First, congrats on your plan - Australia rocks, and I'm only marginally prejudiced! Oh, and 'chuffed' is fine
I agree with Grace - a lot of it depends where you're working, both sector (private or public), location (large city or rural/remote), hospital size and acuity, and specialty.
Generally speaking, large public hospitals have patients who are older, sicker and more complex than those in the private sector.
I can only speak from my own experience, of course. I work in a tertiary-level public hospital in Melbourne, one of the larger capital cities, or a mixed medical specialty ward. The average age of my patients is late sixties, which is higher than the hospital average, but we currently have patients aged 17, 22, and 98.
Because my ward's units include stroke service we have a fair number of patients at risk of falling, with dementia etc. Because our catchment area is highly multi-cultural, we also have a number of patients who speak little or no English. neither of these issues cause us significant, on-going problems, though there is naturally the odd drama here and there. Fortunately there are also good strategies in place to help minimise these issues. For example, we have a security protocol that minimises aggressive and combative behaviours, whether from patients or families.
Other units on my ward include renal medicine and neurology, so we have a lot of patients we get to know over a period of months or years who die. Combined with the stroke patients, this means that there aren't a majority of patients who get better, but I'm proud of our nursing care of the dying, and we do have wins on a regular basis.
I've worked at the same hospital for over 15 years, including my training. I've noticed, particularly in the last five or so years, an increase in acuity. Many patients have IV's and other invasive treatments. Policies vary from hospital to hospital, but where I work it's only in Cas that it's routine for nurses to cannulate. The hospital periodically runs nursing cannulation courses, but I think it's just yet another duty doctors are happy to pass on and nurses are eager to pick up, but which takes me away from providing patient care. There's certainly no expectation from doctors that we'll do it, and phlebotomy is still considered to be a medical task, though we'll take a stab if we have time and the patient's veins aren't too crappy.
I hope this helps a bit. Come on down!