Re-entry to practice for nurses and midwives

Download a PDF copy of this policy, Re-entry to practice for nurses and midwives (2019).

Who this policy is for

This policy applies to people who hold current general or non-practising registration or have previously held registration as a nurse and/or a midwife in Australia, who are seeking to return to clinical and/or non-clinical practice (see definition of practice below) but do not meet the requirements of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) Registration standard: Recency of practice. This includes those who:

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

This policy does not apply to:

  • recent graduates from an NMBA-approved entry to practice nursing or midwifery program in Australia who are applying for registration for the first time, or
  • people holding student registration.

The role of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (the National Board/NMBA) is to protect the public by ensuring that anyone who is registered is safe and competent to practise.

A key requirement is that the nurse and/or midwife is able to demonstrate that he or she meets the Board-approved Standards for practice (formally known as National competency standards). All applicants for registration are required to demonstrate that the relevant Standards for practice have been met.

This policy is to be read in conjunction with the Board’s registration standards and, in particular, the recency of practice and continuing professional development registration standards for nurses and midwives.

The Board-approved Recency of practice registration standard applies to nurses and midwives when they apply for registration renewal each year. Individuals who were previously registered as nurses and/or midwives in Australia, and who have not practised the profession(s) for a period of five years or more, will be required to undergo an individual assessment of their application. This assessment will be based on their:

  • qualifications (including both undergraduate and postgraduate nursing and/or midwifery studies) 
  • professional practice history, and 
  • length of time away from practising in the profession/s.

The outcome of this assessment will determine whether the person is required to complete one of the following Board-approved re-entry to practice pathways:

  1. supervised practice program; 
  2. re-entry to practice program, or 
  3. requisite studies in a pre-registration program - leading to initial registration. These studies should be identified by a Board-approved education provider following recognition of the individual’s prior learning.

1. People who are no longer on the register and have not practised for a period of between five to 10 years

People who have not practised as a nurse or midwife for between five and ten years and who do not hold registration, are required to lodge an application for provisional registration. The assessment of the application will determine whether the applicant will be required to demonstrate successful completion of:

  • a period of supervised practice approved by the NMBA (Pathway 1), or
  • an NMBA approved re-entry to practice program (Pathway 2)

(see the definitions for supervised practice and NMBA-approved programs of study).

2. Nurses and midwives holding non-practising registration who have not practised for between five to 10 years seeking general registration as a registered nurse, enrolled nurse, or midwife

A nurse and/or a midwife who has held non-practising registration and not practised for between five years and 10 years and is seeking general registration, is required to lodge an application for general registration. The assessment of the application will determine whether the nurse or midwife will be required to demonstrate successful completion of:

  • a period of supervised practice approved by the NMBA (Pathway 1), or
  • an NMBA approved re-entry to practice program (Pathway 2).

3. Persons holding general registration who have not practised for between five and 10 years

A nurse and/or a midwife who holds general registration and has not practised for between five and 10 years can contact AHPRA directly or must declare at registration renewal that they do not meet the requirements of the Registration standard: Recency of practice. The assessment of the application will determine whether the nurse or midwife will be required to demonstrate successful completion of:

  • a period of supervised practice approved by the NMBA (Pathway 1), or
  • an NMBA approved re-entry to practice program (Pathway 2).

As a part of the application process, all applicants in categories one to three above will be required to provide mapping against the relevant NMBA standards for practice. Templates for the mapping can be found on the Re-entry to practice page.

4. Persons who have not practised for a period of 10 years or more

People who have not practised as a nurse or midwife for 10 years or more must demonstrate successful completion of an 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.

People in this category will be required to apply directly to an NMBA-approved education provider for entry to a pre-registration program. Recognition of prior learning (RPL) and identification of the requisite studies as part of an -approved program of study leading to general registration are at the discretion of the education provider.

For further information on pathways and assessment, see Figure 1 below and the Fact sheet: Re-entry to practice.

Figure 1. Re-entry pathways.

NMBA - Updated flowchart Figure 1 - Re-entry to practice for nurses and midwives. Click on the link below to access the text version of this flowchart. 

 

ANMAC: The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Accreditation Council (ANMAC) is the independent accreditation authority for nursing and midwifery responsible for accrediting the nursing and midwifery entry and re-entry programs of study and recommending these to NMBA for approval. A list of approved programs of study is available from the NMBA website.

Approved program of study: a program of study accredited by ANMAC and approved by the NMBA and may be either:

  • a re-entry to practice program for registration as a nurse or midwife, or
  • a pathway for re-entry to practice for persons solely qualified in mental health, paediatric or disability nursing, or
  • completion of all, or part of, a nursing or midwifery undergraduate program of study that leads to registration as a nurse or midwife.

The successful completion of these approved programs of study leads to general registration as a nurse or midwife, once all other registration requirements are met.

Clinical practice: when the nurse or midwife is involved in providing direct clinical care or providing oversight of direct clinical care of patients or is directly involved in clinical education of either pre-registration or post-registration students, including bridging programs.

General registration: a type of registration held by practitioners who have graduated from a Board-approved, accredited program of study in the profession and completed any required period of supervised practice or they have demonstrated equivalence of their overseas qualifications.

Non-clinical practice: when a nurse or midwife is not directly involved in providing direct clinical or oversight of direct care of patients; is not directly involved in clinical education of pre- or post-registration student, including bridging programs.

Non-practising registration: a type of registration available to practitioners who have previously held general registration in a profession, but who do not wish to practise the profession during the registration period. The National Law states that a practitioner who holds non-practising registration in a profession must not practise the profession.

Practice means any role, whether remunerated or not, in which the individual uses their skills and knowledge as a nurse or midwife. Practice is not restricted to the provision of direct clinical care. It also includes working in a direct non-clinical relationship with clients, working in management, administration, education, research, advisory, regulatory or policy development roles, and any other roles that impact on safe, effective delivery of services in the profession and/or use of their professional skills.

Provisional registration: a type of registration granted to practitioners to enable them to complete a period of supervised practice to be eligible for general registration. This type of registration is intended for practitioners who have previously completed an NMBA-approved, accredited qualification in the profession, and are seeking to re-enter practice.

Re-entry to practice program: a program of study accredited by ANMAC and approved by the NMBA as preparation for nurses and midwives for re-entry to the register 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.

Recency of practice: that a health practitioner has maintained an adequate connection with, and recent practice in, the profession since qualifying for or obtaining registration.

Recent graduate: a person applying for registration for the first time whose qualification for registration was awarded not more than two years prior to the date of application for registration.

Recognition of prior learning (RPL): or advanced standing, is the acknowledgement by an education provider of formal and informal learning and work experience. An assessment is made by the education provider to determine the extent to which an individual’s previous learning and experience is equivalent to the required learning and competency outcomes specified in a particular qualification.

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:

  • the practice setting must give the maximum opportunity to demonstrate the full spectrum of the respective standards for practice
  • the supervisor meets the minimum requirements listed in the Supervision guidelines for nurses and midwives
  • the nurse/midwife will not engage with an employment agency for supervised practice, and
  • the NMBA does not allow for supervision in private practice (where a nurse or midwife is working as sole practitioner, in partnership or in self-employed models or working on their own account).
 
 
 
Page reviewed 11/02/2019