Updated December 2022
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 Registration standard: Recency of practice (the standard) sets out the NMBA's 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:
This fact sheet is relevant to those who:
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 to 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.
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.
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.
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.
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, if it is approved, may include any one of the following:
You must hold general or provisional registration before commencing, and for the duration of, your supervised practice placement.
The Supervised practice framework outlines the requirements and responsibility that you will need to meet in order be eligible for general registration.
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.
Table 2: Timelines and requirements
Submit to Ahpra
Inform the NMBA within 7 days
For supervisees undertaking supervised practice submitted or approved before 1 February 2022
Transition arrangements apply to supervisees and supervisors who were part of a supervised practice arrangement already submitted or approved before 1 February 2022.
The previous Supervision guidelines for nursing and midwifery will continue to apply. For more information refer to the Fact sheet: Supervised practice framework - transition arrangements
Should your period of supervised practice extend beyond 1 February 2023, you will be required to move from the above supervision arrangements to the Supervised practice framework and submit the framework’s relevant supporting documents.
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:
If you have not practised for 15 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).