what is a general nurse?

As a general nurse, you perform a range of responsibilities to care for patients in medical settings. You work in hospitals, private clinics, aged care homes and community settings like schools and rural communities. Within a hospital, you work in various departments providing care to patients in intensive care, theatre or maternity.

Nurses in New Zealand are responsible for basic patient care duties like giving medications or administering injections. They also operate medical equipment to provide diagnostic assistance to doctors. As a general nurse, you are the link between a doctor and the patient, providing support in multiple health situations. You work alongside other nurses and healthcare professionals to ensure positive patient outcomes.

Educating patients is a crucial aspect of the profession. It can positively affect a patient's life and help them to improve. As a general nurse, you share knowledge about health and wellbeing to provide lifestyle improvements.

The main benefit of nursing is the ability to work in different areas or choose a speciality to pursue. For instance, you can work with elderly patients and people with disabilities or specialise in adult, child or newborn care. You can also work outdoors as part of a cruise ship medical team or flying medical services.

general nurse roles

average salary of a general nurse

General nurses earn an average salary of between $76,000 to $95,000 annually in New Zealand. Nurses with minimal experience and educational qualifications start with a salary of $67,000 per year. With experience, additional qualifications and specialisation, your earnings can increase to $144,000 annually. Aside from the base salary, you can increase your remuneration by taking extra shifts or working overtime. You may work part-time in various facilities since most nursing roles are on shifts. Nurses also receive benefits like annual leave days, medical and life insurance and various allowances.

what factors affect the salary of a general nurse?

As a general nurse, your experience and qualifications dictate your remuneration package. Improving your skills raises your salary prospects. Your area of specialisation can also enhance your wages. For instance, if you work in intensive care, your earnings are higher compared with other nurses. The location also impacts your remuneration since general nurses' salaries are determined by region. Generally, if you work in metro areas and large cities, your salary is higher due to greater demand and the higher cost of living.

general nurse careers

types of general nurses

The types of general nurses in New Zealand depend on their specialisation and the level of training or qualifications they possess. Some types of nurses include:

  • enrolled nurse: an enrolled nurse usually has completed a diploma in enrolled nursing and meets the designated standards of practice. They work under general nurses and provide basic patient care like reading treatment plans and recording patients' temperature and blood pressure readings.
  • clinical nurses: as a clinical nurse, you have the qualifications of a general nurse and additional training in a specialised area of care. A clinical nurse can train in specific diseases like diabetes or specialise in paediatrics care.
  • nurse practitioner: a nursing practitioner has:
    • worked as a general nurse for at least four years
    • completed a Master's degree that is accredited by the Nursing Council
    • passed a Nursing Council of New Zealand assessment.

working as a general nurse

A general nurse is a care worker who helps patients by administering recommended treatments. The job is hands-on, and you will spend most of the day working on your feet. Here are the job expectations in the role, including daily tasks:

medical staff in operating room
medical staff in operating room

general nurse education and skills

Some of the educational qualifications for a general nurse include:

To become a general nurse you need to:

  • complete a Bachelor of Nursing, or other Level 7 or 8 qualification approved by the Nursing Council of New Zealand
  • pass an assessment by an approved provider
  • pass a Nursing Council of New Zealand examination for general nurses.

general nurses also need to register with the Nursing Council of New Zealand.

  • work experience: you need experience in nursing or care work. If you just finished college, you can look for internships and entry-level positions like a nursing assistant to help you gain experience in the field.

general nurse skills and competencies

A general nurse needs the following qualities:

  • written and verbal communication: as a general nurse, you communicate with other medical professionals and work closely with the patients' families. Communication skills help you give clear information to various professionals and patients. You may need to explain medical terms to patients in simple terms they can understand. You also need written communication skills to write reports.
  • critical thinking: as a general nurse, you need critical thinking skills to make informed patient assessments. Critical thinking also helps you advise patients experiencing difficulties and develop practical solutions to various issues.
  • compassion: being compassionate is a valuable quality for general nurses. You need to be empathetic with patients regardless of their condition. Compassion helps you provide emotional support to the patients and their family members.
  • teamwork: as a general nurse, you always work in a team and must cooperate with other medical professionals to deliver the best care. Teamwork skills help to collaborate and work alongside others.

FAQs about working as a general nurse

Here are the most asked questions about working as a general nurse:

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