Issue 9, July 2014
I am delighted to write to you as the newly appointed Chair of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (National Board or NMBA).
It is an honour to have this responsibility. I would like to reinforce my commitment to strengthening the relationships between the National Board and our stakeholders. I look forward to working with you on nursing and midwifery regulation, education and workforce matters.
I am pleased to confirm that we have a number of improvement initiatives for 2014/15 that focus on fostering stakeholder relationships, improving and strengthening the National Scheme and driving operational excellence.
Let me take this opportunity to congratulate Adjunct A/ Prof Veronica Casey on her appointment to the National Board as the new health practitioner member for Queensland from 6 May 2014, for a period of three years to 1 May 2017.
Adjunct A/Prof Casey is a registered nurse and midwife, and a fellow of the Australian College of Nursing. She is also one of the practitioner members of the Queensland Board of the NMBA. She brings invaluable experience, including regulatory experience gained as a state board member, to her role with the National Board. Please join us in welcoming Adjunct A/Prof Casey.
Visit the Board member page on our website to see the profiles of our National Board members.
I am pleased to announce the appointment of a new Executive Officer for the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia. Ms Tanya Vogt took up her position as Executive Officer in June 2014.
In this role, Ms Vogt will support and guide the National Board in matters of policy, governance, regulation, standards development and accreditation. She will also facilitate cross-professional collaboration, maintain National Board stakeholder relationships and contribute to our work in the National Scheme. Ms Vogt brings to her role a strong background in health and regulation.
We also take this chance to farewell Ms Alyson Smith, former Executive Officer, and thank her for her guidance and support over the past three years. We especially acknowledge her contribution to developing the work of the National Board during that time and wish her all the best in her new role as Program Coordinator within AHPRA.
On behalf of the National Board, I would like to congratulate Dr Rosemary Bryant, Commonwealth Chief Nurse and Midwifery Officer, for recognition of her work in the Queen’s Birthday honours list this year.
Dr Bryant was honoured as an Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to the profession of nursing through national and international leadership, and as a supporter of access and equity in healthcare.
In her nursing and midwifery position within the Commonwealth government, Dr Bryant represents an important stakeholder in the work of the National Board.
Annual registration for nurses and midwives took off to a strong start this year and reached an important milestone at the end of May when registration renewal was due.
By the close of the late payment period for renewals on 30 June, about 346,400 nurses and midwives had renewed registration. Of those who applied to renew registration, 97 per cent did so online. This is remarkable progress over the four years since we started the renewal process at the start of the National Scheme in 2010.
We are now in the fast track period that only runs in July.
A number of you may already be aware that we introduced in February 2014 a different model for assessing applications for registration from internationally qualified nurses and midwives. This change is to make sure that overseas-trained nurses and midwives are qualified to provide safe care to patients in Australia. Read more about internationally qualified nurses and midwives.
The three-year review of the National Scheme is well underway following the public release of the terms of reference on 28 April 2014. Read more about the review of the National Scheme.
This year, the National Board held stakeholder forums in Sydney (February) and Darwin (May). Participants included nursing and midwifery professional associations, education providers, employers, and nurses and midwives. The forums provide a networking opportunity, bringing us closer to our stakeholders. Read more about the stakeholder forums.
On behalf of the National Board, I encourage all nurses, midwives and students to stay abreast of the changes that are happening and to engage in our public consultations on new and revised registration standards, codes or guidelines by regularly visiting our website.
Dr Lynette Cusack RN
Chair, Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia
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In order to practice in Australia, nurses and midwives must first register with the National Board. Annual registration is due by 31 May.
Registration renewal reached an important milestone at the end of May with close to 340,000 nurses and midwives renewing their registration at an online renewal rate of 97 per cent.
By 30 June, the end of the late payment period and when renewals for nursing and midwifery came to an end, registration numbers had jumped to 346, 400. A further one per cent of eligible registrants were being assessed, another one per cent advised they were not renewing and the remaining two per cent had lapsed registration.
Each annual renewal is a process we seek to learn from. Our work continues in finding opportunities for refinement. We are pleased to see the uptake of online renewal. Renewing online is quick, easy and convenient. If you meet registration criteria and have made correct declarations, it can take as little as six minutes from when you click submit to get renewal confirmation.
Remember, if you:
If your registration lapsed on 1 July 2014, this means you are now removed from the national register. If you wish to keep practising, you have a chance to submit a fast track application. This offer is only available for the month of July.
Visit Renewal of registration on our website for a fast track application form.
A fast track application fee is payable in addition to a registration fee.
If submitting a fast track application, you cannot practise until your application is processed and your registration details are updated on the national register.
We shared with you in our November 2013 newsletter that the National Board and AHPRA were developing a nationally consistent approach to auditing.
Annual audits check compliance with registration standards and help us protect the public.
Below are results of an initial random sample of nurses and midwives audited to check their compliance against the recency of practice and continuing professional development registration standards. The audit ran from May to November 2013, and revealed the following outcomes:
This is a positive result with a good majority of the random sample showing compliance with registration standards.
The National Board is exploring opportunities and strategies to improve the compliance of nurses and midwives with registration standards.
More information about the audit is available under Audit on our website.
A public audit report is now available on the AHPRA website – see Audit > Practitioner audit - phase 3.
The National Board has introduced a different model for assessing the qualifications of international nurses and midwives. The aim of this model is to make sure that overseas-trained nurses and midwives seeking registration in Australia hold qualifications that meet Australian standards.
The new model is consistent with the requirements of the National Law and applies a set of clear educational standards all international applicants for registration need to meet, regardless of where they undertook study.
This model comes after:
The model includes eight criteria against which the National Board assesses qualifications. The criteria establish whether an international qualification is substantially equivalent to a Board-approved Australian nursing or midwifery qualification for registration.
Where a qualification leading to registration is not assessed as equivalent to an Australian qualification, the National Board may take into account relevant subsequent nursing and midwifery qualifications that may allow the applicant to meet all requirements.
Find out more about the assessment model on our website.
We recognise that assessment and comparison of international qualifications are constantly evolving, and we continue to benchmark this assessment model against international trends.
See also the following useful information:
The June 2014 report of the registered workforce will shortly be available on our website.
According to the March 2014 National Board statistics, there are 1,058 nurse practitioners registered to practice in Australia. In total, there are 360,505 enrolled nurses, registered nurses and midwives registered with the National Board.
Table for practising nurse and midwife
Table for non-practising nurse and midwife
The National Board currently recognises four registration types:
Of these registered health professionals, 5,074 hold non-practising registration. Registrants with this type of registration can continue to retain their nursing or midwifery title without practising 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:
Providing data that accurately reflects the number of registered nurses and midwives is one of the important benefits of the National Scheme. These statistics bring enormous value to nursing and midwifery workforce planning and help 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 > Statistics section of the National Board’s website.
We believe it is essential to continue protecting the public and keeping our patients safe. These are objectives of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (National Scheme). In addition, the National Scheme aims to enable a flexible Australian health workforce and facilitate:
In March 2008, when Commonwealth and state and territory governments signed the agreement that underpins the National Scheme, they also agreed to a review after three years of operation.
The review of the National Scheme will look at whether the scheme is meeting the objectives set out in the National Law; it will also consider benefits and costs. The Australian Health Ministers' Advisory Council (Ministerial Council) has now published the terms of reference for the review.
Former director of WA Health Kim Snowball is the person appointed to independently lead the review. Kim has held a variety of senior leadership roles in both the public and private health sectors, and was previously director general of WA Health. Kim has also served as chair of the Ministerial Council.
The independent review offers us an opportunity to see what is working well, and find ways to strengthen our work in keeping the public safe.
This year the National Board held a stakeholder forum in Sydney (February) and in Darwin (May). Participants included nursing and midwifery professional associations, education providers, employers, and nurses and midwives.
The purpose of the forums is to enable:
The forums provide networking opportunities, allowing members of the National Board and AHPRA to engage with stakeholders.
In addition to a question and answer session, topics covered include:
The National Board participated this year in the Australian College of Nursing (ACN) Nursing and Health Expos 2013 (ACN expos) held in Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia and New South Wales.
Established in 1999, the ACN expos are the only event in Australia specifically dedicated to enhancing the profile of nursing as a profession.
By showcasing a wide range of health service providers, education providers, recruitment agencies, specialty nursing groups, health products and services, ACN expos help promote recruitment and retention within the nursing workforce.
The National Board hosted exhibitions at each event, in order to:
The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia, together with the other National Boards, has acted on the feedback received in relation to the Guidelines for advertising regulated health services (Advertising guidelines) released in March 2014.
An updated version effective from 20 May is now available on our website.
Anyone who advertises a regulated health service must meet the requirements of the National Law. This includes registered nurses, midwives, other health professionals, individuals who are not health professionals and businesses.
The updated Advertising guidelines clarify that:
Thank you to everyone who provided feedback on the guidelines.
On 1 July 2014 a new law came into effect in Queensland: the Health Ombudsman Act 2013.
If you now wish to make a complaint about a registered nurse, a midwife, an enrolled nurse or a student of nursing or midwifery, then you should make it directly to the Office of the Health Ombudsman (OHO).
The OHO will either:
If you raised a complaint with AHPRA or the National Boards before 1 July 2014, AHPRA will generally continue to manage the complaint on behalf of the respective National Board.
However, under the new law the OHO may request that the matter be referred to them to be managed. If this were to happen, AHPRA will inform both the notifier and the health professional who is the subject of the notification.
For information about the Office of the Health Ombudsman, please go to the Office of the Health Ombudsman is Queensland website or call 133 646 (133 OHO).
To find out more about how notifications/complaints are managed nationally, please go to the What is a notification? page on the AHPRA website.
From time to time the National Board and AHPRA receive requests for access to the data we hold on registered health practitioners, or access to send them communications through our database.
While you may need to target a sample of nurses or midwives for research purposes, AHPRA holds registrant details for the primary purpose of administering the National Scheme. The Privacy Act 1988 (Cwlth) strictly limits the use of this information for secondary purposes. How we collect, use, disclose and protect personal information is important. See the Privacy page on the AHPRA website.
This means that we are likely to refuse your request to contact practitioners.
To find out what kind of requests you can make, timelines and who to contact, visit Data access and research on the AHPRA website.