Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia - March 2016
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March 2016

Issue 15 - March 2016

Message from the Chair

On behalf of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA), I would like to welcome you to our first newsletter for 2016. In our last newsletter I reflected on the achievements of the NMBA in 2015. We have started 2016 with a number of initiatives that we aim to achieve this year. Two key initiatives are the establishment of a national health support service for nurses and midwives and the development of an outcome-based model of assessment for internationally qualified nurses and midwives.

With the implementation of revised registration standards, standards for practice and guidelines for nurses and midwives starting in June 2016 the NMBA is holding stakeholder information forums in each state and territory, and we are looking forward to meeting many of you at these forums.

I encourage you to continue to engage with us through our consultations, forums and by providing feedback to us on our newsletters. Your contributions help us to ensure that we are protecting the public through effective regulation of nurses and midwives.

Dr Lynette Cusack RN
Chair, Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia

Dr Lynette Cusack RN

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Call for applications for Tasmanian Board of the NMBA

We are seeking applications from registered nurses and midwives who live in Tasmania to fill a vacancy on the the Tasmanian Board of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia.

Tasmanian Board appointments are made by the Tasmanian Minister for Health under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, as in force in each state and territory (the National Law). Appointments are for up to three years, with eligibility for reappointment. It is expected that anyone who is successful will start their appointment from mid-2016.

A candidate information pack including an application form is available via the news item.

If you wish to make further enquiries, please email

Applications close on Monday 4 April 2016.

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Renew your registration by 31 May

It’s that time of year again as over 370,000 nurses and midwives across Australia get ready to renew their registration with the NMBA.

The Board is kicking off its 2016 renewal campaign in late March and is reminding all nurses and midwives that they are due to renew their general or non-practising registration by 31 May 2016.

During 2014/15, 97.5 per cent nurses and midwives renewed online. This rate of online renewal is remarkable considering in 2010 at the launch of this national online service the rate for nursing and midwifery was closer to 54 per cent.

Look out for renewal reminders from the NMBA and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) from late March.

Hot tip! It is important that you read the online renewal mandatory disclosure questions carefully as they may have changed since the last time you renewed your registration.

Renewing online is the best way to renew your registration – it’s quick and easy

Accessing online renewal is as easy as 1, 2, 3.

  1. Go to online services.
  2. Enter your AHPRA User ID: <UserID>
  3. Enter your date of birth and password.

Need to reset your password? Go to the reset your password page to reset your password and get a new one emailed within 15 minutes.

A series of email and hard copy reminders will be sent to nurses and midwives throughout the renewal campaign. Make sure your email contact details as held by AHPRA are up to date so you don’t miss them. To update your contact details use AHPRA’s secure online services for health practitioners.

If you do not renew your registration by 31 May, or within the following one-month late period, your registration will lapse. Your name will be removed from the national registers and you will not be able to practise without making a new application for registration.

For more information, check out our helpful tips, renewal fact sheet and video under Registration and endorsement.

Renewing your registration – definition of practice and meeting your registration requirements

It is also important to consider the NMBA definition of practice and registration requirements when renewing your registration. We have provided some useful information below so take a look!

Definition of practice: Practice means any role, whether remunerated or not, in which the individual uses their skills and knowledge as a nurse or midwife. For the purposes of registration standards, practice is not restricted to the provision of direct clinical care. It also includes working in a direct nonclinical relationship with clients, working in management, administration, education, research, advisory, regulatory or policy development roles, and any other roles that impact on safe, effective delivery of services in the profession and/or use their professional skills.

Meeting registration requirements: We remind you to carefully read the NMBA’s requirements for registration renewal. Make sure you understand the declarations you must make regarding mandatory registration standards. Giving false or misleading information is grounds for the Board to refuse registration. The registration standards are published on our website.

Keep a look out! The Board will publish its next quarterly data update soon. For previous updates on the registered workforce, visit the Statistics page on our website.

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Renewal of registration explained in video for nurses and midwives

A video explaining the renewal of registration process for nurses and midwives is now available.

NMBA Chair, Dr Lynette Cusack RN, said the video explained the renewal process and she urged, in particular, nurses and midwives who are soon to renew their registration for the first time to watch it.
‘The video clearly describes how quick and easy online renewal is,’ she said.

‘In less than four minutes the video explains how to access online renewal, what you must declare about your previous 12 months’ practice, how to pay the registration fee and what happens next.’

Dr Cusack welcomed feedback about the video via email to

‘The video is an engaging way for nurses and midwives who are unfamiliar with online renewal, or who lack the confidence to renew online, to learn more about the process.’

The video is available on the NMBA’s Registration renewal page. It can also be watched on AHPRA’s YouTube channel.

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Revised registration standards, standards for practice and guidelines published for nurses and midwives

Revised registration standards, standards for practice and guidelines were published on 1 February 2016. The NMBA released the revised registration standards for continuing professional development (CPD), recency of practice, professional indemnity insurance (PII) arrangements, endorsement as a nurse practitioner, endorsement for scheduled medicines for midwives, the Safety and quality guidelines for privately practising midwives and the Registered nurse standards for practice to give enrolled nurses, registered nurses, midwives, employers and the public time to understand the updated requirements set by the Board.

What’s changed

Registration standard: Continuing professional development

  • Clarity has been provided about the requirement for nurses and midwives who are registered but not working, to complete CPD.
  • The requirement for midwives with an endorsement for scheduled medicines to complete an additional 20 hours of CPD has been revised to 10 hours of additional CPD, related to prescribing and ordering of diagnostics.

Registration standard: Recency of practice

  • Inclusion of information for nurses and midwives who work in non-clinical practice.
  • Clarity has been provided about recency of practice requirements for nurses and midwives with an endorsement.

Registration standard: Professional indemnity insurance arrangements

  • Inclusion of automatic reinstatement.
  • The definition of ‘run-off cover’ has been amended for clarity.

Registration standard: Endorsement as a nurse practitioner

  • Nurse practitioners are required to demonstrate recency of practice at the advanced practice nursing level to retain the endorsement (please refer to the Registration Standard for the definition of advanced practice nursing).
  • The definition of ‘Program that is substantially equivalent’ has been amended for clarity.

Registration standard: Endorsement for scheduled medicines for midwives

  • Combines and replaces the two current registration standards - Registration standard for endorsement for scheduled medicines for midwives and Eligible midwife registration standard.
  • Changes in the use of the term ‘eligible midwife’.
  • Transition from the current two-step (notation) process for endorsement for scheduled medicines to a one-step process.

Safety and quality guidelines for privately practising midwives

  • Replaces the current Safety and quality framework for privately practising midwives attending homebirths.
  • Supports regulatory accountability for safe and professional private midwifery practice for exemption from the PII requirements under the National Law.

Standards for practice

The new Registered nurse standards for practice will replace the current National competency standards for the registered nurse.

The Registered nurse standards for practice were developed following extensive consultation and validation. They reflect current nursing practice in all contexts and are applicable to registered nurses across all areas of practice and should be read in conjunction with the applicable companion documents such as the standards, codes and guidelines. The Registered nurse standards for practice consist of seven standards that are all interconnected. There is an accompanying fact sheet that provides more information about the standards.

Key dates

  • Effective date for continuing professional development (CPD), recency of practice, professional indemnity insurance (PII) arrangements, endorsement as a nurse practitioner registration standards and the Registered nurse standards for practice - 1 June 2016.
  • Effective date for Registration standard: Endorsement for scheduled medicines for midwives and Safety and quality guidelines for privately practising midwives - 1 January 2017.

The revised registration standards will replace the registration standards that are currently in place. All nurses and midwives will need to meet the obligations of the revised registration standards by the next registration renewal period in May 2017. They do not apply to renewals of registration in 2016.

More information regarding the changes to registration standards, standards for practice and guidelines can be found in the nursing and/or midwifery news items.

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Nursing and midwifery regulation at work: notification case studies

‘Fake nurse’ ordered to carry out community service

A Victorian woman has pleaded guilty to falsely claiming to hold registration as a nurse.

Ms Artika Chand pleaded guilty to two charges filed by AHPRA in the Werribee Magistrates’ Court, namely that she had misused the protected title of 'enrolled nurse’ and falsely claimed to be, or held herself out as being, a registered health practitioner, in relation to her employment at an aged care facility in Werribee, Victoria.

The court found Ms Chand guilty but sentenced her without a conviction due to her personal circumstances. Ms Chand was placed on a community corrections order requiring her to complete 200 hours of community service over a period of 24 months and ordered to pay costs of $6,500.

For more information on title protection, practice protections and advertising read the media release.

Tribunal reprimands nurse and imposed conditions on their registration

A tribunal has reprimanded a nurse and imposed conditions on their registration requiring them to undertake further education and training, and meet additional supervision requirements.

The NMBA referred the nurse to the State Administrative Tribunal of Western Australia, alleging that in 2013 and 2014 they failed to practise the nursing profession in a safe and competent manner and may have placed patients under their care at risk of harm, by:

  • failing to follow orders from senior staff on several occasions
  • administering medication to a patient when she was not competent to do so
  • failing to record observations when she was required to do so, and
  • withholding medication from a patient without proper consultation or an appropriate medical order.

The nurse admitted – and the tribunal found that the nurse had – engaged in professional misconduct and unsatisfactory professional performance. The tribunal reprimanded them and imposed conditions on their registration requiring they undertake additional education and training about the scope of practice for an enrolled nurse, communicating with colleagues, administering medication, and undertaking physical assessments.

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Internationally qualified nurses and midwives (IQNM) project update

In late 2014 the NMBA funded a project to explore an outcomes-based assessment model for determining competence to practise for all IQNMs. A part of this project is the development of assessment frameworks for each profession. The midwife assessment framework is being developed for the Board to assess the competence of internationally qualified midwives who apply to be registered to practise in Australia. The framework reflects the day-to-day work and expected practice of entry-level registered midwives in Australia.

At the beginning of 2016, the Board invited midwives to have their say on the draft assessment framework through an online survey. The survey closed to responses on 20 March and the Board would like to thank everyone who took the time to respond and provide input. The NMBA will be surveying enrolled nurses in the coming months as part of its outcome-based assessment work.

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Consultation update

Registration standard for scheduled medicine endorsement for scheduled medicines – rural and isolated practice

The public consultation on the review of the Registration standard: Endorsement for scheduled medicines (rural and isolated practice) closed on 22 February. This standard allows nurses with this endorsement to supply scheduled medicines under protocol. The consultation is part of the NMBA’s review of the ongoing need for the standard. We will communicate the outcomes from this review and would like to thank everyone who took the time to make a submission.

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Other NMBA news

Requests for tender – update

  • National health support service for nurses and midwives
  • Development of the midwife standards for practice

The tenders for both these projects have closed; we will communicate the outcomes from these tenders in the coming months.

Have your say: NMBA stakeholder information forums

As part of its engagement activities with nurses and midwives the NMBA is hosting stakeholder information forums across Australia during 2016. These forums provide an opportunity for nurses and midwives to learn more about the changes to the NMBA’s registration standards, standards for practice and guidelines that will come into effect on 1 June 2016.

The first two forums were held at Cairns Hospital and Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane which drew a great crowd. Thank you to all the nurses and midwives who attended.

NMBA stakeholder forum

Photo: NMBA information forum held at Princess Alexandra Hospital on Thursday 17 March 2016.

The NMBA has scheduled the following events to take place during the first half of 2016. If you are a nurse or a midwife with a principal place of practice close to the locations below, we will email you an invitation with further details closer to the date.

Date Location Venue
4 April Ballarat Ballarat Health Service
13 April Bunbury St John of God Hospital Bunbury
14 and 15 April   Perth Fiona Stanley Hospital  
27 April   Melbourne   Royal Melbourne Hospital 
9 May  Dubbo   Dubbo Hospital 
10 May  Sydney   Royal Prince Alfred Hospital 
 25 May Darwin   Royal Darwin Hospital 

More events are planned across Australia for the second half of 2016 – further details will be provided once the dates and venues are confirmed.

More information regarding the changes to registration standards, standards for practice and guidelines can be found in the nursing and/or midwifery news items.

A conversation with National Board member Annette Symes

Annette Symes

Ms Annette Symes is a new practitioner board member from New South Wales. Annette was appointed on 31 August 2015, for a period of three years.

Annette is a registered nurse and Executive Director, Nursing and Midwifery for Northern NSW Local Health District (NNSW LHD), where she is currently Acting Chief Executive. In this role Annette is responsible for advice to the Chief Executive to enable the LHD to maintain an appropriately qualified and competent nursing and midwifery workforce to provide services to the community.

On becoming a national Board member she said, ‘I am delighted to be able to share my passion for nursing and midwifery through the work we are doing as a National Board. Working as a new member of the Board is a learning experience. It allows me to recognise the incredible level of policy detail, time and patience, academic rigour and consultation that is part of every guideline, standard or advisory that the NMBA creates. It is a privilege to be part of it.’

Referring to this challenge she added, ‘It is important that nurses and midwives know who the NMBA are and what we do. Part of this is strengthening the recognition of the Board’s identity and part of it is connecting with nurses and midwives on an individual level. However, this is a two-way responsibility, nurses and midwives need to inform themselves and be aware of the work of the Board.’

She continued, ‘In reality many nurses and midwives do not connect their legislative responsibilities with the work we are doing. This is an area where I can see real potential as we kick off a year full of stakeholder engagement with information forums around Australia. Lynette as Chair has been a great leader and advocate for the Board to get out to the frontline and speak directly to nurses and midwives and we appreciate all the participant discussions and debate in helping inform our decisions.’

If I could say one thing to the nursing and midwifery workforce it would be, ‘you need to know about the Board you are registered with and how the NMBA regulates the professions’ of nursing and midwifery, the codes and standards that they endorse and your responsibility under the National Law’.

‘I also think it is important to recognise the commitment, hard work and dedication of nurses and midwives across Australia. On a whole the professions have risen to the challenges set out by the Board and AHPRA. Nurses and midwives are excellent at multidisciplinary teamwork and I feel that as a Board we should challenge ourselves this year to consider how we will extend our cross-profession and cross-board work to support all registered healthcare professionals. This could also help us become more efficient and effective regulators.’

To view Annette’s profile in full please see the news item.

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National Scheme news

New video outlines objectives and role of the National Scheme

A new video (and an accompanying infographic) explaining the Australia-wide scheme that is in place to protect members of the public has recently been launched by AHPRA.

Aimed mainly at the community, the video outlines how AHPRA, working in partnership with the 14 National Boards, helps regulate Australia’s 630,000-plus registered health practitioners through a national scheme.

The video explains how the National Scheme works and how patients are protected.

Both resources are available on the What we do page of the AHPRA website. The video can also be watched on AHPRA’s YouTube channel.

Employer obligations: new awareness campaign

AHPRA has published a news item that outlines employers’ obligations, and has ads running on LinkedIn and Facebook. This is the first step in the campaign, with many more activities to follow, including direct mail, paid print advertising, and in-language advertising (for the public campaign).

The campaign will be rolled out in stages and has three target audiences and objectives:

  1. Employers – check the register before employing someone, keep up to date with changes to registrations, make mandatory reports when required.
  2. Practitioners – know your obligations as a registered health practitioner.
  3. Public – check to see if your practitioner is registered.

State and territory summaries now available – annual report 2014/15

State and territory summaries of the annual report are now available on the AHPRA website. The summaries provide a view of national data about our work to keep the public safe through a state or territory lens. We provide national comparisons to show how the state or territory compares with the national average and where possible, we provide two years of data, to identify and track trends over time.

More comprehensive data are in the 2014/15 annual report of AHPRA and the National Boards which was published in November 2015. The annual report also includes more detailed profession-specific information.

In the next month, the 14 National Boards will publish individual profession profiles on the AHPRA website, with links on their own websites. Keep an eye out for the nursing and midwifery profession profile on the NMBA website.

Dangers of button battery ingestion

From time to time the National Boards are asked to publicise important public health messages for health practitioners.

The Queensland Coroner’s recent report into the death of a four-year-old girl, who died after swallowing a two-centimetre button battery, has highlighted the need for health practitioners to be aware of the dangers these products present to patients if ingested, and to be better equipped to handle suspected cases.

When swallowed, lithium button batteries (also known as ‘disc batteries’) can become lodged in the oesophagus and the residual charge can cause electrolysis. This burns through tissue causing severe, irreversible damage.

Recognising battery ingestion can be difficult if the ingestion is not witnessed, as the child may present with non-specific symptoms such as poor feeding, irritability, fever, vomiting, drooling or cough. The ingestion of disc batteries requires urgent intervention.

Further information is available from the ACCC or advice can be obtained by ringing the Poisons Information Centre in Australia on 13 11 26.

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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: Dr Lynette Cusack RN, Chair, Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia, GPO Box 9958, Melbourne, VIC 3001.

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Page reviewed 27/11/2023