Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia - July 2013
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July 2013

Issue 5 - July 2013

Photo of the signing of a memorandum; Dr Deborah Rowe, Carolyn Reed, Alyson Smith and Anne Copeland

MoU signing: L-R: Dr Deborah Rowe (newly appointed Chair of NCNZ), Carolyn Reed (CEO/
Registrar, NCNZ), Alyson Smith (Executive Officer, Nursing and Midwifery, AHPRA ) and Anne
Copeland (Chair, National Board).

National Board Chair Anne Copeland (far right – standing) at the signing of a two-year memorandum of understanding between the National Board and the Nursing Council of New Zealand. See story in this newsletter.

A word from the Chair

As it was last year, 2013 is a very busy year for the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (National Board or NMBA). Our new work plan covers the period 1 January 2013 to 30 June 2015, and stays tuned with the National Scheme’s objectives and guiding principles.

These take into account protecting the public, facilitating workforce flexibility and mobility and provision of high quality and innovative education and training.

Our key strategic priorities this year focus on making sure that:

  • National Board professional practice frameworks for nurses and midwives are contemporary, relevant and well understood
  • consistency exists in the application of our registration standards and decision-making
  • there is quality and consistency around our standards, process and decision-making on notifications
  • accreditation of nursing and midwifery programs of study is effective
  • we engage better with our stakeholders, including those bodies relevant to the nursing and midwifery workforce
  • we channel our financial and other resources efficiently, and
  • the health profession agreement between the National Board and AHPRA meets our strategic requirements. This agreement provides for the services that AHPRA offers to enable us to carry out our functions; the fees payable by nurses and midwives; and our annual budget.

The health and safety of the public is at the core of our role. Our aim is to make sure that the Australian community has access to competent and qualified nurses and midwives for safe, high quality care. In May this year, we united with the rest of the world in commemorating the International Day of the Midwife (5 May 2013) and International Nurses Day (12 May 2013).

We also had much pleasure in joining nurses from more than 100 countries, and represented from every region in the world, in a global platform. This was at the International Council of Nurses (ICN) 25th Quadrennial Congress 2013 in Melbourne from 18–23 May 2013. Thank you to all the visitors who came to see us at our exhibition booth.

We were privileged during the ICN Congress to run two National Board conference presentations to the international audience. One presentation focused on the national regulation of nurses and midwives; we discussed the challenges of developing and implementing evidence-based policy within the National Scheme, based upon the objectives and principles of the National Law. The other presentation focused on nurse practitioners; we spoke about our efforts to develop a safety and quality framework for professional practice to guide prescribing practices and scopes of practice.

More on ICN 2013 is covered in this issue.

In our last newsletter, I shared with you that my term as the National Board Chair and Queensland health practitioner member finishes this year on 31 August. Expressions of interest closed at the end of May in an open process to seek applications for a new appointment by the Australian Health Workforce Ministerial Council. The Ministerial Council will appoint the Queensland health practitioner member and the new National Board Chair.

Since the inaugural meeting of the National Board members in September 2009, an astounding amount of work has been achieved by the National Board, the state and territory boards of the NMBA, the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Accreditation Council (ANMAC) and key stakeholders. The goodwill and dedication of all involved has meant that protecting the public has been upheld through several years of significant change.

With my term as Chair of the National Board finishing soon, I would like to extend a personal Thank you to everyone with whom I have worked and who I have encountered, during what has been a unique professional experience.

In particular, I want to thank and acknowledge my fellow National Board members. Together, we shared the responsibility of implementing a National Registration and Accreditation Scheme for nurses, midwives and students in Australia. I am sure our many achievements will serve as a sound platform for national regulation into the future.

On behalf of the National Board, I encourage all nurses, midwives and students to stay abreast of the changes by regularly visiting our website.

Anne Copeland
Chair, Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia

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Registered workforce at a glance

There are 349,945 enrolled nurses, registered nurses and midwives registered with the National Board, according to the March 2013 National Board statistics.

The National Board currently recognises four registration types:

  • general registration
  • limited registration
  • non-practising registration, and
  • student registration.

Of these registered health professionals, 3,437 hold non-practising registration. Registrants with this type of registration can continue to retain their nursing or midwifery title without practicing their profession during the registration period.

The statistical breakdown within the quarterly registration data shows registrants by state and territory, their age and gender by registration type, and endorsement and notations by state and territory.

The nursing and midwifery registrants comprise:

  • 247,136 registered nurses
  • 59,449 enrolled nurses
  • 4,075 registered as both a registered nurse and enrolled nurse
  • 2,629 midwives, and
  • 33,219 people registered as both a midwife and either a registered nurse and/or an enrolled nurse.

Providing data that accurately reflects the number of registered nurses and midwives is one of the important benefits of the National Scheme. It has enormous value for nursing and midwifery workforce planning and helps improve access to health services.

Before the advent of the National Scheme, this data could not easily be collated and reported.

Find more on registration data for nurses and midwives in the About section of the National Board’s website.

Snapshot of practising registered workforce: March 2013

Profession Name Nurses_Div ACT NSW NT QLD SA TAS VIC WA Not stated Grand Total
Nurse Enrolled nurse (EN) 708 13,261 404 11,100 7,789 1,340 19,814 4,989 44 59,449
  Registered nurse (RN) 4,162 69,856 3,006 47,859 20,825 6,278 62,621 26,771 6,118 247,136
  RN & EN 33 890 38 792 414 27 1,514 363 4 4,075
Nurse and Midwife Enrolled nurse (EN) 2 5 3 4   26     40
  Registered nurse (RN) 641 10,347 550 6,610 2,381 667 8,576 3,154 199 33,135
  RN & EN   5         32 7   44
Midwife   66 502 50 431 397 14 839 278 52 2,629
Grand Total   5,612 94,866 4,048 66,795 31,810 8,336 93,062 35,562 6,417 346,508

Snapshot of non-practising registered workforce: March 2013

Profession Name Nurses_Div ACT NSW NT QLD SA TAS VIC WA Not stated Grand Total
Nurse Enrolled nurse (EN) 11 277 3 64 53 18 123 46 595
  Registered nurse (RN) 36 1,185 17 278 146 62 373 188 27 2,312
  RN & EN 5 1 4 1 11
Nurse and Midwife Enrolled nurse (EN)   1     1
  Registered nurse (RN) 4 310 3 51 14 7 49 28 5 471
Midwife   21 1 4 19 2 47
Grand Total   51 1,798 23 395 217 87 569 265 32 3,437

Pilot audit of nurses and midwives

The pilot audit of nurses and midwives is progressing well. With the renewal period for 2013 coming to a close, the audit team at AHPRA is busy working with those nurses and midwives randomly selected for audit to finalise any outstanding items.

Outcomes of this pilot audit will inform the next steps for further developing and refining the audit framework and its subsequent rollout for the National Board as well as all other National Boards.

The following pages on the National Board website contain useful information for nurses, midwives and employers:

For more information

  • For registration enquiries: 1300 419 495 (within Australia) +61 3 8708 9001 (overseas callers)
  • For media enquiries: (03) 8708 9200.

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Common guidelines and policy

In April, the National Board went to public consultation on revisions to the following common guidelines for all National Boards:

  • Guidelines for advertising – recognising the value of providing information through advertising to the public about registered nurses and midwives and the services they provide, but requiring that such advertisement helps the public to make informed choices about health care.
  • Guidelines for mandatory notifications – providing direction to nurses and midwives, employers of nurses and midwives and education providers about the requirements for mandatory notifications to prevent the public from being placed at risk of harm.

Existing guidelines, jointly developed by all National Boards, require review at least every three years. Current Guidelines for advertising of regulated health services for nursing and midwifery are available under Professional practice guidelines on the National Board website.

The consultation that closed on 30 May also covered a proposed social media policy, providing guidance on appropriate use of social media and online behaviour.

The National Board will publish submissions received in response to the consultation on its website.

Review of English language skills registration standard

The National Board’s English language skills registration standard is not due for review until September 2014. However, the National Board is participating in an all-Boards’ review of common, or largely common, registration standards which include the English language skills registration standard and the Criminal history registration standard.

Registration standards, guidelines and codes are scheduled for review at least every three years with wide-ranging consultation involving both a preliminary and public consultation stage.

Preliminary consultation to a small cohort of targeted stakeholders provides the opportunity to road test the proposed content to help identify any operational impacts, issues or concerns prior the document's release for an extended period of public consultation to inform the review.

In participating in this all-Boards’ review, the National Board will take advantage of any new evidence that may arise, and where appropriate, consider modifications to the English language skills registration standard. This may provide additional flexibility without compromising the protective purpose of this standard, consistent with the best available evidence and the outcomes of the all-Boards’ review.

Once preliminary consultation is closed, a public consultation will be available under Current consultations on the National Board website.

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Supplementary news

Photo of Board exhibition booth with David Tenkorang-Twum, Helen Lorna Ngul and Kristy Mutsaers

ICN: National Board exhibition booth. L-R: David Tenkorang-Twum and
Helen Lorna Ngul (international delegates), and Kristy Mutsaers (National
Office, AHPRA).

Photo of Board exhibition booth with Sarah Fagan, Jenny Short and Cathy Smith

ICN: National Board exhibition booth. L-R: Sarah Fagan, Jenny Short and
Cathy Smith (State offices, AHPRA).

Photo of Board exhibition booth with Emma Baldock and Alyson Smith

ICN: National Board exhibition booth. L-R: Emma Baldock (Chair, ACT Board
of NMBA) and Alyson Smith (National Office, AHPRA).

International Council of Nurses 25th Quadrennial Congress 2013

In May 2013, the National Board united with close to four thousand nurses in a global platform at the International Council of Nurses (ICN) 25th Quadrennial Congress 2013 in Melbourne from 18–23 May 2013.

During the ICN congress, the National Board welcomed local and international visitors from more than 100 countries, including Ghana, Brussels, South Africa, Singapore, Denmark, Belgium, United States of America, Jamaica, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom and Portugal to its booth at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. Every region in the world was represented.

National Board members, some members from the state and territory boards of the NMBA and AHPRA staff attended the congress and helped run the booth. Visitors wanted to know more about the registration process, the pilot audit of nurses and midwives, meeting registration standards and much more.

The congress allowed the dissemination of nursing knowledge and leadership across specialities, cultures and countries, featuring keynote speakers, workshops and sessions that presented nurses with the opportunity to discuss current health challenges and professional issues.

The main objectives of the ICN 2013 Congress were to:

  • advance and improve equity and access to health care
  • demonstrate the nursing contribution to the health of individuals, families and communities, and
  • provide opportunities for an in-depth exchange of experience and expertise within and beyond the international nursing community.

The Australian College of Nursing, formerly the Royal College of Nursing Australia and College of Nursing, is the Australian member organisation of ICN and assisted ICN in hosting the congress in Melbourne this year.

ICN is a federation of more than 130 national nurses’ associations representing millions of nurses worldwide, and works to ensure quality nursing care for all and sound health policies globally.

International Nurse Regulator Collaborative forum

Coinciding with ICN 2013 Congress was a one-day International Nurse Regulators Collaborative (INRC) forum that the National Board hosted in Melbourne.

This group includes representatives from nursing regulators in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, United States of America, Singapore and United Kingdom.

In 2011, the National Board signed a two-year memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the nursing and midwifery regulators in these countries. The scope of cooperation is to:

  • seek input of each organisation into agreed cooperative activities
  • exchange information about:
    • key professional and political policy issues
    • planned strategic research or projects
  • develop joint regulatory research projects, and
  • exchange publications.

The May 2013 meeting included a review of the existing two-year MoU and a discussion of collaborative matters such as best regulatory practices and models, research projects and country reports relating to issues affecting nursing and midwifery regulation.

The next meeting is scheduled for November 2013 in Toronto Ottawa, Canada.

Nursing Council of New Zealand signs MoU with National Board

After the ICN 2013 Congress, the National Board had the pleasure of hosting a visit by the Nursing Council of New Zealand. This took place in Melbourne at the National Board meeting on 23 May.

The visit saw the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the National Board and the Nursing Council of New Zealand.

In the spirit of the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Agreement, a non-treaty arrangement between the Commonwealth, state and territory governments of Australia and the Government of New Zealand, the MoU formalises a close collaborative relationship between the two entities.

Areas of collaboration will include:

  • developing standards for regulating nurses
  • exchanging professional knowledge to develop these standards
  • recognising nurses mutually, and
  • enabling flexible movement of nurses between Australia and New Zealand.

Photo of Dr Deborah Rowe and Anne Copeland signing the memorandum of understanding between the National Board and the Nursing Council of New Zealand

MOU signing: L-R: Dr Deborah Rowe (newly appointed Chair of NCNZ) and Anne Copeland
(Chair, National Board).

Giving consumers a voice in regulation

The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) has established a Community Reference Group on behalf of all 14 National Boards in the National Scheme.

The eight-member group comprises a Chair and seven members from the community. The Chair, Mr Paul Laris, is a community member on the Medical Board of Australia (MBA) and the South Australian Board of the MBA.

The group has a number of roles, including providing feedback, information and advice on strategies for building better knowledge in the community about health practitioner regulation, as well as advising AHPRA and the National Boards on how to better understand and meet community needs.

More information on the membership is available in a media release on the AHPRA website.

Notifications information for health professionals: new guides published online

AHPRA has published new guides for health professionals and the community about how notifications are managed in the National Scheme.

The Guide for practitioners and a series of facts sheets explain to healthcare practitioners what happens when AHPRA receives a notification on behalf of a National Board. The information complements the direct correspondence that individuals receive if a notification is made about them.

AHPRA has also produced a guide for the community on making a complaint (or notification) about a health professional.

Both guides are published on the AHPRA website in a wholly revised section on notifications and are accessible via the National Board website. AHPRA collaborated with the professional associations for healthcare practitioners registered in the National Scheme to develop the guide for practitioners.

Focus on policy, projects and initiatives

Between February 2013 and the end of June 2013, the National Board released the following communications on its website. In addition, the National Board releases a communiqué each month on its website to inform everyone of the decisions made at the monthly meeting of the National Board.

June 2013

May 2013

  • Quarterly registration data including information on types of registration held, principal place of practice, endorsements, registrant age and gender.
  • Registrations renewal updates 
  • Recognising nurse and midwives:
  • National Board rebranded documents under Codes and guidelines: the National Board has rebranded a range of former ANMC (now ANMAC) legacy documents that came under National Board ownership with the start of the National Scheme.
    • Code of ethics for nursesrebranded*
    • Code of professional conduct for nursesrebranded*
    • Midwifery competency standards (January 2006) – rebranded*
    • Registered nurse competency standards (January 2006) – rebranded*
    • Decision-making framework – midwifery summary guide (Final 2010) – rebranded*
    • Decision-making framework – nursing summary guide (Final 2010) – rebranded*

March - May 2013

February 2013

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Page reviewed 27/11/2023