Scope of practice for Australian enrolled nurses: Evolution and practice issues Academic Article uri icon


  • Significant changes to the scope of practice for enrolled nurses have occurred in Australia over the past decade. These changes, which are largely a consequence of staff shortages and economic pressure, have resulted in increased role confusion and overlap between enrolled and registered nurses in Australia. This paper presents a brief history of the enrolled nurse in Australia followed by an overview of the current situation and emerging trends in the education and employment of these nurses. Definitions and approaches to scope of practice are described and emerging issues within Australia raised and discussed. A review of the literature found the number of enrolled nurses and the roles they perform have changed significantly in Australia following the introduction of the enhanced scope of practice. Further research is required to better define and delineate between the different nursing roles and to explore broader frameworks to analyze, describe and define these roles.

publication date

  • 2013