Graduate Certificate in Community and Primary Health Care Nursing
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1 Year Part-time

Study mode



January & July



According to AIHW (2019), at least 82,000 nurses work in primary healthcare settings in Australia. These numbers which will only increase due to the ageing population, emerging infectious diseases and the increasing burden of chronic and complex diseases (ACN, Position statement 2015).

Community and primary health nursing is one of the most multifaceted areas of specialty practice in the 21st century. Australia’s Primary Health Care 10-year Plan has acknowledged that Primary healthcare services and the people who provide them help keep Australians healthy and provide high-quality care when and where people need it (Department of Health, 2022). Nurses work in various settings in the community, ranging from general practice, community health centres, Aboriginal Health Services, Justice health and forensic mental health services, and drug and alcohol services.

The many advantages of community and primary health care as a career choice is that the opportunities are endless, you can work with a greater level of autonomy in complex areas and it also offers you the chance to change your career pathway if you would like to work more family friendly hours. The Graduate Certificate in Community and Primary Health Care Nursing has been developed to offer you the opportunity to study a wide range of electives from continence management to drug and alcohol nursing to cater for this most diverse specialty. More subjects are being developed to meet the needs of the nurses in community and primary health.

Our course is written by specialist nurses, for nurses and students are supported by a team of clinical experts, working within the specialty. Our unique blend of electives allow students to further explore many different areas of community and primary health nursing.

Course overview

The Graduate Certificate in Community and Primary Health Care Nursing is designed for nurses working in a variety of community, primary health and general practice settings. The course will enhance the nurse’s knowledge and skills in prevention, early intervention and management of a range of often complex illnesses. Continuity of care and the facilitation of self-management is emphasized across the transition from acute to sub-acute and community care. The structure of the course recognises the evolving specialist primary health nursing role in practice nursing, community nursing and chronic disease management.

Career outcomes

A Graduate Certificate in Community and Primary Health Care Nursing is an investment in your future and will provide you with the knowledge and skills needed to ensure better outcomes for your patients and progress your career, leading to opportunities in education, management, rural and remote nursing as well as specialist nursing roles.

At successful completion of the course students should be able to:

  • critically examine the relationship between social determinants of health, health outcomes and the context of specialist nursing practice
  • examine the economic and political factors influencing determinants of health and health outcomes
  • evaluate evidence based research to enhance clinical decision making skills and client intervention
  • rationalise their professional, ethical and social responsibilities commensurate to the context of nursing practice
  • analyse contemporary models of care that meet the specialised needs of the individual to optimise health outcomes
  • promote an effective learning environment through the development, dissemination and fostering of specialist knowledge and skills
  • evaluate available services and resources that support the management of a client with diverse health care needs.

The Graduate Certificate in Community and Primary Health Care Nursing is a one year course, consisting of four 10-week terms.

Approximate hours of study are 12 – 15 hours per week.

Units of study

Course structure for student intake/s from January 2023 onwards

Unit typeUnit name & pricing

Course codes
10 016 2319 (January 2023 intake)
10 016 2320 (July 2023 intake)

Term 1 - CoreLeadership and Professional Practice (925), Tier 2
Term 2 - CoreChronic Disease Management in the Community (339), Tier 1
Term 3 - ElectiveChoose one elective from the following:
Term 4 - Specialty electiveChoose one specialty elective from the following:
*Both Primary Health Nursing (265) and Rural and Remote Nursing (341) have a requirement of pre-requisite for Chronic Disease Management in the community (339).

Course structure student intake/s before December 2022

Unit typeUnit name & pricing
Term 1 - CoreLeadership and Professional Practice (925), Tier 2
Term 2 - Specialty electiveChoose one specialty elective from the following:
Term 3 - ElectiveChoose one elective from the following:
Term 4 - ElectiveChoose one elective from the following:
*These units have mandatory requirements, such as pre-requisites and/or clinical placements. Please refer to the individual unit page for further details.

ACN offers two intakes per year in January and July. Important dates including start and census dates can be found here.

Flexible intakes in April and October may be available, please contact our Customer Services team for further details.


Tiers2023 Member price (10% discount)2023 Non-member price2024 Member price (10% discount)2024 Non-member price
Tier 1$2,196.00$2,440.00$2,310.00$2,565.00
Tier 2$2,506.50$2,785.00$2,630.00$2,925.00
Tier 3$2,947.50$3,275.00$3,095.00$3,440.00
Tier 4$3,523.50$3,915.00$3,700.00$4,110.00

Fees are subject to change without notice.

ACN offers a flexible payment option allowing students to pay their fees on a term-by-term basis. Each term’s fees are due upfront, prior to term commencement.

FEE-HELP is also available for eligible students. Further information can be found here.

Want to save on course fees?

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Admission to GC courses is based on academic merit and selection. In addition, applicants must satisfy any prerequisites or additional requirements specified for particular courses, including ACN’s general eligibility criteria.

All applicants seeking admission are required to:

  • hold a Bachelor of Nursing or registered nurse* equivalent qualification
  • hold current registration with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA); or the equivalent registering authority in your country of origin
  • meet the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia English language skills registration standard (nursing and midwifery) – please refer to the AHPRA website to download the standard
  • have a minimum of one year of postgraduate experience; and
  • be currently employed in the clinical area of specialisation*

*For some GC units of study, consideration may be given for applicants who are not registered nurses on an individual basis.

*The below courses contain a compulsory clinical placement component and do not require applicants to be employed in the clinical area of specialisation:

  • Graduate Certificate in Child and Family Health
  • Graduate Certificate in Stomal Therapy Nursing
  • Graduate Certificate in Dermatology Nursing

Clinical placements

Anyone applying for an ACN course that includes a clinical placement must provide evidence of compliance documents at the time of application.

Applications for enrolment will not be progressed until all relevant documentation has been received by Customer Services.

Each Australian state and territory has its own clinical placement documentation requirements. Further details are available on our Clinical Placement Information page, click on the tab for your particular state or territory for information on specific requirements.

Individual placement providers may need additional documentation. If you are required to provide this then you will be contacted by the Clinical Placement Officer following enrolment.

ACN negotiates with health care facilities to secure clinical placements. ACN will make every effort to secure clinical placements within the timeframe indicated in the course outline, however applicants are advised that provision and location of clinical placements is dependent on the availability of placements within the health facility.

As placements are difficult to secure, once confirmed these cannot be negotiated unless there is unforeseen extenuating circumstances. Applicants are not to arrange their own clinical placements with a clinical facility under any circumstances. ACN reserves the right to change clinical placements if necessary.

Linlin Ho

Linlin Ho MACN, Nurse Educator – Higher Education
RN, BN, MN(Nursing Ed), Cert IV TAE, ANI


Linlin has worked in the primary health care settings since the beginning of her career. She has achieved multiple qualifications that would benefit her as a nurse in primary health care setting, such as Immunisation for Health Practitioners, Well Women’s screening, Cannulation for nurses and Wound closure and Suturing.

Linlin has a passion for community and primary health care nursing education. She believes community healthcare is the fundamental component of our medical system and primary healthcare is the client’s first encounter with our health sectors.

Please ensure you read all course information, make sure you meet entry requirements and have all clinical placement documentation ready prior to commencing the application form.

Applications for enrolment will not be progressed until all relevant documentation has been received by Customer Services.

We strongly encourage applications from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health care professionals to study this course. If you are an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person we encourage you to let us know in your application. If you require assistance with completing your application or support during the course, please don’t hesitate to let us know.

Course codes: 10 016 2319 (January 2023 intake)
10 016 2320 (July 2023 intake)

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Contact us

For general course information:
Customer Services
t: 02 9745 7500