Updated February 2023
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. These requirements are set out in conditions applied to their registration.
Nurses and/or midwives with provisional registration for supervised practice must comply with the requirements and responsibilities specified in the Supervised practice framework . When the requirements of the supervised practice or re-entry to practice program conditions 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 approves the practitioner's registration. 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 15 years and
If you hold general or non-practising registration or have not practised for a period of 15 years or more, please refer to the Policy: Re-entry to practice for nurses and midwives for further guidance.
The Application for provisional registration for re-entry to practice – APRO-40 form 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 15 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 practice placement or re-entry to practice program.
There are four levels of supervised practice direct, indirect (present), indirect (accessible) or remote (see definitions). The NMBA will let you know which level of supervision that you will commence your supervised practice. It is a requirement that you work under the supervision of your primary supervisor* or, in their absence, your alternate supervisor (as per your Supervised practice plan). In the absence of any approved supervisor, you must cease practice.
*For enrolled nurses the primary supervisor must be a registered nurse.
Table 2 provides an overview of the documents and reporting requirements for supervised practice.
Submit to Ahpra
Inform the NMBA within seven days:
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 with 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, indirect or remote 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
Supervisor physically present at all times to observe the supervisee
The supervisor takes direct and principal responsibility for all individual patients receiving care from the supervisee.
The supervisee must consult with and follow the directions of the supervisor about the management of each patient, including the process of assessment, before care is given. The care provided must be directly observed by the supervisor who is physically present with the supervisee at all times.
Indirect 1 (present)
Supervisor physically present at the workplace
The supervisee and the supervisor share responsibility for all individual patients receiving care from the supervisee.
The supervisee must consult with the supervisor who is always physically present in the workplace or practice environment and available to observe and discuss at agreed intervals and as necessary for the:
Indirect 2 (accessible)
Supervisor is accessible by phone or other means and available to physically attend the workplace
The supervisee takes primary responsibility for their practice and the management of all individual patients receiving care from the supervisee under the supervisor's general oversight.
The supervisee must consult with the supervisor who is accessible by telephone, video conference or other means of telecommunication and available to attend the workplace or practice environment to observe and discuss at agreed intervals and as necessary for the:
This may be after the care is given to the patient.
Supervisor is not present at the workplace
The supervisee takes primary responsibility for their practice including the management of all individual patients receiving care from the supervisee under the supervisor's general oversight.
The supervisee must consult with the supervisor, who is accessible by telephone, video conference or other means of telecommunication at agreed intervals and as necessary for the: