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Taking the time to consider a postgraduate degree, let alone completing one, can feel overwhelming for those working in one of Australia’s most demanding professions.

However, as many nurses have found, there has never been a better time to hone existing skills, specialise in a new field of the profession, or step into leadership.

Not only is the industry calling for more nurses – spanning from those starting their career to those specialising – but returning to education, thanks to online study, has never been more feasible.

Aware of the increasing demands on nurses, Open Universities Australia (OUA), have significantly expanded their suite of postgraduate nursing and health-related degrees from leading Australian universities, helping nurses to return to study online and soar in the current landscape.

With 100% online study options, OUA has changed the game for qualified nurses, allowing them to upskill without reducing time spent on the floor with patients.

A changing industry

Australia’s Future Health Workforce (AFHW) Report has predicted that the nation will be 85,000 nurses short by 2025. It’s a figure that many in the nursing profession have heard before, but as the years pass, it’s becoming more visible.

A shortage of this size not only affects the workload of nurses but the needs of the industry – a flow-on effect that health recruitment expert, Dan Hobson, of Hobson Health Recruitment, sees daily.

According to Hobson, the industry is demanding that health professionals become transdisciplinary – widening their skill sets to meet the needs of health employers.

In terms of nursing, this translates to a need for those returning to education to learn specialisations or leadership skills.

One such nurse who looked at the career landscape and made a change was Brenda Bruce. Brenda took advantage of OUA’s flexible study options to maintain her nursing job while studying, and never looked back.

The right decision

With years of nursing under her belt, Brenda knew she needed to upskill. After finding Curtin University’s Master of Health Industry Management online through OUA, she knew it was the right option to take her career one step further.

 “I knew that I wanted to be a manager and decided that a Master’s would be the best way to get me in the frame of mind.” Brenda says.

Like 90% of nurses, Brenda is female. She is also a mother to two young children. Thanks to the flexibility of online learning through OUA, she was able to raise her family, keep up the pace in her nursing role, and complete her postgraduate qualification.

“Being able to successfully complete my Master’s was made achievable due to being able to manage the degree at my own pace and within my own schedule. I would focus on one subject at a time over a 12-week period – this really is what kept me going,” Brenda says.

‘Doing it all’ certainly had its challenges, but being able to take her time to complete the degree while working and running a household made it possible.

“In the nine years that I was completing my degree, I was engaged, married, had two children and moved three times. Sometimes the study needed to drop off and it was really great how learning online through OUA was able to accommodate the way that I needed to study.”

Make it happen

OUA offers a wide range of nursing postgraduate degrees from leading Australian universities that students can complete online – some of which have been designed with the busy schedules of working registered nurses in mind.

Nurses who are unsure of how they might meet the demands of study, as well as work, can start with a single subject, no strings attached. From there, they can choose to complete a graduate certificate, or even work up to a Master’s.

The suite of nursing and maternal health qualifications available online through OUA includes graduate certificates and graduate diplomas across both fields, right through to a vast selection of Master’s degrees.

Specialist qualifications include Clinical Nursing, Emergency Nursing, Paediatric Nursing, Mental Health Nursing, Critical Care Nursing, as well as degrees that offer leadership training.

The digital delivery of all health-related degrees offered through OUA are designed by the universities to meet the demands of health professionals – with flexible study modes and practicums remaining an integral part of the content where relevant and required.

Open Universities Australia has helped more than 400,000 students study online with leading Australian universities, without putting their careers on hold.

Take the next step with a postgraduate qualification that benefits your career, your patients and the industry.

Explore your options at  or call a friendly student advisor on 13 OPEN.