Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia - June 2023
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June 2023


Message from the Chair

I am very proud to announce that earlier this month, the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) and the Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives (CATSINaM) committed to a landmark agreement to improve the quality and safety of contemporary nursing and midwifery practice to further influence culturally safe care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. You can read more about what this agreement means in this issue.

We will also be celebrating NAIDOC week in the first week of July with the theme of ‘For Our Elders’. This week is an opportunity to celebrate and learn about the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. 

I would also like to thank our retiring nurses and midwives who will be leaving the Registers at the end of this month. This will be the last newsletter you will receive and on behalf of the NMBA I thank you most sincerely for your commitment and dedication to the professions of midwifery and or nursing . We wish you all the very best with your future endeavours.

Best wishes,

Adjunct Professor Veronica Casey

Chair, Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia

Veronica Casey   

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NMBA news

‘Strengthening our Commitment’– Launch of the joint CATSINaM and NMBA Partnership Investment Agreement

On 1 June 2023, the Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives (CATSINaM) and the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) committed to a landmark Partnership Investment Agreement (PIA). The aim is to strengthen our commitment to improve the quality and safety of contemporary nursing and midwifery practice to further influence culturally safe care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples including nurses, midwives and students.

The agreement brings together CATSINaM and the NMBA to support the delivery of strategies and recommendations made in the ‘Getting em keeping em and growing em’ (GENKE II) report. This includes addressing systemic racism and enhancing cultural safety, as well as empowering the next generation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurses and midwives, engagement with education pathways and strengthening community.

Read the joint statement.

Introducing two new practitioner members of the NMBA 

We are pleased to welcome two new members: Penelope Marshall (practitioner member) and Theresa Best (community member). 

Woman smiling

Penelope Marshall – practitioner member

I am a midwife and registered nurse (RN) and hold a Master of Medical and Health Law and a Master of Health Administration and Leadership. I am passionate about promoting and providing excellent clinical care and leading sustainable improvements. Recently, I joined BlueCross as Executive General Manager – Clinical Governance, Risks and Innovation after 20 years’ experience in acute, sub-acute and ambulatory care settings across five jurisdictions including tertiary educational, metropolitan, remote and regional hospitals.

I am proud to be a midwife and RN and continue to practise in both professions and am committed to upholding the highest professional standards that ensure the public receive safe, high-quality care. The NMBA has many exciting projects in train; I am excited about the midwifery workforce review, contributing to culturally safe healthcare, minimising the risk of suicide in practitioners, and developing an accurate database of students.

Theresa Best - community member

Theresa Best - community member

I am an experienced non-executive and executive director and have worked in the manufacturing, education, for purpose and sport sectors. I’ve had a career as a marketing, communication and brand specialist, so I have skills in governance, board management, public relations, strategic planning, stakeholder relations and philanthropic and capital fundraising.

I decided I wanted to use the skills and experience I have developed in my commercial career, and as a non-executive director, to make a difference in an organisation whose purpose fits with my passion and interests. I found that the NMBA matched these perfectly. Healthcare is one of the most integral services in any community and optimum service delivery is vital. I experienced varying levels of quality of care when caring for my elderly parents, and for myself as a person with Addison’s Disease, so I am privileged to have the opportunity to work to ensure that our health practitioners can provide every member of any community, even the most remote, with the best quality care and safety.

Midwives and nurses receive King’s Birthday honours

We congratulate all the recipients of the 2023 King’s Birthday Honours, especially nurses and midwives who have been recognised for their service to the professions and their communities.

Woman smiling

In particular, the NMBA would like to congratulate Professor Joanne Gray who was made a member of the General Division of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant service to education, and to the midwifery profession. The Australian College of Midwives President shared how she felt about the award: ‘It was a great honour and very special to be recognised, but my work has always been done together with my amazing midwifery colleagues as a part of a team and I also want to acknowledge and thank them.’

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

Updates from recent NMBA meetings

We will be releasing public consultations in the coming months to support the growth and flexibility of the nursing and midwifery professions. This will include a registration standard for internationally qualified RNs, a review of the Nurse Practitioner endorsement registration standard, and re-entry to practice pathways. Keep an eye out for an invitation to participate. 

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 on our website.

Five women standing behind a podium

Earlier this month midwives, professional bodies and regulators from across the globe met face-to-face at the 33rd International Confederation of Midwives Triennial Congress. The program consisted of collaborative, innovative and interactive sessions led by global health, midwifery and maternal health advocates, scholars and leaders. NMBA representatives met with international regulators to share and learn about their experiences of regulating the midwifery profession. 

Picture: NMBA representatives at the 33rd ICM Triennial Congress 

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Considering a break from practising in your profession? Your registration options

If you’re thinking about taking a break from practising as a nurse or a midwife, there are several registration options you can consider. 

Keep your registration

If you are planning to return to the profession/s, for example after maternity/family leave or a sabbatical, it may be beneficial to keep your general registration with the NMBA. This will make it straightforward to return to practice. You will need to continue to meet the registration standards while you take leave, for example by completing the minimum number of hours of CPD each registration period and ensuring you meet the recency of practice requirement of 450 hours of practice over the previous five years. 

Non-practising registration

While non-practising registration has a lower annual registration fee than general registration, it’s important to note that if you wish to return to practice later you will be required to show you meet all the registration standards, including recency of practice. The process to reapply for general registration will be more involved that simply renewing your registration.

Letting your registration lapse

You can also choose to let your registration lapse during the registration renewal period or to surrender your registration prior to renewal (there is no refund available).

It’s important to note as above, if you reapply for general registration later and can’t meet the Recency of practice registration standard, you will need to meet the requirements of the NMBA re-entry to practice policy.  

Retirement of the Registration standard: Endorsement for scheduled medicines for registered nurses (rural and isolated practice)

In 2015, the NMBA consulted on a proposal to retire the Registration standard: Endorsement for scheduled medicines for registered nurses (rural and isolated practice) (RIP endorsement) and the proposal was broadly supported by stakeholders. Victoria and Queensland were the only two states that required RNs to hold the endorsement. Alternative regulatory mechanisms for RNs to obtain, supply and administer schedule 2, 3, 4 and 8 medicines in rural and isolated practice settings without the endorsement have been finalised by those two states. 

As the RIP endorsement is no longer required for RNs to obtain, supply and administer these medicines in rural and isolated practice settings in any Australian state or territory, the NMBA wrote to Health Ministers requesting approval for the registration standard to be retired. We recently received approval from Health Ministers to retire the registration standard. This means that RNs no longer need to hold an endorsement to supply scheduled medicines, although they do need to work within their state and territory legislation and workplace requirements.

These changes ensure that the current model of care enabled by the RIP endorsement can continue without the need for regulation by the NMBA. Importantly, we do not set standards for education or endorse the registration of RNs in specialised areas of nursing practice. 

We will soon write to all RNs with the endorsement to let them know what this change means for them and include information on our website to explain the change.

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Have your say

Have your say on the impacts of designated registered nurse prescribing

The NMBA has developed a consultation regulation impact statement (C-RIS) that considers several options and potential impacts for a proposed model of designated registered nurse (RN) prescribing. 

The proposed prescribing model will enable RNs with an endorsement for scheduled medicines to prescribe within their level of competence and scope of practice, in partnership with an authorised prescriber such as a medical practitioner or a nurse practitioner.

The proposed registration standard and associated guidelines are included in the RIS for context. However, we have already widely consulted on the standard and guidelines and these were broadly supported. Therefore the NMBA is not consulting on the concept of designated RN prescribing or the content of the registration standard or the associated guidelines. 

Read about what a RIS is and how you can have your say on what the social, economic and environmental impacts of the proposed options for designated RN prescribing could be

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Public protection is the focus of new National Law reforms

Public protection is at the forefront in the latest round of reforms to the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law.

The changes started on 15 May, in all states and territories except Western Australia (where the changes will come into effect later).

Better protecting the public from serious risk

One significant change gives Ahpra and the National Boards a new power to issue a public statement to warn the public about a serious risk from an individual – either a registered health practitioner or a person who does not hold registration but is providing a health service. Issuing a public statement means we can warn the public about a serious risk at an early stage, while we continue to investigate. There is a high threshold that must be met to use the power, which we anticipate using sparingly and only in exceptional cases to better protect the public. 

Read more on the public statements warnings page.

Improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the National Scheme

Other changes will help us improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the National Scheme and help create a fairer system. These changes include:

  • an update to our complaints process which introduces the ability to compel practitioners to provide information at an earlier point in the assessment process. This will mean we can deal with complaints more efficiently and improve the experience for both the notifier and the practitioner
  • more suitable options for National Boards to respond to practitioners who continue to practise after their registration has lapsed, and
  • improved information-sharing abilities for National Boards with relevant parties such as registered practitioners’ former employers, when necessary to alert them to potential harm to the public.

More information

Some of the changes do not apply in NSW, because of differences in how concerns are managed in that state. For example, the power to issue a public statement and the power to require information at an earlier point in the assessment process are already held by the Health Care Complaints Commission. Read more about the NSW regulators.

The changes are the latest in a wide range of reforms outlined in the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2022, which came into law last October.

For more information, read the news item and the resources on the National Law amendments page on the Ahpra website.

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Nursing and midwifery regulation at work: notification case studies

Relationship with a patient sees enrolled nurse’s registration cancelled

A tribunal has cancelled an enrolled nurse’s registration after he engaged in an inappropriate relationship with a vulnerable patient. 

Content warning: Some readers may find this article distressing. If you are experiencing distress, please visit the NM Support website or contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 for help.

Read more

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Read the National Scheme news


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Keep in touch with the NMBA

  • Visit the NMBA website for registration standards, codes, guidelines and FAQs.
  • Lodge an online enquiry form.
  • For registration enquiries, call 1300 419 495 (from within Australia) or +61 3 9285 3010 (for overseas callers).
  • Address mail correspondence to: Adjunct Professor Veronica Casey AM, Chair, Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia, GPO Box 9958, Melbourne, VIC 3001.

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Page reviewed 27/11/2023