Fact sheet: Re-entry to practice

Download a PDF copy of this Fact sheet: Re-entry to practice (PDF, 266KB).

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.

The NMBA Registration standard: Recency of practice (the standard) sets out the NMBA requirements in relation to the minimum numbers of hours of practice for registered nurses, enrolled nurses and midwives. All applicants for registration and renewal of registration in Australia must meet the recency of practice requirements set out in the standard.

To meet the standard:

  • applicants who hold general or non-practising registration, but have not practised for between five and 10 years: must satisfactorily complete a period of supervised practice or a re-entry program that is approved by the NMBA
  • applicants who are no longer registered and wish to return to practice must apply for provisional registration before engaging in any form of practice, supervised or otherwise. See also the NMBA Fact sheet: Provisional registration information for nurses and midwives for specific information on applying for provisional registration.

 

This fact sheet is relevant to those who:

  • have had a lapse in practice of five years or more
  • have held non-practising registration for five or more years, or
  • are no longer on the register.

This document must be read in conjunction with the Registration standard: Recency of practice and Policy: Re-entry to practice.

When applying for initial registration or at annual renewal of registration you are required to make a declaration about your practice in the last five years. It is important to evaluate your knowledge and skills to make sure that you have the appropriate education, training, experience, and competence to undertake nursing and/or midwifery practice.

The only exception is for recent graduates who are applying for registration for the first time and within two years of being awarded their qualification.

 

If you have been out of practice for five years or more, you need to provide the NMBA sufficient information to review your specific requirements for re-entry into practice.

The application forms collect information about your qualifications, work and registration history, continuing professional development activities, plans for future professional practice, and length of time away from practising in the profession/s. It includes mapping your recent practice against the standards for practice. The information collected is used to determine whether you require any additional training, periods of supervision, programs, or other requirements to meet eligibility for general registration.

If you currently hold general registration and have not practised for five years or more

You can contact AHPRA directly or you must declare at registration renewal that you do not meet the requirements of the Registration standard: Recency of practice.

If you currently hold non-practising registration and wish to return to practice

You will need to change to a registration type that permits practice by completing the Application for general registration as an enrolled nurse, registered nurse or midwife (for current non-practising registrants) –AGNP-40.

If you are no longer registered

You will need to apply for provisional registration by completing the Application for provisional registration for re-entry to practice – APRO-40.

 

Provisional registration is a registration type that enables a nurse and/or midwife to complete a period of supervised practice or an NMBA-approved re-entry to practice program to be eligible for general registration. The Fact sheet: Provisional registration for nurses and midwives provides specific information and direction for provisional applicants.

 

A range of factors are considered when assessing what is needed for your re-entry to practice including qualifications, work and registration history, continuing professional development activities, plans for future professional practice, and length of time away from practising in the profession/s. All applications are assessed 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 required  Examples and cues
Initial and subsequent qualifications
  • Documentary evidence of the qualification that entitled you to initial registration in your profession. This may have been completed at university, through a registered training authority such as TAFE, or you may have completed hospital-based training.
  • Documentary evidence of any additional qualifications gained that have relevance to your nursing and/or midwifery practice. This may be post-graduate study in your area of practice. 
  • Any other formal qualifications that developed your professional skills and knowledge.
Continuing professional development and connection to the profession
  • Documentary evidence of professional development courses, study, conferences or reading that demonstrates maintenance, improvement and broadening of knowledge, expertise and competence. This could be presented as a portfolio of evidence and may include ongoing memberships with professional organisations or colleges, where ongoing learning and/or an active role can be evidenced.
Extent of nursing and/or midwifery work/practice
(paid or unpaid/voluntary)
  • Statement/s of service from each employer/s that includes the position held, the number of hours worked (full-time/part-time), and how the roles/s involved the application of nursing and/or midwifery practice. The statements of service must:
    • be on the employer’s letterhead
    • contain your name
    • the position/role held
    • contain details of service including:
      • the date that you commenced and finished working in the position
      • whether the work was full-time, part-time or a combination. If any of the work has been part-time, provide details of full-time equivalent worked.
  • Detail of your role, particularly where the title of the position does not include ‘nurse’ or ‘midwife’.
  • A position description can be useful to demonstrate that the role involved the use of nursing and/or midwifery knowledge.
  • Submit the standards for practice mapping template, to demonstrate how you have met the nursing and/or midwifery standards for practice since your last nursing or midwifery position.

 

After the documentation is considered, the NMBA may decide to approve your application subject to restrictions, grant provisional registration for applicants not on the register or refuse your application. Possible outcomes of your application may include any one of the following:

  • Approval of your application to complete an NMBA-approved period of supervised practice (Pathway 1)
  • Approval of your application to complete an NMBA-approved re-entry to practice program (Pathway 2)
  • Refusal of your application and referral to an NMBA-approved program of study leading to general registration. This applies to all nurses and/or midwives who hold general or non-practising registration and have not practised for 10 years or more, and to those seeking re-registration who have not practised for 10 years or more.

 

 Step  Process

1

  • If you currently hold general registration – Contact AHPRA directly, or declare at annual registration renewal. Further direction will be provided by AHPRA.
  • If you currently hold non-practising registration – Application for general registration for current non-practising registrants (form AGNP-40).
  • If you are not registered – Application for provisional registration (form APRO-40).
 2
  • Your application will be reviewed and further information may be requested. Only when your application is complete will it progress to the next stage of assessment.
 3
  • Your application will be assessed and may need review by a Professional Officer for Nursing and Midwifery. Please note further documents may be requested at this stage.
 4
  •  Your application will be forwarded to the next available meeting of the relevant Board/Committee and you will be advised of the proposed outcome.

You must hold general or provisional registration before commencing, and for the duration of, your supervised practice placement. The NMBA will let you know the level of supervision within which you will practise.

You are also required to review the Supervision guidelines for nursing and midwifery. Within the guidelines, you will be directed to submit the following:

  • Letter of offer for a supervised practice position: before commencing practice
  • Supervised practice agreement: before commencing practice
  • Supervised practice plan: within 14 days of commencing practice
  • Formative reports as listed in the supervision guidelines
  • Summative report as listed in the supervision guidelines.

You must hold general or provisional registration before commencing, and for the duration of, your re-entry program. Registrants completing an NMBA-approved re-entry to practice program (Pathway 2), listed as an approved program of study, are required to submit the following:

  • Letter of offer from the education provider, confirming commencement date of the re-entry to practice program.

You are not required to complete a formative report unless specifically requested to do so by the NMBA or other entity, including the education provider.

If you have not practised for 10 years or more you will not be eligible for Pathway 1 or 2. You must demonstrate successful completion of an NMBA-approved program of study leading to initial registration, as identified by an NMBA-approved education provider (following recognition of prior learning).

 

 
 
 
Page reviewed 11/02/2019