August 2021

Contents


Message from the Chair

The past month has seen more nurses, midwives and students called into action to support COVID-19 vaccination and testing efforts, often while dealing with the personal impacts of lockdowns. On behalf of the NMBA, I’d like to once again thank you for your flexibility, professionalism and resilience. I encourage all nurses, midwives and students to get the COVID-19 vaccination as soon as possible to protect yourselves and your community. Remember, you also have access to a free national health support service, Nurse & Midwife Support – students are also welcome to use this service. In this newsletter, we also offer more professional guidance around vaccination. 

In July, we celebrated NAIDOC Week and I would like to recognise the work of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurses and midwives and reinforce the NMBA’s commitment to supporting a health system free from racism. You can read more in this newsletter. 

Adjunct Professor Veronica Casey, registered nurse and midwife

Chair, Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia

Veronica Casey   

Call for applications 

The NMBA is calling for applications for appointment to the list of examiners for the assessment of internationally qualified registered nurses. Applications close at 5pm AEST on Sunday 15 August 2021. More information

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NMBA news

Nurses and midwives leading the way in getting vaccinated 

Amanda Singleton, Chair of the Victorian Board of the NMBA, receives a COVID-19 vaccination
Image: Amanda Singleton, Chair of the Victorian Board of the NMBA, receiving a COVID-19 vaccination.  

Across Australia, nurses and midwives are leading their communities in getting vaccinated against COVID-19. The NMBA encourages all nurses, midwives and students to get vaccinated unless medically contraindicated. 

Michelle Garner, Chair of the Queensland Board of the NMBA and Executive Director of Nursing, Midwifery and Clinical Governance for North West Hospital and Health Service, said that getting vaccinated and supporting vaccination efforts are some of the ways that nurses and midwives care for their communities. 

‘Nurses and midwives – particularly First Nations nurses and midwives – are leading the way in remote Queensland. Getting vaccinated is part of how we are keeping our communities safe and it’s the responsibility of all of us,’ Ms Garner said.  

Marie-Louise MacDonald, Chief Executive Officer, Masonic Care Western Australia and Chair of the WA Board of the NMBA, emphasised that nurses are particularly crucial in protecting older Australians.

‘Nurses and midwives underpin every aspect of our healthcare system. We are the most trusted professions in our community and we have a major role to play in promoting COVID-19 vaccinations so that the community we care for continues to thrive,’ Ms MacDonald said.

‘Working as nurses in aged care gives us the privilege of listening to our elders and hearing their insights about the lives they lived. This can only happen if we look after each other and vaccinate against COVID-19.’

‘Nurses can only rest easy after we have all rolled up for COVID-19 vaccinations, it is only then that we can focus on other things.’ 

You can find out more about getting vaccinated on the Department of Health website

Kara Burke clinical nurse at Mount Isa Hospital after receiving a COVID-19 vaccination
Image: Kara Burke, clinical nurse at Mount Isa Hospital, after having a COVID-19 vaccination. 

NAIDOC Week and our commitment to cultural safety 

In July we celebrated NAIDOC Week, when communities come together to recognise and celebrate the culture, history and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. The NMBA recognises the important role that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurses and midwives play in the health of communities – thank you for your contribution. 

One of the professional requirements for all nurses and midwives is to understand the history of colonisation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and its ongoing impact on health.

The nursing and midwifery professions share a commitment to contributing to a health system free from racism. The codes of conduct for nurses and midwives state that the professions must: 

  • provide care that is holistic, free of bias and racism, challenges belief based upon assumption and is culturally safe and respectful for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Peoples 
  • advocate for and act to facilitate access to quality and culturally safe health services for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Peoples, and
  • recognise the importance of family, community, partnership and collaboration in the healthcare decision-making of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Peoples, for both prevention strategies and care delivery.

You can read more in the codes of conduct, or the joint statement signed by more than 30 leading nursing and midwifery organisations. 

Our commitment to cultural safety as regulators 

The NMBA and Ahpra, along with all members of the National Scheme, are committed to becoming culturally safe regulators and contributing to health equity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. Part of this commitment involves comprehensive cultural safety training for all Ahpra staff and Board members, which is underway. 

You can read more about our commitments as regulators in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Cultural Safety Strategy 2020-2025

Queen’s Birthday Honours for nurses and midwives

The NMBA would like to congratulate all the recipients of the Queen’s Birthday 2021 Honours, particularly the nurses and midwives recognised for their service.

The full list of recipients can be viewed on the Governor General’s website.

Updates from recent NMBA meetings

In May, members of the NMBA were pleased to attend the Australian College of Nursing’s Nursing Now campaign finale at Parliament House. Adjunct Professor Casey participated in a panel discussion and NMBA practitioner member David Carpenter presented on the role of the regulator during the COVID-19 pandemic. It was a privilege to hear from nurses working in a wide range of contexts about their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic -- their resilience, professionalism and high standard of care is a testament to the nursing profession. 

Veronica Casey, Allyson Warrington, Felicity Dalzell and David Carpenter attend the Nursing Now campaign finale

Image: NMBA Chair Veronica Casey, NMBA community member Allyson Warrington, ACT Board Chair Felicity Dalzell and NMBA practitioner member David Carpenter attend the Nursing Now event at Parliament House. 

There have been recent appointments to the state and territory boards of the NMBA. You can find out about the state and territory board members on our website.

We will be hosting virtual information forums for nurses and midwives across the country from late 2021 through to early 2022. Nurses and midwives will be invited via email when sessions are available. 

Each month the NMBA makes decisions on approved programs of study leading to registration and endorsement. To see the up-to-date, searchable list of approved programs, please visit the Approved programs of study section our website.

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Registration

Professional requirements around vaccination and public health initiatives 

Using the best evidence and supporting public health initiatives are professional requirements for nurses and midwives. The codes of conduct specifically require nurses and midwives to:

participate in efforts to promote the health of communities and meet their obligations with respect to disease prevention including vaccination, health screening and reporting notifiable diseases. 

Ahpra and National Boards have published a joint statement on vaccination as well as guidance for adhering to your code of conduct when using social media. You can view these on Ahpra’s COVID-19 updates: All profession information webpage. You can also read the NMBA position statement on vaccination.

Don’t forget, you can access free, confidential health support 24/7 by calling Nurse & Midwife Support on 1800 667 877

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Nursing and midwifery regulation at work: notification case studies

Tribunal reprimands enrolled nurse for professional misconduct

A Victorian enrolled nurse has been reprimanded and prohibited from working in aged-care health services until 22 December 2022, for fraudulently obtaining and using a resident’s credit card details.

Read the news item

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National Scheme news

You may notice that our public register looks a little different

We’ve launched a new-look public register with enhanced search capabilities.

The aim of the enhancements is to make the register easier to use, especially for those in our communities who may have barriers to access. 

What’s different?

Some of the changes you’ll see include:

  • increased prominence of the register on the Ahpra homepage so it’s easier to find 
  • simplified language with pop-up information boxes, and 
  • improved search functionality, including:
    • predictive text
    • phonetic searching capability
    • search by location, and
    • refined search filters (including being able to search by the 15 most common community languages).

To help users navigate the new-look register, we’ve developed a ‘how to search’ video which is available on our Practitioner Search Quicktips page.

No place for sexism, sexual harassment or gendered violence in healthcare

There is no place for sexism, sexual harassment or gendered violence in healthcare. The NMBA, Ahpra and all National Boards want to remind registered health practitioners of their professional obligations and encourage speaking up about disrespectful behaviour and unprofessional conduct in healthcare. 

Ahpra and the National Boards have published a joint statement, No place for sexism, sexual harassment or violence in healthcare

Our expectations of practitioner conduct and respectful, professional behaviour, including maintaining appropriate professional boundaries, are set out in the codes of conduct for nurses and midwives. 

Practitioners must always treat patients, consumers, students, employees and colleagues with respect. They must always communicate professionally and respectfully with and about others, including when using social media. Respect is a cornerstone of good professional practice and it is fundamental to the Australian community’s trust in registered health practitioners. 

There is no place for sexism, sexual harassment or gendered violence in healthcare. Ahpra and National Boards explicitly condemn this behaviour by registered health practitioners.

We encourage all registered health practitioners to speak up if they witness or experience disrespectful behaviour or unprofessional conduct. Together, we can all help build and maintain a culture of respect in healthcare that facilitates better patient outcomes and contributes to safer care. 

Read our joint statement for more information about where and how to raise concerns about disrespectful behaviour and unprofessional conduct in healthcare. Concerns about a registered health practitioner’s unprofessional conduct, including sexual harassment, should be reported to Ahpra. For more information, visit the Ahpra website

Guidance on reflective practice reports

New guidance is now available for practitioners who are subject to education or mentoring conditions as part of their registration.

The new guidance: Information sheet – Reflective reports (Education) and Information sheet – Reflective reports (Mentoring) is published under the Monitoring and compliance section on the Ahpra website. 

‘This new guidance will make it easier for practitioners to draft a reflective practice report to the satisfaction of the relevant Board,’ Ahpra’s National Director of Compliance, Jason McHeyzer, said. 

The guidance on developing a reflective report is endorsed by the NMBA. 

National Boards have also approved a new form for review of conditions of undertakings (form ARCD-00) which is published on the Registration Common forms page. Ahpra is also developing guidance for practitioners on the information required by National Boards when considering applications to change or remove conditions or undertakings. 

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Keep in touch with the NMBA

  • Visit the NMBA website for registration standards, codes, guidelines and FAQs.
  • Lodge an online enquiry form.
  • For registration enquiries, call 1300 419 495 (from within Australia) or +61 3 9285 3010 (for overseas callers).
  • Address mail correspondence to: Adjunct Professor Veronica Casey AM, Chair, Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia, GPO Box 9958, Melbourne, VIC 3001.

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Page reviewed 2/08/2021