Professional Certificate of Rural Nursing Practice

Gain essential workplace skills to deliver exceptional patient-centred care in rural and remote areas.

Earn credit towards La Trobe’s Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma of Rural Nursing Practice1 while honing your expertise in health assessment and learning in-demand skills in digital health. Apply early to access Australian Government scholarship opportunities to cover your fees.2

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Location Online
Date/s From 18 September 2023
DurationUp to 240 hours, including assessment
Prerequisite/s Current registration with Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).
Registered Nurse
See below for extra requirements. 

Comprehensive Health Assessment microcredentials

  • 3 x written case reviews – 1,500 words (100% each)

Introduction to Digital Health microcredential

  • Reflective case study – 1,500 words (50%),
  • Reflective journal – 1,500 words (50%)

Applications of Digital Health Solutions microcredential

  • Portfolio of Practice, 2,500 words (100%)
Credit points30 credit points
CertificationProfessional Certificate
Fee/sFree for the first 40 eligible learners via an Australian Government scholarship2
$5,100 inc. GST (full price)
$1,485 inc. GST (La Trobe Rural Health School supported place for eligible applicants, working in MM 2-7 regional and rural remote locations.)
Registration close22 October 2023

Developed by La Trobe Rural Health School in response to the Australian Government’s Skills Priority list 2022, our Professional Certificate develops essential skills in health assessment and digital health for rural nurses.

Whether you’re a new or established registered nurse, this flexible and self-paced online short course will advance or refresh your nursing assessment skills across the lifespan, while providing in-demand skills to design, implement and use digital health applications to improve patient-centred care. All course content is designed to address the unique challenges of providing health care in rural areas.

By completing this certificate, you will:

  • gain technical health assessment skills for paediatric, adult and older people, including primary and secondary assessments, ABG, X-ray and ECG analysis, care planning, risk assessment, monitoring, documentation and detection of deterioration
  • learn transferrable employability skills in teamwork, leadership, communication and situational awareness so you can provide collaborative and effective nursing care
  • learn how to design and implement digital health approaches across a range of healthcare settings
  • understand the principles of digital security and health innovation applications to protect business and patient confidentiality
  • gain a deeper understanding of the functionality and capability embedded in digital health solutions
  • learn how to effectively communicate and collaborate across the digital health industry
  • develop knowledge of current and emerging digital health trends including simulated practical application of digital health records, clinical decision support (CDS) systems, telehealth, mobile apps and wearable technologies, health informatics and big data, the internet of medical things (IoMT) and artificial intelligence (AI)
  • understand digital health policies and guidelines in relation to privacy, security, data sharing and interoperability
  • understand ethical principles of data sharing and your responsibilities in the digitally enabled healthcare system.

Successful completion of the certificate gives you credit towards La Trobe’s Graduate Certificate and Graduate Diploma of Rural Nursing Practice.1

In line with the Australian Government’s priorities, scholarships for the Professional Certificate are available to cover your fees2 or, if you’re a nurse living or working in a regional, rural or remote area (MMM2-7), you can access the course at a heavily discounted price.

Course content

This course is delivered fully online, so it easily fits in with your work and life commitments. Content is self-paced via La Trobe’s Learning Management System (LMS). Learners will receive support via webinars, Zoom drop-in sessions and email correspondence or online forums with academic leads.

Learning outcomes

After completing the Professional Certificate, you will be able to:

  • evaluate comprehensive health assessment of paediatric, adult and older persons in diverse contexts
  • integrate assessment and diagnostic findings to make informed clinical decisions, to prioritise care and management, and complete appropriate documentation
  • evaluate risk and appropriately respond to the deteriorating patient
  • adapt non-technical skills such as leadership, communication, teamwork, and situational awareness to provide effective collaborative nursing care for patients
  • appraise the people, systems and process challenges impacting implementation of digital health in Australian rural health care settings
  • evaluate strategies to improve confidence and skills in providing care and support using digital health, Artificial Intelligence applications and telehealth
  • analyse the procedural, policy, legal, ethical, security and privacy requirements of registered nurses’ use of digital health
  • evaluate the key consumer benefits and risks associated with digital health and critically analyse the use of digital health information including electronic health records
  • review current digital health and telehealth guidelines and select appropriate supports to enhance culturally safe digital health and telehealth care.


Comprehensive Health Assessment of the Paediatric Patient in Rural Healthcare
  • Children are not little adults! - Differences and ages and stages of development
  • Paediatric History Taking
  • ABCDE Assessment of the Child (Primary Survey)
  • Neurologic and Pain Assessment
  • Cardiovascular Assessment and Circulatory Assessment
  • Respiratory Assessment
  • Gastrointestinal and Abdominal Assessments
  • Renal Assessment and Considerations
  • Family and Social Considerations
  • Musculoskeletal Assessment
  • Rashes and Non-Accidental Injury
  • Bring it all together – Identification of risk and recognition of the sick child and development of non-technical skills
Comprehensive Health Assessment of the Adult Patient in Rural Healthcare
  • Advanced Health Assessment – Primary Survey (Adult)
  • Advanced Health Assessment – Secondary Survey (Adult)
  • Basic Oxygenation and Haemodynamic Monitoring
  • Lung Sounds and Heart Sounds
  • Arterial Blood Gas Analysis
  • Pathology Interpretation
  • Chest X-Ray Interpretation
  • Basic ECG Interpretation
  • Recording Assessments and Contemporaneous Documentation
  • Identification of Risk and Recognition of Deterioration in the Adult Patient and Non-Technical Skills
Comprehensive Health Assessment of the Older Patient in Rural Healthcare
  • Physiological Factors Related to Aging
  • Advanced Health Assessment – Primary Survey (Older Adult)
  • Advanced Health Assessment – Secondary Survey (Older Adult)
  • Recognition of Deterioration in the Older Adult Patient and Non-Technical Skills
  • Environment of Assessment (e.g., Acute, residential, home setting)
  • Recording Health Assessments and Contemporaneous Documentation
  • Medication Safety/Polypharmacy
  • Risk Screening
  • Goals of Care (Inc. Advanced Care and discharge planning)
  • Elder Abuse
Introduction to Digital Health for Rural Healthcare Professionals  
  • Introduction to Digital Health
  • Information Privacy and Security Management
  • Digital Health Strategy and Policy Formulation
  • Overview of Digital Health Systems Supporting Rural Health in Australia
  • Contemporary Trends in Digital Health
Applications of Digital Health Solutions in Rural Healthcare 
  • Understanding Digital Health in the Rural Context
  • Digital Health in Rural Practice (Skills Development)


Comprehensive Health Assessment microcredentials

  • 3 x written case reviews – 1,500 words, graded A-F (100% each)

Introduction to Digital Health microcredential

  • Reflective case study – 1,500 words, graded A-F (50%),
  • Reflective journal – 1,500 words, graded A-F (50%)

Applications of Digital Health Solutions microcredential

  • Portfolio of Practice, 2,500 words, graded A-F (100%)

Extra requirements

  1. Broadband internet access and an active email address that can be accessed at home during study periods
  2. Access to a computer with working camera and microphone for participating in Zoom drop-in sessions.
  3. Students must have basic computer literacy skills (e.g. Word or other word processing software).

Further information


T: 1300 135 045

  1. Completion of all five microcredentials in the Professional Certificate of Rural Nursing Practice provides 30 credit points of advanced standing towards La Trobe’s Graduate Diploma of Rural Nursing Practice (or 15 credit points towards our Graduate Certificate), subject to meeting all other entry requirements.
  2. To qualify for an Australian Government scholarship, you must be an Australian Citizen, New Zealand Special Category Visa holder or Permanent Humanitarian Visa Holder.