September 2017

Contents


Message from the Chair

The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) has published the new Code of conduct for nurses and Code of conduct for midwives and I encourage you to get to know your code before it takes effect next year. The new codes are available on the professional standards section of the NMBA website.

These NMBA codes apply to all nurses and midwives in Australia, in all areas of practice – they apply to you even if your employer has its own code of conduct.

These codes help to guide your professional behaviour on a wide range of issues like professional boundaries, confidentiality, social media and bullying, so that we can all work towards safe care.

The new codes share four domains and you can find out more about the first domain, ‘Practise legally,’ below.

Associate Professor Lynette Cusack RN
Chair, Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia

Associate Professor Lynette Cusack RN

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NMBA news

New codes of conduct published

The NMBA has published the new Code of conduct for nurses and Code of conduct for midwives (the codes). The codes will take effect for all nurses and midwives in Australia on 1 March 2018.

The codes set out the legal requirements, professional behaviour and conduct expectations for all nurses and midwives in all practice settings.

The new codes are available on the NMBA website, and will replace the existing Code of professional conduct for nurses and Code of professional conduct for midwives, as well as the professional boundaries documents, on 1 March 2018.  

First domain of new codes of conduct: ‘Practise legally’

The new Code of conduct for nurses and the Code of conduct for midwives share four domains:

  1. Practise legally
  2. Practise safely, effectively and collaboratively
  3. Act with professional integrity
  4. Promote health and wellbeing

The first domain in the new codes of conduct is ‘Practise legally.’ This is underpinned by the first principle in the codes, ‘Legal compliance,’ and its value statement: ‘Nurses/midwives respect and adhere to their professional obligations under the National Law, and abide by relevant laws.’

This domain and principle address the requirements for nurses and midwives to adhere to their professional obligations under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, as in force in each state and territory (the National Law), and abide by other laws. This includes meeting the requirements of the NMBA registration standards, practising ethically and honestly, and not engaging in unlawful behaviour.

Nurses and midwives also need to comply with relevant mandatory reporting requirements including reporting obligations about the aged, child abuse and neglect.

The NMBA encourages nurses and midwives to get to know the new codes before they take effect next year. Over the coming months the NMBA newsletter will feature the other domains of the codes to assist your understanding.

For more information and to view the Code of conduct for nurses and the Code of conduct for midwives in full, please visit the professional standards section of the NMBA website.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurses and midwives working towards health equity

The Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives (CATSINaM) is the peak body representing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurses and midwives across Australia.

CATSINaM’s vision is that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurses and midwives play a pivotal and respected role in achieving health equity across Australia’s health system for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities.

In August, NMBA Chair Lynette Cusack and Executive Officer Tanya Vogt attended a CATSINaM board meeting to discuss shared issues and how CATSINaM and the NMBA can work better together into the future to ensure nurses and midwives understand their responsibility to practise in a culturally safe and respectful way. There was also agreement to develop a joint statement relating to racism, which will be released later this year.

To find out more about the work CATSINaM is doing for health equity in Australia visit the CATSINaM website, or to enquire about membership email: membership@catsinam.org.au

Information on joining the CATSINaM communityNMBA Chair and Executive Officer meet with CATSINaM
Photo: NMBA Chair Lynette Cusack and Executive Officer Tanya Vogt attend a CATSINaM board meeting.

Updates from the July and August 2017 NMBA meetings

Each month the NMBA meets to make decisions on the regulation of nursing and midwifery in Australia.

The NMBA met in Brisbane in July and took the opportunity to hold an information forum for nurses and midwives at Princess Alexandra Hospital. The forum offered an overview of the NMBA standards, codes and guidelines including an update on the new codes of conduct.

NMBA Executive Officer Tanya Vogt speaking at an information forum held for nurses and midwives at Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane.
Photo: NMBA Executive Officer Tanya Vogt speaks to nurses and midwives at Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane.

The NMBA also met with the Australian and New Zealand Council of Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officers (ANZCCNMOs) to discuss the outcomes from the Advanced Practice and Registered Nurse/Midwife Prescribing Symposia that were held in March this year. The NMBA and ANZCCNMOs have agreed to work together to develop a nationally consistent framework for prescribing for registered nurses and midwives to enhance safe access to medicines for Australian communities.

In August, the NMBA Chair, New South Wales (NSW) NMBA members and the Executive Officer attended a joint meeting with our partners in regulation in NSW, the Nursing and Midwifery Council of NSW. This was an opportunity to discuss how to work better together to meet the challenges of working in a co-regulatory environment.

 Members of the NMBA with the Australian and New Zealand Council of Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officers Members of the NMBA and NMC
Photos: Members of the NMBA meet with the Australian and New Zealand Council of Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officers (left) and the Nursing and Midwifery Council of NSW (right).

To see the July and August 2017 decisions on approved programs of study leading to registration and endorsement, please view the communiqués:

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Registration

Mothercraft nurses policy

We recently published a policy on mothercraft nursing. You can view the policy on our website.

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Nursing and midwifery regulation at work: notification case studies

Former midwife found guilty of claiming to be a current midwife

A Victorian woman has pleaded guilty to claiming to be a registered midwife.

The matter was heard at the Frankston Magistrates' Court on 19 June 2017. The individual, who is a former midwife, pleaded and was found guilty of using the title 'midwife' in circumstances that indicated or could reasonably indicate she was authorised and/or qualified to practise as a midwife when she was no longer registered as such.

The charges were brought by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) on behalf of the NMBA, after concerns were raised that the individual had represented herself as a midwife to four emergency health professionals who were assisting a mother and her newborn infant following a problematic homebirth. 

For more information read the news item.

Registration is more than a piece of paper

Nurses and midwives are required to renew their registration each year to make sure they are suitably trained and qualified to practise their profession in Australia.

When you renew your registration you make declarations stating that you meet registration requirements, which the NMBA sets to make sure the public is safe.

If you are not registered, you cannot practise as a nurse or a midwife.

It is a serious matter if anyone who is not a registered health practitioner claims to be a registered health practitioner or uses titles, such as ‘nurse’ or ‘midwife,’ that are protected under the National Law. Both are offences and may be prosecuted by AHPRA on behalf of the relevant Board.

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National Scheme news

National Boards approve policy for removing reprimands from the national register

A policy to ensure consistent removal of reprimands from the national register of practitioners has been approved by all National Boards.

Reprimands on a practitioner’s registration can be imposed under the National Law by a performance or professional standards panel, professional standards committee (New South Wales), and a relevant tribunal or court.

The policy will ensure that reprimands are removed from the national register in a consistent and effective way. It also allows for the removal of reprimands imposed under previous legislation to be considered on an individual basis, consistent with removal powers under that legislation.

A reprimand imposed under the National Law will be removed from the national register on the publication end date set by the relevant panel, committee, court or tribunal. Where a panel or tribunal has not set a publication end date, or where the reprimand was imposed under previous legislation, the reprimand will be removed no earlier than five years from the date of initial publication.

This is subject to:

  • the practitioner making an application for removal of the reprimand
  • no relevant event having occurred in the five-year period of publication of the reprimand,
  • and legal advice confirming the power to remove a reprimand imposed under previous legislation.

A relevant event is any health, performance or conduct notification, action taken against the practitioner in relation to an adverse disclosure on renewal of registration, new information returned on a criminal history check or a confirmed breach of restrictions. It also includes when action has been taken against a practitioner regarding their conduct, health or performance. New notifications, irrespective of whether action was taken, will also be taken into account if an application for removal of a reprimand is received after the five-year period of publication.

The policy will take effect from 2 October 2017 and will be reviewed annually. An application form for removal of a reprimand from the national register will be published under Common forms on the AHPRA website. 

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Keep in touch with the NMBA

  • Visit the NMBA website for registration standards, codes, guidelines and FAQ.
  • Lodge an online enquiry form.
  • For registration enquiries, call 1300 419 495 (from within Australia) or +61 3 9275 9009 (for overseas callers).
  • Address mail correspondence to: Associate Professor Lynette Cusack RN, Chair, Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia, GPO Box 9958, Melbourne, VIC 3001.

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Page reviewed 2/10/2017