Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia - 2020/21 annual summary

2020/21 annual summary

Snapshot nurses

  • 458,506 nurses1
    • Up 3.0% from 2019/20
    • 55.5% of all registered health practitioners
    • 29,248 also hold registration in midwifery
  • 1.3% identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander
  • The number of nurse-only registered is up 3.3% from 2019/20
  • Nurses, including dual registered, 88.4% female; 11.6% male
  • Nurse-only registered, 87.8% female; 12.2% male
  • The number of dual-registered nurses and midwives is down 1.6% from 2019/20
  • Dual-registered nurses and midwives are 3.5% of all registered health practitioners and 98.3% female; 1.7% male

Age

Age: <25 = 6.3%, 25 to 34 = 26.3%, 35 to 44 = 22.1%, 45 to 54 = 20.0%, 55 to 64 = 18.4%, 65 to 74 = 6.5%, >75 = 0.4%

Divisions, dual registration and endorsements

Nurses by division

74,059 enrolled nurses
10,050 enrolled nurses and registered nurses
345,149 registered nurses
429,258 total

Nurses and midwives

118 enrolled nurses and midwives
91 enrolled nurses and registered nurses and midwives
29,039 registered nurses and midwives
29,248 total

Nurses with endorsements

2,251 nurse practitioners
1,295 scheduled medicines
3,546 total

This figure was updated to show the correct categories for ‘Nurses with endorsements’ post-publication.

Regulating nurses

Notifications

  • 2,080 notifications lodged with Ahpra
    • 2,483 registered nurses Australia-wide, including HPCA and OHO data, had notifications made about them
    • 0.5% of the profession

Sources of notifications

Sources of notifications: Employer 25.3%, Patient, relative or member of the public 24.6%, Other practitioner 15.7%, HCE 8.5%, Board’s own motion 1.5%, Other 24.3%

  • 246 immediate actions taken

  • 602 mandatory notifications received
    • 284 about professional standards

Most common types of complaints

Most common types of complaints: Clinical care 20.7%, Health impairment 14.7%, Offence against other law 11.7%, Medication 9.4%, Behaviour 7.3%, Breach of non-offence provision - National Law 5.0%, Communication 4.7%, Other 26.5%

Notifications closed

Notifications closed: 2,021 notifications closed, 12.4% conditions imposed on registration or an undertaking accepted, 4.8% received a caution or reprimand, 1.4% registration suspended or cancelled, 8.4% referred to another body or retained by a health complaints entity, 72.9% no further action

Monitoring

  • 1,255 practitioners monitored for healthperformance and/or conduct during the year
  • 1,519 cases being monitored at 30 June:
    • 114 for conduct
    • 232 for health reasons
    • 100 for performance
    • 240 for prohibited practitioner/student
    • 833 for suitability/eligibility for registration

Referred to an adjudication body

  • 40 matters decided by a tribunal
  • 4 matters decided by a panel
  • 15 appeals
    • Also 1 appeal from a dual-registered nurse and midwife

Criminal offence complaints

  • 89 criminal offence complaints made
    • 70 about title protection
    • 9 about practice protection
    • 9 about advertising breaches
    • 1 directing or inciting unprofessional conduct/professional misconduct
  • 72 were closed

1The 2019/20 annual report omitted dual-registered nurses and midwives from two totals in this corresponding display. The correct figures were 445,169 and 55.5%; 415,433 and 51.8% were nurse-only registered. The tables in the report were correct.

Snapshot midwives

  • 36,033 midwives
    • Down 0.03% from 2019/20
    • 4.4% of all registered health practitioners
    • 6,785 hold registration as a midwife only
    • 0.8% of all registered health practitioners
  • The number of midwife-only registered is up 7.5% from 2019/20
  • 1.4% identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander
  • Midwives, including dual-registered, 98.5% female; 1.5% male
  • Midwife-only registered, 99.6% female; 0.4% male

Age

Age: <25 = 8.4%, 25 to 34 = 33.4%, 35 to 44 = 27.3%, 45 to 54 = 18.8%, 55 to 64 = 8.8%, 65 to 74 = 3.2%, >75 = 0.2%

Midwives with endorsements

1 midwife practitioner
705 scheduled medicines
706 total

Regulating midwives

Notifications

  • 111 notifications lodged with Ahpra
    • 135 registered midwives Australia-wide, including HPCA and OHO data, had notifications made about them
    • 0.4% of the profession

Sources of notifications

Sources of notifications: Employer 29.7%, Patient, relative or member of the public 27.0%, Other practitioner 18.9%, HCE 8.1%, Board’s own motion 1.8%, Other 14.4%

  • 10 immediate actions taken

  • 31 mandatory notifications received
    • 12 about professional standards

Most common types of complaints

Most common types of complaints: Clinical care 39.6%, Health impairment 11.7%, Communication 6.3%, Breach of non-offence provision - National Law 6.3%, Documentation 5.4%, Offence against other law 5.4%, Other 25.2%

Notifications closed

Notifications closed: 116 notifications closed, 14.7% conditions imposed on registration or an undertaking accepted, 0.9% received a caution or reprimand, 2.6% registration suspended or cancelled, 6.0% referred to another body or retained by a health complaints entity, 75.9% no further action

Monitoring

  • 34 practitioners monitored for health, performance and/or conduct during the year
  • 49 cases being monitored at 30 June:
    • 3 for conduct
    • 4 for health reasons
    • 10 for performance
    • 4 for prohibited practitioner/student
    • 28 for suitability/eligibility for registration

Referred to an adjudication body

  • 3 matters decided by a tribunal
  • No matters decided by a panel
  • 1 appeal from a dual-registered nurse and midwife

Criminal offence complaints

  • 6 criminal offence complaints made
    • about title protection
  • 6 were closed

A report from the Chair

New Chair gives thanks in pandemic-affected Year of the Nurse and the Midwife

In October, nurse and midwife Adjunct Professor Veronica Casey AM was appointed Chair of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA). Adjunct Professor Casey began her tenure by thanking nurses and midwives for their service to their communities, in recognition of 2020 being the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife.

The NMBA supported the professions and the public health response to COVID-19, working with state and territory health departments to uphold vaccination efforts with a national survey of nurses’ and midwives’ vaccination experience.

The NMBA also offered consideration of financial hardship for registration renewal fees in 2021 for those affected financially by the pandemic and temporarily amended some registration requirements. The pandemic response sub-register, initially due to end in April, was extended for a year to support the COVID-19 vaccination effort.

New assessment model for IQNMs

The NMBA successfully delivered the first objective structured clinical exam (OSCE) for registered nurses in February, as part of its new assessment model for internationally qualified nurses and midwives (IQNMs). The OSCE is a clinical exam to assess whether candidates demonstrate the knowledge, skills and competence of a graduate-level nurse or midwife from an Australian NMBA-approved program of study.

The NMBA also released new guidelines for employers on best practice for orienting IQNMs to the Australian healthcare context. Using the NMBA guidelines to shape the content of local (employer-based) orientation programs will enable IQNMs to have the best opportunity to start practice in Australia safely, effectively and professionally. The guidelines, An employer and manager’s guide to registration and orientation for internationally qualified nurses and midwives, are available on the Orientation Part 1 and Part 2 sections of the NMBA website.

Celebrating four years of national health support for nurses and midwives

Nurses, midwives and students have had access to free nationwide health support for the past four years through Nurse & Midwife Support.

Launched in March 2017, Nurse & Midwife Support offers 24/7 phone and online health support, delivered for and by nurses and midwives. It also provides support for employers of nurses and midwives. The NMBA acknowledged the Nurse & Midwife Support team for their outstanding service to the nursing and midwifery professions in times of most need. To find out more about the service, visit www.nmsupport.org.au.

NP standards for practice

Revised Nurse practitioner standards for practice took effect on 1 March. These standards build and expand on the practice standards required of a registered nurse and set the expectations of nurse practitioner (NP) practice in all contexts. The standards inform the education accreditation standards for NPs, the regulation of NPs and determine an NP’s capability for practice. The standards are used to guide consumers, employers and other stakeholders on what to reasonably expect from an NP regardless of their area of practice or their years of experience.

Recent developments in the theory and practice of NPs, including the key concepts and definitions, have been incorporated into the revised standards. The revised standards also include culturally safe and respectful practice, and consider the impact the standards could have on people’s health and safety, particularly for members of the community with limited support, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. The presentation of the revised standards has been improved and aligns with the presentation of the Registered nurse standards for practice and the Midwife standards for practice.

Recency

The NMBA consulted on the proposed revised Registration standard: Recency of practice. The proposed revised standard gives practitioners more flexibility to meet the recency of practice requirements: these can now be met over two, three or five years. This aligns the NMBA with other National Boards and international regulators. The proposed revised standard incorporates changes to recency of practice requirements for recent graduates, clarity for deferred graduates and for those who have been absent from the profession for 10 or more years. The standard is with Health Ministers for approval.

Adjunct Professor Veronica Casey AM

 
 
Page reviewed 12/05/2022