Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia - June 2019
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June 2019


  • Updates from the April and May 2019 NMBA meetings
  • Registration 
  • Nursing and midwifery regulation at work: notification case studies 
  • National Scheme news  
  • Keep in touch with the NMBA

      Message from the Chair

      Thanks to all of you who have renewed your registration this year. Our communities place their trust in nurses and midwives and registration lets people know that we are competent to meet that trust. If you haven’t yet renewed your registration, you’ll need to do so by the end of June or your registration will lapse and you won’t be able to practise.

      We’ve extended our Decision-making framework for nurses and midwives consultation by one week so please take the opportunity to have your say on this important document. We’ve had very positive feedback so far and look forward to hearing from more nurses and midwives.

      On behalf of the NMBA, I’d like to acknowledge outgoing President of the Nursing and Midwifery Council of NSW, Adjunct Professor John Kelly, for his contribution to the professions, particularly in the area of regulation.

      I’d also like to thank Adjunct Associate Professor Naomi Dobroff for her contribution to regulation as member and Chair of the Victorian Board of the NMBA for over ten years.

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

      Associate Professor Lynette Cusack RN

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      NMBA news

      Interview with retiring CCNMO Debra Thoms: integrity and pragmatism

      This month we spoke with Adjunct Professor Debra Thoms, the retiring Commonwealth Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer (CCNMO).

      Adjunct Professor Thoms was previously the inaugural CEO of the Australian College of Nursing and the Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer with NSW Health. She has also been a clinician in remote and rural Australia, CEO of a rural health service and general manager of the Royal Hospital for Women in Sydney.

      Adjunct Professor Thoms said:

      My role as CCNMO has been a fantastic opportunity. No two days are ever the same. Like in all roles, communication and engagement with a wide range of parties – depending on the issue – is always critical.

      I’m an optimist, I like to see the positives – while there are significant challenges across healthcare and nursing and midwifery, there are also real opportunities for change.

      I think that there’s an enormous opportunity, particularly in terms of primary healthcare, for nurses to be involved in and leading models of care, working within teams and leading those teams. It’s about being prepared to look widely and be open to new ways of doing things, and hopefully coming up with some of those new ways of doing things. Sometimes it involves taking a bit of risk.

      I think for midwifery, the biggest challenge and opportunity is about increasing and improving the availability of access to midwifery continuity of care. We need to work within organisations, with women and with health professionals to build service delivery models that incorporate and support midwifery continuity of care as one of their key ways of offering maternity services.

      I would say to nurses and midwives who are striving to make changes and improvements, be very clear about what you’re trying to achieve, having understood the context in all its aspects and developed your strategy in response to that. Build resilience over time – changes in our professions don’t often happen quickly and we need to be prepared to stay the course.

      If we look at making changes to models of care, such as promoting nurse practitioners to be better utilised, these things take time. Like the work we’ve been doing with the NMBA on RN prescribing – this is a small first step towards what may be a significant change, but it’s not going to happen overnight. We’ve got to be prepared to continue to work at it. Healthcare is very complex and there are lots of players – thinking you can do a big bang massive change is not always going to work.

      I think the key is remaining true to your ideals and retaining integrity, but recognising you need a degree of pragmatism.

      Debra Thoms

      The NMBA would like to thank Adjunct Professor Thoms for her contribution to the professions.

      Queen’s birthday honours for nurses and midwives

      The NMBA would like to congratulate all of the recipients of the Queen’s Birthday 2019 Honours, particularly the nurses and midwives recognised for their service.

      NMBA member Veronica Casey was recognised with an AM for significant service to nursing, education and community health.

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

      Last chance to have your say on the Decision-making framework for nurses and midwives

      The NMBA has extended its consultation on the proposed Decision-making framework for nurses and midwives (DMF) until Monday 24 June 2019, to give more nurses and midwives the chance to have their say.

      The DMF is an important guide to decision-making relating to scope of practice and delegation.

      To have your say, please read the proposed DMF and the consultation document, and respond to the feedback questions via the online survey link on the Consultations section of the NMBA website. The consultation closes on Monday 24 June 2019.

      Updates from the April and May 2019 NMBA meetings

      In April, the NMBA approved the draft proposed Supervised practice framework for public consultation. Consultation is expected to open later this year.

      In May, the NMBA reviewed the revised draft Guidelines for mandatory reporting, which will be released for public consultation later this year.

      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 of the NMBA website.

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      Have you renewed your registration?

      The NMBA would like to thank the nurses and midwives who have renewed their registration on time this year.

      If you have missed the 31 May renewal deadline and you wish to keep practising, you must submit your renewal application by 30 June or risk your registration lapsing. If your registration lapses, you won’t be able to practise as a nurse or midwife.

      Online renewal is the quickest and easiest way to renew your registration and is explained in our short video for nurses and midwives. The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) manages the registration process on behalf of the NMBA, so if you are having trouble renewing please contact AHPRA.

      NMBA no longer publishing formulary for endorsed midwives

      The NMBA will no longer publish a list of medicines for prescribing by midwives with a scheduled medicines endorsement.
      Midwives who hold the endorsement for scheduled medicines are considered by the NMBA to be qualified to: 

      • administer, obtain, possess, prescribe or supply specified schedule 2, 3, 4 and 8 medicines to the extent authorised under the relevant legislation that applies in the state or territory in which they practise
      • use those medicines appropriately for the management of women and infants during the pregnancy, birth and post-natal periods, and
      • apply to Medicare Australia for a Pharmaceutical Benefits Schedule prescriber number.

      More information about the endorsement for scheduled medicines for midwives can be found on the NMBA website.

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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 disqualifies former nurse for four years for criminal behaviour

      A tribunal has reprimanded a former nurse and disqualified him from holding registration for four years after he was convicted of serious criminal offences.

      For more information, please see the news item.

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      National Scheme news

      ANMAC consultation on midwife accreditation standards

      The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Accreditation Council (ANMAC) is reviewing the Midwife accreditation standards (2014). The standards are used to assess and accredit entry-to-practice midwifery programs of study.

      You can have your say in the consultation on the standards by visiting the ANMAC website and completing an online survey by 10 July 2019.

      Practitioners’ responsibility to support public health programs

      Australia’s health regulators have reminded health practitioners about their responsibility to support public health programs, including vaccination.

      Regulators have spoken out to support public safety, given mounting concerns about a five-year high in measles cases and an early spike in flu cases this year.

      AHPRA and the National Boards for 16 professions have urged more than 740,000 registered health practitioners to take seriously their responsibilities for public health, including by helping patients to be protected from preventable illnesses.

      AHPRA CEO Martin Fletcher reminded practitioners that supporting public health programs, including vaccination and immunisation, and not promoting anti-vaccination views were regulatory responsibilities.

      ‘Registered health practitioners have a regulatory responsibility to support patients to understand the evidence-based information available,’ Mr Fletcher said.

      National Boards set codes, standards and guidelines, including about protecting and promoting the health of individuals and the community, which they expect registered health practitioners to meet.

      ‘Practitioners are of course entitled to hold personal beliefs, but they must ensure that they do not contradict or counter public health campaigns, including about the efficacy or safety of public health initiatives,’ he said.

      If practitioners do not comply and meet the professional standards set by their National Board, regulators can and do take action.

      National Boards and AHPRA have taken action to manage risk to the public in response to a number of concerns raised about practitioners (including medical practitioners, nurses and chiropractors) who have advocated against evidence-based vaccination programs. This has included restricting practitioners’ practice pending further investigation, when there was a serious risk to the public.

      Read the media release on the AHPRA website.

      Information Publications Scheme – promoting accessibility of our information

      From 1 June 2019, AHPRA and National Boards are required to comply with the Information Publication Scheme (IPS) established under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth). The IPS promotes openness and transparency and aims to reduce the number of Freedom of Information applications through the proactive publication of information. This requires that certain information and documents be made publicly available.

      AHPRA and National Boards have worked together to implement the IPS and information has been recently published about it 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 25/09/2019