Download a PDF copy of this Fact sheet: Provisional registration: Information for nurses and midwives (PDF, 289KB).
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 for the professional and safe practice of nurses and midwives in Australia.
This fact sheet addresses common queries that you might have about provisional registration, and the requirements for previously registered nurses and/or midwives applying for this type of registration. It should be read in combination with the Policy for re-entry to practice for nurses and midwives.
Provisional registration is granted to eligible practitioners to enable them to complete a period of supervised practice or an NMBA approved re-entry to practice program. The requirements are set out in restrictions applied to the registration.
Nurses and/or midwives holding provisional registration for supervised practice must comply with the requirements and responsibilities specified in the NMBA Supervision guidelines for nursing and midwifery. When the requirements of the supervised practice or re-entry to practice program restrictions have been met, the practitioner is eligible to apply for general registration.
The provisional registration period is for 12 months and starts when the NMBA makes the decision. Renewal occurs on the anniversary of the initial registration date, noting that provisional registration may not be renewed more than twice.
This type of registration is for those who have not practised as a nurse or midwife for between five and 10 years and
If you hold general or non-practising registration or have not practiced for a period of 10 years or more, please refer to the NMBA Policy: Re-entry to practice for nurses and midwives for further guidance.
The Application for provisional registration for re-entry to practice – APRO-40 is available from the NMBA website.
The application form and required documentation collect information about your qualifications, work and registration history, continuing professional development activities, and length of time away from practising in the profession/s. The information collected is used to determine whether you require any additional training, periods of supervision or other requirements to meet eligibility for general registration.
The NMBA considers two types of applicants who have not practised for between five and 10 years:
All applications are assessed on their merits by the NMBA, who must be satisfied that you are safe and competent to practise the profession/s in Australia. Examples of evidence that should be provided with your application are in Table 1.
Table 1: Evidence examples
The timeframe for the assessment is determined by the completeness of your application and the complexity of the assessment. While your application is being assessed, it will progress through several stages:
Your application for provisional registration must be approved prior to commencing practice and for the duration of your supervised placement or re-entry to practice program.
The NMBA will let you know the level of supervision, commencing at Level 1 – direct supervision, progressing to Level 2 – indirect supervision (see definitions). It is a requirement that you work under the supervision of your principal supervisor or, in their absence, your secondary supervisor (as per the supervision agreement). In the absence of any approved supervisor, you must cease practice.
Table 2 provides an overview of the documents and reporting requirements for supervised practice.
Submit to AHPRA
Within 14 days of commencing practice
After a minimum of 75 hours of direct supervision:
Within 14 days of achieving competence against the relevant Standards for practice and meeting the requirements of the restrictions:
The practitioner is eligible to lodge an application for general registration.
Inform the NMBA within 7 days:
1Where the supervisor’s formative evaluation report is that the nurse or midwife’s performance warrants a change in the level of supervision, this can occur without waiting for acknowledgement from AHPRA.
For re-entry to practice and prior to commencing a re-entry to practice program, an acceptance letter from the approved re-entry to practice program provider must be submitted to AHPRA.
A nurse and/or midwife holding provisional registration must:
Connection to the profession: demonstrated with evidence of professional development courses, study, conferences or reading that demonstrates maintenance, improvement and broadening of knowledge, expertise and competence. This may include on-going memberships with professional organisations or colleges, where ongoing learning and/or an active role can be evidenced.
Recency of practice: a health practitioner has maintained an adequate connection with, and recent practice in, the profession since qualifying or obtaining registration.
Re-entry to practice program: a program of study accredited by the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Accreditation Council (ANMAC) and approved by the NMBA as preparation for nurses and midwives for re-entry to the register. This may be after a lapse in practice and/or removal from the register for a period exceeding the requirement in the Registration standard: Recency of practice. It contains both a theoretical and a clinical experience component.
Supervised practice: a period of practice under supervision. It is a formal process of professional support and learning which allows a nurse and/or midwife (supervisee) to develop knowledge and competence, assume responsibility for their own practice and enhance public protection and safety. Supervision may be direct or indirect according to the nature of context under which the practice is being supervised. It is the responsibility of the nurse/midwife to arrange a placement that meets the requirements of the NMBA for re-entry to practice, including that:
Levels of supervision
The supervisor takes direct and principal responsibility for the nursing or midwifery care provided (e.g. assessment and/or treatment of individual patients/clients)
The supervisor must be physically present at the workplace, observing at all times when the supervisee is providing clinical care, according to the supervised practice plan.
Supervision by telephone is indirect and not permitted.
The supervisee must consult with the supervisor about the nursing or midwifery care before delivering the care.
As the highest level of supervision, this level may be used:
The supervisor and supervisee share the responsibility for individual patients.
The supervisor is easily contactable and is available to observe and discuss the nursing or midwifery care the supervisee is delivering.
According to the supervised practice plan, the supervisor must be physically present at the workplace (unit/clinic/ward) for the majority of time when the supervisee is providing clinical care.
The supervisee must inform the supervisor at agreed intervals about the management of each patient; this may be after delivering care.
If the approved supervisor is temporarily absent during any day, then the supervisor must make appropriate arrangements for alternative supervision, to provide temporary oversight.
Ideally a secondary supervisor on the supervisee’s supervision agreement will provide such temporary supervision.
This level may be used:
2 This refers to the usual reporting frequency for re-entry to practice but may be modified by the supervised practice plan. The NMBA or the supervisor may, at any time, exercise its discretion to ask to for/provide a report.
3 This lists the typical use of a supervision level. The NMBA may, at any time, exercise its discretion to determine the supervision level.