Enrolled nursing

What is an enrolled nurse?

An enrolled nurse (EN) is a registered professional who has completed a Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) approved Diploma of Nursing from an accredited registered training organisation (RTO) or an accredited Aboriginal Health Training College.

EN programs of study support students to achieve the NMBA Enrolled Nurse Standards for Practice. This ensures graduates are able to practice safely and competently with the required attitude, knowledge and skills.

ENs work shifts “24-7” - seven days a week, around the clock - to assist, protect and promote the health of people under their care including providing physical and emotional care, monitoring patient care, administering medication, maintaining infection prevention and control, performing clinical assessments and contributing to care planning. 

ENs work in a diverse range of private and public organisations within the health sector, including small to large hospitals, schools, general practice, community health, aged care, in metropolitan, rural and remote communities.

ENs can work in a variety of dynamic areas and clinical specialties including medical, surgical, mental health, paediatrics, orthopaedics, rehabilitation, oncology, operating theatres, rural and remote, emergency, ambulatory care and primary health.

Why become an enrolled nurse?

Enrolled nursing is meaningful, interesting and rewarding.

ENs work as part of a skilled health care team of professionals and provide compassionate person-centred care under the direct or indirect supervision of a registered nurse (RN). EN are responsible for their actions and are accountable in the provision of delegated care.

ENs work in an environment that brings new opportunities to make a real difference for patients, their families and their healthcare experience.

ENs have plenty of opportunity as there is always a need for competent healthcare professionals. Working hours are flexible, EN can specialise, there is opportunity for professional development and recognition for Advanced Practice (see Advanced Skill Enrolled Nurse).

What do I study and how long will it take?

To become an EN, you must complete an NMBA approved Diploma of Nursing from an accredited registered training organisation (RTO) or an accredited Aboriginal Health Training College.

The Diploma of Nursing takes anywhere between 12-24 months. Only approved programs of study listed on the approved programs listed on the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (external website) lead to registration as an EN. Registration to practice as an EN is by application to the NMBA.

Entry to a Diploma of Nursing can be competitive. A pass in year 12 English and maths is generally required to be eligible.

If you are considering a career in enrolled nursing and wondering what subjects you should choose at school, or what prerequisites are for getting into a nursing course, you should contact each training provider to find out more about specific requirements.

All applicants are required to sit the Basic Key Skills Builder (BKSB) Literacy & Numeracy assessment, and meet the NMBA’s English Language Standards for Practice, in order to be considered for enrolment.

The RTO delivering the Diploma of Nursing will advise you of the entry requirements directly.

What does it cost?

Course costs vary considerably, and it is advisable to check with the RTO delivering the Diploma of Nursing. A range of financial assistance options are available, including:

The Diploma in Nursing will be FREE from 1 January 2023!

The course fees are being 100 per cent subsidised by the WA State Government. Some eligibility conditions apply for the free training, and other fees may apply within the course dependant on the RTOs course delivery and resources required.

You should contact each training provider to find out more about specific requirements.


The Chief Nursing and Midwifery (CNM) Office offers scholarships to those studying to become an EN. See the Scholarships page for more information.

How much do enrolled nurses earn?

Starting salary for an EN will vary between public and private sectors. Current pay rates for the Western Australian Health System can be found under the Industrial Agreement 2022.

There are additional penalty rates for evening and night shift, weekend and public holiday work hours meaning nurses mostly earn considerably above their base rate.

What are the employment prospects?

Enrolled nursing is an in-demand profession.

The demand for ENs is predicted to keep growing over the coming years.

Advancing your career

WA Health understands and encourages the need for nurses to maintain their skills, knowledge and competencies. We encourage and support professional development among our enrolled nurses.

Through our network of health professionals and expert services, we are able to provide a variety of opportunities for staff and we encourage our nurses to meet with their managers to discuss opportunities for further skills development.

Continuing professional development is critical to maintaining the high standards expected from the nursing and midwifery professions. It is also essential that clinical skills are maintained through participation in ongoing nursing education and professional development activities.

Professional development programs are continually run in the public health system and all enrolled nurses are provided clinical support throughout their career.

Paid study days and professional development days are available to help facilitate continued learning.

The opportunity for promotional positions is a little more limited for enrolled nurses than for registered nurses.

Enrolled nurses can progress their career by becoming an Advanced Skill Enrolled Nurse (ASEN) – for more information please visit our Advanced skill enrolled nurse page. ENs can also decide to pursue further studies such as an Advanced Diploma.

Some people choose enrolled nursing as an alternative pathway to university if they were unable to gain direct entry, or, so that they can work and gain further experience before and while they study to become a registered nurse or midwife.

An EN to RN Conversion program equates to two years full-time study but may vary. EN are usually given recognition of prior learning and have the length of their course reduced. It is recommended that you contact the universities directly for information about their entry requirements.

Scholarships and Financial Assistance are available through Chief Nursing and Midwifery Office.

Finding a job

Browse jobs on the WA Health Job Search website.

Do not hesitate to register for opportunities.

Produced by

Chief Nursing and Midwifery Office