Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia - December 2017
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December 2017


Message from the Chair

This year, the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) consulted with you on the codes of conduct and the Midwife standards for practice. Thank you to everyone who shared their views with us – you can still have your say on prescribing.

In 2017 we launched Nurse & Midwife Support, the independent health service, and I encourage each of you to have its number in your phone: 1800 667 877.

On behalf of the NMBA, I’d like to thank our state and territory board members, our partners in regulation, the professional associations, the Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officers and the organisations we have worked with in 2017.

I’d like to thank all of you for staying in touch with the NMBA and the standards of the professions, and wish you all a safe and happy holiday season.

Associate Professor Lynette Cusack RN
Chair, Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia

Associate Professor Lynette Cusack RN

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Call for applications

There are vacancies on the state and territory boards of the NMBA for practitioner members (current nurses and midwives) and community members.

More information about the roles is available online.

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NMBA news

Year in review: what changed in 2017?

New guidelines for privately practising midwives

On 1 January 2017, new guidelines for privately practising midwives took effect, including those with an endorsement for scheduled medicines. To find out more, view the Safety and quality guidelines for privately practising midwives.

National health support service

Since March 2017, nurses and midwives (and their employers, partners, friends and family) have access to a national, independent and confidential health service. Nurse & Midwife Support takes calls 24/7, as well as offering a comprehensive website on health specifically for nurses, midwives and students. Call 1800 667 877 or visit the Nurse & Midwife Support website.

Consultation on the codes of conduct

Over 4000 nurses, midwives, health consumers and other stakeholders participated in the development of the new Code of conduct for nurses and Code of conduct for midwives. Consultation included a public survey, focus groups, workshops and expert working groups. The NMBA would like to thank everyone who participated.

Consultation on the Midwife standards for practice

This year, we consulted with you on the draft Midwife standards for practice which will replace the National competency standards for the midwife (2006) in providing a framework for assessing a midwife’s competence to practise in Australia.

The new Midwife standards for practice will be released in 2018.

Third domain of new codes of conduct: ‘Act with professional integrity’

On 1 March 2018, new NMBA codes of conduct will take effect for all nurses and midwives in Australia, in all practice settings.

The new Code of conduct for nurses and Code of conduct for midwives (the codes) share four domains of conduct.

The third domain in the codes is “act with professional integrity” and is underpinned by three principles and their value statements:

  • Professional behaviour: Nurses and midwives embody integrity, honesty, respect and compassion.
  • Teaching, supervising and assessing: Nurses and midwives commit to teaching, supervising and assessing students and other nurses and midwives, in order to develop the workforce across all contexts of practice.
  • Research in health: Nurses and midwives recognise the vital role of research to inform quality healthcare and policy development, conduct research ethically and support the decision-making of people who participate in research.

For more information and to view the Code of conduct for nurses and the Code of conduct for midwives in full, please visit the NMBA website.

Last chance to have your say on prescribing

Last month the NMBA and the Australian and New Zealand Council of Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officers (ANZCCNMO) released a joint discussion paper on registered nurse (RN) and midwife prescribing.

The NMBA and ANZCCNMO encourage feedback to the paper, especially from service delivery leaders in nursing and midwifery, on how RN and midwife prescribing could improve health service delivery for better health outcomes.

To view the discussion paper and have your say please visit the current consultations section of the NMBA website. Submissions close on 22 December 2017.

Updates from the October and November 2017 NMBA meetings

Each month the NMBA meets to make decisions on the regulation of nursing and midwifery in Australia.

In October, the NMBA approved the draft Midwife standards for practice for its final observation phase. This phase ensures the standards have been rigorously tested in contemporary midwifery practice settings.

In November, NMBA members met in Adelaide and took the opportunity to hold an information forum with nurses and midwives at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, which included an overview of the new codes of conduct.

The Chair of the South Australian Board of the NMBA, Associate Professor Linda Starr, joined the November NMBA meeting which provided an opportunity for Linda to observe the work of the NMBA and share her experience as a Chair of a state board.

Nurses and midwives attend the NMBA information session at Royal Adelaide Hospital
Photo: Nurses and midwives at an NMBA information forum at Royal Adelaide Hospital.

To see the October and November decisions on approved programs of study leading to registration and endorsement, please view the communiqué:

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Change to codes of ethics in 2018

The International Council of Nurses Code of ethics for nurses and the International Confederation of Midwives Code of ethics for midwives will be adopted for Australian nurses and midwives from 1 March 2018.

The NMBA, Australian College of Midwives, Australian College of Nursing and Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation have agreed to jointly adopt the international codes as the guiding documents for ethical decision-making for nurses and midwives in Australia.

For more information please see the news item.

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Nursing and midwifery regulation at work: notification case studies

Nurse permanently disqualified after assault on patient

A tribunal has reprimanded an enrolled nurse and permanently disqualified him from applying for registration after he admitted to professional misconduct concerning an assault on a patient.

The South Australian Health Practitioners Tribunal (the tribunal) accepted an agreement between the NMBA and Mr Geoffrey Alan Smithson, that Mr Smithson had behaved in a way that constitutes professional misconduct, after he pleaded guilty to aggravated assault in the Magistrates Court of South Australia.

The tribunal reprimanded Mr Smithson and permanently disqualified him from applying for registration as nurse, and permanently prohibited him from providing any health services in any way related to the practice of nursing.

For more information, please read the news item.

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National Scheme news

Annual report reveals how the NMBA worked to protect the public in 2016/17

The annual report for the NMBA, Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and the National Boards for the year to 30 June 2017 is now available to view online.

The NMBA works in partnership with AHPRA to regulate nurses and midwives across Australia under the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme.

A snapshot of the nursing and midwifery professions in 2016/17:

  • Increased registration year on year: Nurses comprised 56.9% of all health practitioners registered in Australia, and the registrant base continues to gradually grow (to 386,629 registered nurses; up from 376,086 in 2015/16).
  • The number of dual-registered nurses and midwives decreased by 2.6% (from 29,699 to 28,928), while the number of midwife-only registrants increased by 12.2% (from 4,122 to 4,624 midwives).

To find out more about the professions in 2016/17, please view the annual report or read the media release.

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Keep in touch with the NMBA

  • Visit the NMBA website for registration standards, codes, guidelines and FAQ.
  • Lodge an online enquiry form.
  • For registration enquiries, call 1300 419 495 (from within Australia) or +61 3 9275 9009 (for overseas callers).
  • Address mail correspondence to: Associate Professor Lynette Cusack RN, Chair, Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia, GPO Box 9958, Melbourne, VIC 3001.

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Page reviewed 27/11/2023