Updated March 2023
Download a PDF copy of this Fact sheet: Nurse practitioner standards for practice (289 KB,PDF)
The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) undertakes functions as set by the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, as in force in each state and territory (the National Law). The NMBA regulates the practice of nursing and midwifery in Australia, and one of its key roles is to protect the public. The NMBA does this by developing standards, codes and guidelines which together establish the requirements of the professional practice framework for the professional and safe practice of nurses and midwives in Australia.
Nurse practitioners (NPs) are required to practise within the relevant NMBA approved standards, codes, guidelines – including the Safety and quality guidelines for nurse practitioners, and frameworks.
The following questions answer common queries about the revised Nurse practitioner standards for practice (the standards).
The standards set the expectations, responsibilities and accountabilities for NPs. They build on and expand upon the registered nurse (RN) standards for practice. The standards are used to:
The standards have been developed following:
The Nurse practitioner standards for practice:
Standard 4 describes the advanced practice activities and functions of NPs under the new heading ‘Supports health systems’. This clinical domain is linked to the advanced practice activities and principles of ‘support of systems’ which is a contemporary feature of advanced practice. The definition of ‘supports health systems’ and ‘support of systems’ is provided in the glossary.
The NMBAs definition of advanced practice applies to all nurse practitioners endorsed in Australia as part of their professional requirements. It is the definition used in the regulation of nursing in Australia and meets the broader needs of the registered nursing and midwifery professions, and the regulation of nurse practitioners.
The NMBAs definition of advanced practice is embedded and communicated across multiple NMBA publications. The NMBA definition guides the application of the National Law for:
You may see other advanced practice definitions use by national and international professional nursing organisations. These definitions are commonly linked to a tertiary level qualification to enable advanced practice and/or relate to a position title.
The following definitions are taken from the glossary of the standards and relate to the use of these terms in the standards.
Advanced practice is where nurses incorporate professional leadership, education, research and support of systems into their practice. Their practice includes relevant expertise, critical thinking, complex decision-making, autonomous practice and is effective and safe. They work within a generalist or specialist context and they are responsible and accountable in managing people who have complex healthcare requirements.
Advanced practice in nursing is demonstrated by a level of practice and not by a job title or level of remuneration.
Advanced practice for the purpose of the nurse practitioner endorsement requires 5,000 hours clinically-based advanced practice in the past six years.
Independence in these standards is the defining characteristic of NP practice that recognises the educational and advanced practice attributes beyond the Registered nurse standards for practice. This independence is inherent in the NP standards for practice and integrates aspects of the often-complex nursing practice for which the NP initiates and is responsible. NPs work collaboratively as part of a healthcare team and have the authority to diagnose and implement treatments without oversight from another health practitioner.
Nurse practitioner (NP) is a registered nurse endorsed as an NP by the NMBA. The NP practices at a clinical advanced level, meets and complies with the Nurse practitioner standards for practice, is able to practise independently and has direct clinical contact. NPs practice collaboratively in multi-professional environments. The NP practises within their scope under the legislatively protected title ‘nurse practitioner’ under the National Law.
Standards for practice in this document are the expectations of NP practice. They inform the education standards for NPs, the regulation of NPs and determination of the NP’s capability for practice, and guide consumers, employers and other stakeholders on what to reasonably expect from an NP regardless of the area of nurse practitioner practice or years of nurse practitioner experience.
Supports health systems is a clinical domain in the NP standards framework and describes the advanced practice activities and functions of NPs as described in ‘support of system’s (see below).
Support of systems is a practice domain of the Strong Model of Advanced Practice and is a contemporary feature of advanced practice. It is described as activities that promote quality and safe patient care and facilitate the optimal progression of patients through the healthcare system. NPs demonstrate the advanced practice activities in this domain that include: