Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia
Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia

Fact sheet: Recency of practice

New version effective from 1 June 2016

A new version of this fact sheet will come into effect on 1 June 2016. For more information, read the news item.

Current recency of practice fact sheet effective until 31 May 2016

Download a PDF copy of the Recency of practice Fact sheet (91.8 KB,PDF)

Recency of practice’ means that a nurse or midwife has recent experience practising their profession and that their nursing or midwifery skills are current and up to date.

For an individual who is both a nurse and midwife, this applies to their skills and experience in both professions. Nursing and midwifery practice is constantly evolving, and it is vital that previously registered nurses and/or midwives returning to practice are competent and safe to provide nursing and/or midwifery care.

The introduction of the NMBA Recency of practice registration standard (the Standard) established national recency of practice requirements for nurses and midwives. The Standard requires that a nurse and/or midwife (when seeking registration, endorsement of registration or renewal of registration) must have undertaken sufficient practice to demonstrate competence in their profession/s within the preceding five years.

The NMBA has defined ‘practice’ as:

‘...any role, whether remunerated or not, in which the individual uses their skills and knowledge as a nurse or midwife ...practice is not restricted to the provision of direct clinical care. It also includes working in a direct non-clinical relationship with clients, working in management, administration, education, research, advisory, regulatory or policy development roles, and any other roles that impact on safe, effective delivery of services in the profession and/or use of their professional skills’.

Practice hours are recognised if the evidence provided by the nurse and/or midwife demonstrates that they practised nursing and/or midwifery and that:

  1. the nurse or midwife held a valid registration with a nursing or midwifery regulatory authority in Australia or overseas) when the hours were worked 
  2. the role involved the application of nursing and/or midwifery knowledge and skills in the relevant competency domains for their practice, or 
  3. time was spent undertaking postgraduate education leading to an award or qualification that is relevant to the practice of nursing and/or midwifery.

You need to provide evidence that you have practised for a period equivalent to a minimum of three months full-time, within the past five years.

The types of evidence you can provide includes a service statement from your employer, pay slips, income statement for the year, and other documents showing the hours and dates that you worked.

The types of evidence that are accepted are at the discretion of the NMBA.

No, the hours do not need to be continuous and can be accumulated over the past five years. As long as they are equivalent to a minimum of three months full time, and the type of evidence you provide is accepted by the NMBA, that is sufficient evidence.

Yes, you need to provide evidence showing that you have undertaken the required equivalent hours in both nursing and midwifery within the past five years.

This means that you need to be able to demonstrate that you have practised for the equivalent of three months full-time in nursing and the equivalent of three months full-time in midwifery, over the past five years.

However, if you consider an aspect of your work could provide evidence for both nursing and midwifery practice, you may make a case for that. An example of this could be caring for women who have had a caesarean section, and their babies.

Yes. However, you need to provide the same level of evidence as required for practice undertaken in Australia.

If you have not accrued sufficient hours over the past five years, you need to contact the AHPRA office in your state or territory to get advice about your individual circumstances.

Depending on that advice, you may need to submit an application for registration. This will be assessed to determine whether you will be required to successfully complete either:

  1. supervised practice as approved by the NMBA, or 
  2. a NMBA-approved re-entry to practice program.

You will need to declare at registration renewal that you do not meet recency of practice. Your renewal will go into assessment and you may be requested to provide further information.

Optional: you may wish to complete and submit a re-entry to practice self-assessment questionnaire.

For further information, see the fact sheet on re-entry to practice.

Yes, you should make sure to keep evidence of your practice for at least five years, in case you are selected for audit.

No, you only need to sign a declaration to say that you have met the requirements. Evidence will only be requested if you are selected for audit. Remember to keep your evidence for at least five years in case you get selected for audit.

If you do not meet the recency of practice registration standard, you will need to contact your local AHPRA office to get further advice. See the answer to question 8 of these FAQ for more information.

Page reviewed 1/02/2016