03 May 2023

What is an Enrolled Nurse?

6 min read

Nurses are important members of the health care team and their primary role is providing patient/resident care. In order to be an enrolled nurse you need to develop skills to communicate with people, have knowledge of contemporary nursing practice, law and ethics, anatomy and physiology, acute and chronic health disorders, clinical nursing skills and medication management.

Enrolled nurses, (EN’s) under the direction and supervision of a registered nurse, assist in the provision of preventative, curative and rehabilitative nursing care in hospitals, aged-care homes, the community and other health care settings.

EN’s are second level nurses who provide nursing care according to their level of training and the registering authority's licence to practise. They are a skilled and integral part of the nursing team.

What does an enrolled nurse do?

EN’s provide care for patients/residents under the supervision of a registered nurse. This may include assisting a person with bathing or dressing, attending to wound care, assisting with meals, taking specimens, assisting a person with moving around and assisting with medication. EN's need effective communication skills, a non-judgemental attitude, they need to be compassionate caring people, to respect differences, to be professional in their manner and relate to people across the lifespan – babies to elderly people – and to people with physical and mental health needs.

What are the National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards?

The education provider (various registered training organisations including TAFE) has established governance arrangements for the enrolled nurse program of study that develop and deliver a sustainable, high-quality experience for students, to enable them to meet AHPRA Enrolled Nurse Standards to Practice.

The standards address the following areas:

  • Governance for Safety and Quality in Health Service Organisations
  • Partnering with Consumers
  • Preventing and Controlling Healthcare Associated Infections
  • Medication Safety
  • Patient Identification and Procedure Matching
  • Clinical Handover
  • Blood and Blood Product
  • Preventing and Managing Pressure Injuries
  • Recognising and Responding to Clinical Deterioration in Acute Health Care
  • Preventing Falls and Harm from Falls

How do you become an enrolled nurse?

To work as an EN you must be enrolled with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (also known as AHPRA) on completion of your studies. To enroll with AHPRA you must possess the ability to meet the physical demands of nursing work, in particular the requirements of manual handling and also meet AHPRA’s English language skills registration standard.

TAFE offers a Diploma of Nursing. A pathway course is the Certificate IV in Preparation for Health and Nursing Studies.

Prior to completing any clinical placements students will need to obtain a satisfactory National Police Certificate and meet the Department of Health's immunisation requirements. Students may be required to work shifts involving nights, weekends and public holidays.

The diploma takes 18-24 months and is offered by various registered training organisations, including State government TAFEs. Registration to practice as an EN is by application to the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia.

English language skills:

On application for registration as a nurse, applicants are required to provide evidence to demonstrate they meet the AHPRA’s English language skills registration standard. This evidence includes completion of their secondary education taught and assessed in English to the requisite level required for entry into a nursing program and a nursing program taught and assessed in English. If the applicant is unable to provide this evidence, they will need to complete one of the following tests of English language proficiency:

  • Occupational English Test (OET) – minimum level B pass in each category; or
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic – minimum score of seven (7) in each of the four components (listening, reading, writing and speaking). Results must have been obtained within two years prior to applying for registration.


Further information can be found on the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia.

What is the difference between an enrolled nurse and an endorsed enrolled nurse?

The primary difference between an EN and an Endorsed Enrolled Nurse is that an EEN completes a medicine administration module during their studies, allowing them to administer medicine. An EN can't administer medicine, even under the direct supervision of a Registered Nurse.

The minimum formal education requirement for becoming an EEN is typically a diploma in nursing. This diploma may take between one and two years to complete and comprises practical and theoretical units of study. During your diploma, you usually complete a variety of modules.

If you are interested in working as an Enrolled Nurse for Estia Health, please look here today to see what jobs are currently available within our homes. You can also read our employee stories here.