Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia - December 2018
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December 2018


Message from the Chair

I would like to thank our outgoing Board members Angela Brannelly, Professor Denise Fassett and Margaret Winn. Angela, Denise and Margaret have all served on the NMBA for three terms (nine years) and their contribution to the work of the National Board has been greatly valued. Over the past nine years, the NMBA has accomplished the successful transition of nursing and midwifery regulation from a state and territory-based system to national regulation. The Board has had many successful achievements but none more important to the professional practice regulatory framework for nurses and midwives than the standards for practice for registered nurses, enrolled nurses and midwives and the codes of conduct for nurses and midwives. Over this time, the NMBA was also instrumental in supporting nurses and midwives to deliver safe care through the establishment of the Nurse & Midwife Support program.

I am happy to introduce your new NMBA members, Catherine Schofield, David Carpenter and Dr Jessa Rogers. You can read more about them in this newsletter.

On 1 December an amendment to the National Heath Practitioner Regulation Law passed, which means the law now officially recognises that nursing and midwifery are two separate professions. The NMBA has always acknowledged that, while the nursing and midwifery professions have elements of practice in common, they are two different and distinct professions. Although this change makes this separation clear in the National Law, all nurses and midwives will continue to be regulated by the NMBA.

On behalf of the NMBA, I'd like to wish you all a safe and happy festive season. This time of year can be busy and stressful professionally and personally, so I encourage you to get in touch with Nurse & Midwife Support if you would like a confidential chat. You can reach a counsellor, who is also a nurse or midwife, 24/7 on 1800 667 877.

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

Associate Professor Lynette Cusack RN

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Call for applications

The NMBA’s state and territory boards are delegated functions by the NMBA to make registration and notification decisions about nurses and midwives.

Applications are now sought from registered nurses, enrolled nurses, midwives and community members to fill multiple practitioner member, community member and chair vacancies arising in the following jurisdictions:

  • New South Wales – 1 practitioner member and chair
  • Queensland – 1 practitioner member and 1 community member
  • Tasmania – 1 practitioner member and chair
  • Victoria – 4 practitioner members and chair

For more information, please see the news item.

NMBA news

Meet your new National Board members

The NMBA would like to thank our outgoing Board members Angela Brannelly, Professor Denise Fassett and Margaret Winn, who have made a significant contribution to the development of the national standards that help to uphold Australians’ trust in their nurses and midwives.

The NMBA welcomes three new Board members: Catherine Schofield, David Carpenter and Dr Jessa Rogers.

David Carpenter

David Carpenter is Tasmanian born and bred and worked as an emergency nurse in Launceston for many years. After a short period as a locum remote area nurse in 2008, David qualified as a midwife and swapped temperate island life for the vast deserts of Central Australia. He has worked as an Alice Springs-based Flight Nurse/Midwife with the Royal Flying Doctor Service since 2011.

‘Having completed a term as a practitioner member of the Northern Territory Board of the NMBA (2015-2018), I am looking forward to working in a more strategic role with the other members of the National Board and our partners in regulation, contributing to the protection of the public and the other workforce-enabling National Scheme objectives,’ David said.

Catherine Schofield

Cat Schofield started her nursing career in the UK. An opportunity to emigrate and come to work in NSW Australia was just too good an opportunity for adventure back in 1986 – thinking she might only stay for a few years, 32 years on sees her happily married and living in Tasmania where she has been for the past 24 years.

Cat’s roles have included managing Tasmania’s first forensic mental health hospital, working with the RACGP educating GPs about domestic violence, and working on one of the first needle exchange programs in Western Sydney. More recently, she was a clinical advisor to the Tasmanian Minister for Health and currently works as the Director of Nursing for Mental Health and Practice Development in the Office of the Chief Nurse and Midwife in Tasmania.

In 2010, when the National Scheme began, Cat was appointed to the Tasmanian Board of the NMBA.

‘My involvement with the National Scheme at the jurisdictional level is one of the highlights of my career and has given me the opportunity to contribute to the development of the nursing profession,’ Cat said.

‘I have no doubt that while the focus of the work will now change as I move onto the National Board, this work will continue. I consider it a great honour to have been appointed to the NMBA and I’m looking forward to the work ahead.’

Dr Jessa Rogers

Dr Jessa Rogers is a Wiradjuri woman from Cootamundra in New South Wales, an education consultant and the NMBA’s newest community member.

Jessa is a teacher and was principal of the Cape York Girl Academy in far north Queensland – Australia’s first boarding school for Indigenous young mums and their babies. Jessa was herself a young Indigenous mum and wanted to contribute to an education model that included parenting and motherhood.

‘Young Indigenous women have care-giving responsibilities that are sometimes outside of Western understandings of motherhood, and these responsibilities can pull girls out of school,’ Jessa said.

‘My PhD looked at Indigenous girls in boarding schools and really made me aware of the ways nursing and midwifery impacts on our lives. I’m looking forward to working on the Board and advancing our work on cultural safety in nursing and midwifery.’

David CarpenterCat SchofieldJessa Rogers
Photos: (left to right) New National Board members David Carpenter, Cat Schofield and Dr Jessa Rogers.

Updates from the September and October 2018 NMBA meetings

With the start of national registration of paramedics on 1 December 2018 and in recognition of the fact that there are nurses and midwives who are also paramedics, the NMBA and the Paramedicine Board of Australia have worked together to develop fact sheets on dual registration for registered nurses and paramedics and dual registration for midwives and paramedics. These were approved by the NMBA in September and October respectively and will be published on the NMBA website.

The Board reviewed the report on the 2017 audit of nurses and midwives and began its 2018 audit. Audits are conducted each year to ensure that the professions are meeting their registration standards.

The Board also approved the revised Re-entry to practice policy (2019), and the transition arrangements for the revised English language skills registration standard (2019).

To see the September and October 2018 decisions on approved programs of study leading to registration and endorsement, please view the communiqué:

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Revised re-entry to practice policy released

The NMBA has released an advance copy of the revised Policy for re-entry to practice for nurses and midwives (2019) and supporting fact sheets.

The Policy for re-entry to practice for nurses and midwives enables a consistent approach to decisions relating to nurses and midwives seeking to re-enter the professions. The revised policy reflects the findings from an evidence-based review, which included consultation with nurses and midwives who had previously engaged with the re-entry to practice process. Consultation also included health services that may have been approached to provide supervised practice, to gain an understanding of any challenges they experience.

The revised policy will come into effect on 11 February 2019.

For more information, please see the news item.

Advance copy of revised English language skills standard released

The NMBA has released an advance copy of the revised English language skills registration standard (2019) which will take effect on 1 March 2019.

The revised standard (2019) clarifies that those applicants who wish to demonstrate (via the extended education pathway) that they meet the English language requirements because they have completed five years (full-time equivalent) of education taught and assessed solely in English in a recognised country, must demonstrate that education over five continuous years.

The requirement for education to be continuous over five years (full-time equivalent) is consistent with requirements across all professions in the National Scheme.

The NMBA has released a transition policy for the revised standard.

For more information, including supporting documents and transition arrangements, please see the news item.

Paramedicine and nursing: dual registration

On 1 December, paramedicine became a regulated profession in the National Scheme.

Registered nurses who are qualified as a paramedic and wish to practise as a paramedic are required to hold dual registration in nursing and paramedicine with the NMBA and the Paramedicine Board of Australia respectively.

For more information, please read the news item.

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Nursing and midwifery regulation at work: notification case studies

The NMBA publishes summaries of tribunal decisions about nurses and midwives, as professional learning case studies for nurses and midwives. All information in these summaries has been made publicly available by the relevant tribunal before the NMBA publishes its summary.

Tribunal suspension highlights need for nurses to report criminal matters

A tribunal has suspended a nurse for four weeks, after she failed to notify the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) of criminal charges and convictions.

For more information, please see the news item.

Tribunal upholds Board's decision to refuse registration

A tribunal has upheld the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia's (NMBA) decision to refuse an application for registration as an enrolled nurse (EN), after the applicant appealed the decision.

Please see the news item.

Tribunal reprimands nurse for professional misconduct

The State Administrative Tribunal of Western Australia has reprimanded a nurse and imposed conditions on her registration after she admitted to professional misconduct concerning misappropriated drugs.

Please see the news item.

Tribunal suspends nurse for professional misconduct

A tribunal has suspended a nurse for professional misconduct concerning inappropriate conduct towards a student and a patient.

Please see the news item.

National Scheme news

AHPRA’s 2017/18 annual report is released

The annual report for AHPRA and the National Boards for the year to 30 June 2018 is now available to view online.

The report provides a nationwide snapshot and highlights our multi-profession approach to risk-based regulation across the work of the National Scheme. Our mission is to make sure that Australians have access to a safe and competent registered health workforce.

Insights from the year include: 

  • More practitioners: There were 23,800 more registered health practitioners, totalling 702,741 health practitioners across the 15 regulated professions. Student registrations increased by almost 4,000 registrants to 161,114.
  • Assuring individuals seeking registration are trained, qualified and competent: Over 740 accredited approved programs of study delivered by over 330 education providers. 
  • Growth in notifications: This year, AHPRA received more notifications than in any other year since the National Scheme began (7,276), an increase of 5.5% nationally (1.6% of all registered health practitioners). The top three notifier complaints related to clinical care (41.0%), medication issues (12.6%) and health impairment (8.9%). 
  • Improved management of notifications about practitioners: While we received more notifications than ever before, we also closed more than ever before during the year (7,105). AHPRA is committed to improving the notification experience for both notifier and practitioner. 
  • Dealing with statutory complaints: This year, we received 416 new offence complaints relating to title and practice protection and 1,043 complaints related to advertising. 
  • Ensuring public safety through monitoring and compliance: 5,005 practitioners had their registration monitored in 2017/18. The majority of active monitoring cases related to additional requirements about suitability and eligibility for registration. 
  • Prosecutions to protect the public: AHPRA completed 13 proceedings in the Magistrates’ and Local Courts. All prosecution resulted in findings of guilt.

‘AHPRA works in close partnership with the National Boards’, AHPRA CEO Martin Fletcher said. ‘Our annual report highlights the joint work we do to regulate health practitioners efficiently and effectively to keep the community safe.’

To view and download the 2017/18 annual report, visit the AHPRA website.

In the coming months, AHPRA and the National Boards will publish profession-specific summaries and these will also be available for download from the AHPRA website.

National Boards support more public information on register

Changes to the national Register of practitioners will make it easier to access public information about health practitioners across Australia.

The online Register of practitioners has accurate, up-to-date information about the registration status of all registered health practitioners in Australia including nurses and midwives. As decisions are made about a practitioner’s registration renewal or disciplinary proceedings, the register is updated to inform the public about the current status of individual practitioners and any restrictions placed upon their practice.

Along with other National Boards, the Board has decided to introduce links to public tribunal decisions when serious allegations have been proven, in the interests of transparency and on the recommendation of the Independent review of the use of chaperones to protect patients in Australia.

No information about the notifications received by the National Boards and AHPRA will be published. The change is simply helping to make already publicly available information easier to find.

Further information is available on AHPRA’s website.

AHPRA and National Boards welcome release of the Accreditation Systems Review final report

AHPRA and the National Boards have welcomed the publication of the Independent Accreditation Systems Review final report.

The Independent Accreditation Systems Review’s (the Review) final report makes significant, far-reaching recommendations to reform the accreditation system for regulated health professions in Australia. It proposes recommendations which range from relatively uncontentious and which the National Scheme bodies generally support, to those which are significantly more complex and contentious.

Health Ministers commissioned the Review following a review of the National Scheme as a whole.

For more information read the statement on the AHPRA website.

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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 8/07/2024