service Officers are appointed direct to their unit and are required to complete the Specialist Service Officer First Appointment Course (SSO FAC) which is described in the 'Military Training' section.

Further information on part-time ADF careers can be found by accessing the Defence Reserves Support Council website.

The Council promotes the benefits of Reserve service by establishing partnerships with the community and employers.

The following link has information on the Army Reserve SSO Tier Matrix. 

Pay & Allowances

Graduate

Salary on appointment will be $60,443 per year.*

Uniform Allowance at a rate of $682 per year is paid to assist members to maintain an approved scale of uniforms in good order and condition.

In addition to your salary, you will also receive Service Allowance of $13,717 per year except while undertaking Academic, Military (Initial) or Employment training. This allowance compensates a member for the unique requirements that service life may impose on an individual and his or her family.

Salary will continue to increase based on rank and the number of years of service completed in that rank. Refer to the Salary Scales for further details.

* Please note that these figures do not include compulsory deductions for taxation; meals, accommodation and utilities (as applicable); or superannuation.

Undergraduate

With 2 years to graduation: $42,566 per year.*

In final year: $48,242 per year.*

Salary (excluding allowances) on completion of military and employment training will be:

$60,443 per year.*

In addition to your salary, you will also receive Service Allowance of $13,717 per year except while undertaking Academic, Military (Initial) or Employment training. This allowance compensates a member for the unique requirements that service life may impose on an individual and his or her family.

Your salary will continue to increase based on your rank and the number of years of service completed in that rank. Your pay grade may increase following the acquisition of additional skills and completion of further training. Refer to the Salary Scales for further details.

Trainees with dependants may be entitled to Trainee's Dependant Allowance which is paid to enable trainees with dependants to receive a salary not less than $46,448 per year while training. Conditions apply. Speak to your Careers Counsellor for details.

* Note: These figures do not include compulsory deductions for taxation; meals, accommodation and utilities (as applicable); or superannuation.

Graduate (Reserve)

Fully qualified graduates are appointed as a LT and are paid a daily rate of $165.60 tax free.

In addition to your salary, a Reserve Allowance of $28.19 per day is payable to compensate for the unique demands of Reserve Service.

Your salary will continue to increase based on your rank and the number of years of service completed in that rank. Your pay grade may increase following the acquisition of additional skills and completion of further training.

Refer to the Salary Scales for further details.

General Requirements

Age Requirement

Graduate

The maximum age for entry is such that an applicant must be able to complete their Return of Service Obligation prior to compulsory retirement age (normally 60 years of age).

Undergraduate

The maximum age for entry is such that an applicant must be able to complete their degree and their Return of Service Obligation incurred under the Scheme prior to compulsory retirement age (normally 60 years of age).

Applicants are to have reached 18 years at the date of application for Undergraduate.

Graduate (Reserve)

Applicants must be aged between 17 and 60 years of age inclusive on entry.

Citizenship Requirement

Only Australian Citizens are permitted to serve in the ADF.

If you are a permanent resident of Australia, the ADF may consider a temporary waiver of the citizenship requirement if the position for which you are applying cannot be filled by an applicant who meets all the citizenship requirements, and then only in exceptional circumstances. You will be required to obtain Australian Citizenship as early as possible following enlistment or appointment.

Find out more in our Recruitment Centre or ask your local Defence Force Recruiting Centre.

Security Requirement

The Department of Defence requires ADF employees to have security clearances appropriate to their employment.

A process of background checks, collection of relevant information and, as required, interviews, enables the Australian Government Security Vetting Agency to make an informed assessment of an applicant's suitability for a security clearance.

The minimum security clearance level required is Negative Vetting Level 1, and current policy requires applicants to have a checkable background for the previous 10 years. Required information includes:

  • Residence
  • Employment
  • Education
  • Credit

Australian Citizenship is a requirement for a security clearance and a clearance will only be granted to a non-citizen in exceptional circumstances.

Aptitude Requirement

The application process to join the Australian Defence Force requires you to complete a series of aptitude tests which may include verbal, spatial and numerical ability and a general maths test. Some jobs may also require you to complete additional testing at a later date.

Psychology support staff will explain what is involved with each test.

The aptitude tests provide information about your suitability for the Defence Force and for particular jobs. Defence Force Recruiting can then help you identify jobs that best match your abilities.

Further information on the aptitude testing requirements can be found here.

Education & Experience

Graduate

An applicant for appointment to RAANC must be registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) through the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency as a Registered Nurse (DIV 1). Applicants must have completed two years recent post graduate experience ideally with experience in one or more of the following areas:

  • General medical nursing
  • Surgical nursing
  • Emergency nursing
  • High dependency nursing
  • Peri-operative nursing
  • Health education.

Candidates with experience in other areas are encouraged to apply and may be required to undertake a period of compulsory employment in one of these clinical areas listed above prior to achieving deployable status.

Undergraduate

If you are undertaking a three or four year degree you may apply for undergraduate sponsorship after successfully completing the first semester of your first year of university studies. However, entry will be conditional upon successfully completing 12 months (two semesters) of tertiary studies with above average results. Army will only sponsor the general nurse component of training. If you are undertaking a double degree you may be required to change to a single degree to achieve sponsorship.

Applicants who have completed their University degree - but not their two years post-grad experience - can also apply for entry to Army under the Defence Undergraduate Scheme. These applicants will be considered with other Undergrad applicants and, if successful, be sponsored to complete their two years postgraduate experience.

The post graduate experience is to consist of one year of practical experience in a transition to practice program followed by one year of clinical experience in areas applicable to Army nursing, eg. Medical, Surgical, Emergency, Peri-operative, High Dependency, rehabilitation or mental health.

Graduate (Reserve)

An applicant for appointment to the RAANC Reserve must be registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency as a Registered Nurse (DIV 1), General. Registered nurses must have completed two years recent post graduate experience ideally in one of the following areas:

  • general medical nursing;
  • surgical nursing;
  • emergency nursing;
  • high dependency nursing;
  • peri-operative nursing;
  • mental health nursing;
  • midwifery;
  • paediatric nursing; and
  • health education.

Candidates with experience in other areas are encouraged to apply but may be required to undertake a period of compulsory employment in one of the above clinical areas prior to achieving deployable status.

Medical & Fitness Requirements

Undergraduate, Graduate

To be enlisted or appointed, you must be medically and physically fit for entry to your chosen occupation. This is partially assessed from the completion of an extensive questionnaire covering your medical history, followed by a physical examination.

You will also be required to successfully pass a physical fitness test before appointment.

For further details on medical and physical fitness standards refer to Physical Fitness Standards for Entry into the ADF and Medical Process for Entry into the ADF.

 

Graduate (Reserve)

To be appointed, you must be medically and physically fit for entry to your chosen occupation. This is partially assessed from the completion of an extensive questionnaire covering your medical history, followed by a physical examination.

You will also be required to successfully pass a physical fitness test before your appointment.

For further details on medical and physical fitness standards refer to Physical Fitness Standards for Entry into the ADF and Medical Process for Entry into the ADF.

 

Period of Service

Graduate

You will be appointed for an Initial Minimum Period of Service (IMPS) of three years. Subsequent periods of service may be offered subject to the requirements of the ADF and your suitability for further service. You may tender your resignation at any time provided you do not have an outstanding Initial Minimum Period of Service obligation.

Your Careers Counsellor can advise on how IMPS will relate to your chosen occupation.

Undergraduate

Undergraduates will be appointed for an Initial Minimum Period of Service equalling the length of sponsorship plus an additional 365 days.

It is simply calculated by the following principle: for the time spent in the Regular Army Supplement on the Undergraduate Scheme you must serve an equivalent time plus one year. 'Pay-back' of sponsorship begins once you have completed your studies and commence effective employment with the Army.

After completion of the Undergraduate degree, Nurses will spend two years consolidating their clinical skills in a civilian hospital. This period is referred to as Postgraduate Clinical Placement.

During this placement Army continues to pay your salary at the Lieutenant rate and you are entitled to Service Allowance. You are not permitted to receive salary or payment from the hospital. Army expects you to enhance your clinical skills in accident and emergency (trauma), peri-operative or intensive / critical care.

You do not accrue an additional Initial Minimum Period of Service obligation during your Postgraduate Clinical placement, however you do not remit the 'Pay-back' from your undergraduate degree sponsorship until your placement is completed.

Graduate (Reserve)

Nurses enlisted into the Army Reserve may undertake volunteer service until the age of 65 (Compulsory Retiring Age), subject to the requirements of the Army and suitability for further service. Members may transfer out of the active Army Reserve at any time.

Military Training

Graduate, Undergraduate, Graduate (Reserve)

The Specialist Service Officer Course is conducted at the Royal Military College - Duntroon and provides Regular and Reserve Force Specialist Service Officers with fundamental knowledge of leadership, command and control, unit and personnel administration, basic military skills and the ideals of officer behaviour and attitudes necessary for future employment.

The Specialist Service Officer Course is conducted at the Royal Military College - Duntroon and provides Regular and Reserve Force Specialist Service Officers with fundamental knowledge of leadership, command and control, unit and personnel administration, basic military skills and the ideals of officer behaviour and attitudes necessary for future employment.

The ARA course is 42 days of training and currently conducted in the first half of the training year. The ARES course is conducted in the latter half of the year and consists of three modules. Module One is 9 days, Module Two is 16 days and Module Three is 16 days. Depending on your tiering you may only be require to complete one, two or all three modules before being deemed competent for employment as an SSO. 

ARES SSO Tiering Matrix.

During RMC (Military Training) members may be required to pay a contribution towards meals, accommodation and utilities.

Physical Fitness Levels

All trainees attending training at RMC are required to participate in an Initial Fitness Assessment (IFA) on arrival at RMC.

Ares SSOs must complete IFA for both modules. This is an entry level requirement for all courses conducted at RMC. The IFA is based on a shuttle run, push ups and sit ups and is designed to determine whether trainees are at the minimum required standard to complete training at RMC. Due to the unique nature of training at RMC, trainees who do not demonstrate the base line levels of the assessment may be withdrawn from training and RTU. If you do not pass the IFA, you will be medically reviewed by the RMC Medical Officer and you will be advised if you are able to continue with training.

For further details on physical fitness standards refer to Physical Fitness Standards for Entry into the ADF.

Employment Training

Graduate, Undergraduate

Logistic Officers Basic Course: 3 Weeks

After training at RMC, you will attend the Logistic Officers Basic course at ALTC Bonegilla, Victoria. This course will provide you with the necessary training and information to apply your professional skills in a military environment.

Further Training

Undergraduate, Graduate

You will undertake the Australian Defence Force Extended Practice Nursing (ADFEPN) Course in the first 12 months of appointment. This is conducted at the ALTC and is conducted in 2 parts.  Phase 1 in 15 days and Phase 2 in 10 days. You can also expect to undertake additional training in military logistics at ALTC in the first 2 years.

Health units also interact with major medical facilities in each region to provide additional clinical skills and currency training for Nurses.

Registered Nurses are sponsored for attendance at Universities, however due to the competition for selection you could expect to fulfil at least four years service prior to sponsorship.

Employment Location

Undergraduate, Graduate

As a Regular Army Nurse you first posting is likely to be to a health battalion providing either pre-hospital trauma and primary health care or a field hospital unit. The primary fist posting locations are Brisbane, Darwin and Townsville. However, once you have established yourself as an Army Nurse, there are a range of employment opportunities across the country primarily working in Health Centres delivering primary and low dependency in-patient care. Whether you are employed in a deployable unit or a health centre, Army has a range of opportunities for external clinical placement in major metropolitan hospitals, these are designed to maintain both general and specialist nursing skills.

There are also opportunities to work overseas wherever Australian troops are currently deployed.

Posting tenure for the majority of officers on appointment is two years, and officers should expect a high degree of mobility in the first few years of service.

Graduate (Reserve)

Reserve Nurses can be expected to be posted to a range units providing both pre-hospital trauma and primary care or in-patient field hospital level care. The principal reserve unit is 3rd Health Support Battalion. The unit headquarters is located in Adelaide, but with Companies located in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane; there are also smaller detachments elsewhere. The Army Reserve has detachments located across the country, so matter where you live there will be a local unit that may require nursing support.

As with your Regular Army colleagues, there are also opportunities to work overseas wherever Australian troops are currently deployed.

National Qualifications

Undergraduate

Following the successful completion of your diploma/degree in Nursing, you will register as a nurse with AHPRA. You will then be appointed as a Lieutenant in the Australian Regular Army (ARA).


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