Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia - March 2019
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March 2019


Message from the Chair

Welcome to our first newsletter of 2019.

After an evidence-based review, the Re-entry to practice policy has been updated to make it clearer for applicants and employers. The new English language skills registration standard (2019) is also in effect.

We opened a consultation earlier this month and invite you all to have your say on proposed changes to the definitions relating to advanced practice. You can find out more about these topics below.

This year will see the first independent review of Australian nursing education since 2002, Educating the nurse of the future, undertaken by Emeritus Professor Steven Schwartz AM. We’ll keep you updated throughout the review.

The COAG Health Council met this month and extended the exemption for privately practising midwives from holding professional indemnity insurance until December 2021. You can find out more in the COAG communique.

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

Associate Professor Lynette Cusack RN

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NMBA news

Cultural safety doesn’t mean apologising

The NMBA is aware of untrue statements circulating on social media about cultural safety.

Cultural safety has been embedded in nursing and midwifery education and training for many years and is strongly supported across the professions. It is not a new concept.

Cultural safety is about the person who is providing care reflecting on their own assumptions and culture to work in a genuine partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

Nurses and midwives have always had a responsibility to provide care that contributes to the best possible outcome for the person/woman they are caring for. They need to work in partnership with that person/woman to do so.

The principle of cultural safety in the Code of conduct for nurses and Code of conduct for midwives provides guidance on how to work in a partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. The codes do not require nurses or midwives to declare or apologise for white privilege.

Last year, 30 leading nursing and midwifery organisations came together to support the requirements for cultural safety in the professions’ codes of conduct.

The NMBA encourages nurses and midwives to read the joint statement on cultural safety, as well as the codes of conduct, and share this information with their colleagues.

Together, nurses and midwives are leading the way for safer healthcare.

Have your say: Definition of advanced practice

You’re invited to provide feedback during the NMBA’s public consultation on proposed changes to its definitions relating to advanced practice.

The NMBA currently has two definitions related to advanced practice: advanced nursing practice and advanced practice nurse. These definitions are set out in the Nurse practitioner standards for practice and the Registration standard: Endorsement as a nurse practitioner. The definitions are also found in the Nurse practitioner accreditation standards.

The NMBA is proposing the following changes to the current definitions:

  1. The current definition of advanced nursing practice will be replaced by the proposed definition of advanced practice for use by the NMBA and the nursing profession more broadly, and
  2. The current definition of advanced practice nurse which describes the ongoing requirements of a nurse practitioner will be replaced by a definition of a nurse practitioner.

The focus of this consultation is the proposed definition of advanced practice, as it affects the broader nursing profession.

To have your say, please read the consultation document and respond to the feedback questions on the Consultations section of the NMBA website. The consultation closes on Friday 19 April 2019.

Updates from the November 2018 - February 2019 NMBA meetings

In November, the NMBA met in Perth and took the opportunity to hold an information forum for nurses and midwives at Fiona Stanley Hospital.

On 1 December, changes to the National Law recognised nursing and midwifery as two separate professions.

To see the November, December, January and February decisions on approved programs of study leading to registration and endorsement, please view the communiqués:

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Check the register: Renewal certificates no longer issued

The online register of practitioners is the safest, most up-to-date place for you, your employer and the public to check your registration.

The online register is updated daily and lets the professions, employers and public know if a person is registered and any endorsements or conditions on their registration.

To ensure that the online register is used to check registrations, the NMBA will no longer be issuing paper renewal certificates. If your employer requests one, you can direct them to the online register or you can print a copy of your registration from the AHPRA online services portal (where you renew your registration each year.)

More information will be provided when registration renewal opens next month.

Revised re-entry to practice policy in effect

The NMBA’s revised re-entry to practice policy took effect on 11 February 2019 and aims to make the re-entry process clearer for applicants and employers.

The re-entry policy enables a consistent approach to decisions relating to people who have previously held registration in Australia as a nurse and/or a midwife and are seeking to re-enter the professions.

The revised policy reflects the findings from an evidence-based review, which aimed to improve the approach to re-entry by making the process clearer for applicants and employers while ensuring public safety.

For more information, please read the news item.

English language skills registration standard (2019) in effect

On 1 March, the NMBA English language skills registration standard (2019) took effect. All applicants for general registration as a midwife or a nurse in Australia need to meet this standard.

What’s changed?

The NMBA English language skills registration standard (2019) amends the Extended Education Pathway of the standard. The amendment has been made to clarify the existing requirement to complete at least five years (full-time equivalent) education as continuous education.

The requirement for education to be continuous over five years (full-time equivalent) aligns with the approach across all professions in the National Scheme.

For more information, please see the news item

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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 suspends nurse for seven months for falsifying documents

A tribunal has suspended a nurse’s registration for seven months after she admitted to falsifying documents to try to gain employment.

For more information, please see the news item.

Tribunal disqualifies nurse for 12 months for breaching conditions

The State Administrative Tribunal in Western Australia has reprimanded a nurse and disqualified her from applying for registration for 12 months for breaching conditions on her registration.

Please see the news item.

Tribunal suspends nurse for failing to provide chaperoning for doctor

A tribunal has suspended a nurse for failing to provide agreed chaperoning for a colleague.

Please see the news item.

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National Scheme news

National Boards and AHPRA host research summit

The National Registration and Accreditation Scheme 2019 Research Summit took place on 27 February 2019 at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The summit centred on asking how research can be harnessed to strengthen regulation and enhance patient safety to contribute to improved health outcomes.

Led by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and the National Boards, the all-day Research Summit hosted 17 speakers and drew more than 300 participants from national and state and territory board and committee members, AHPRA staff, co-regulatory bodies, representatives from accreditation authorities and key partners.

With the theme ‘Optimising research for regulatory effectiveness’, the Research Summit explored the National Scheme’s evolving approaches to risk assessment, lessons from research into notifications, and future opportunities to use smart data. At the heart of discussions was asking how we can use data and research to improve regulatory processes and, ultimately, contribute to safer care for patients.

Professor Zubin Austin from the University of Toronto, Canada, was keynote speaker. His stirring keynote address highlighted that competency assessment has emerged as a dominant issue for regulators, educators and employers worldwide; Professor Austin called for more attention to be focused on notions of teamwork, emotional intelligence, and genuine practitioner engagement as important concepts in defining and evaluating competency.

Read more in the media release about the summit.

‘Let’s talk about it’ videos launched

AHPRA has launched a series of new videos to support the public and registered health practitioners as they go through the notification process.

The video series, called ‘Let’s talk about it’, explains what happens when concerns are raised with the regulator, provides easy to follow information about the notifications process and addresses common questions, so consumers and health practitioners know what to expect when they interact with AHPRA and National Boards.

The videos are:

The videos sit alongside other written resources available on our website, see:

You can view the videos on the AHPRA and National Board websites or from their YouTube and Vimeo channel, and join the conversation by following AHPRA on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn: use the hashtag #letstalkaboutit and tag @AHPRA.

Legislative amendments on mandatory reporting and fake practitioners

The Health Practitioner Regulation National Law and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2018 (Qld) (the Bill) has been passed by the Queensland Parliament. The amendments include revisions to the mandatory reporting requirements for treating practitioners and an extension of sanctions for statutory offences.

The changes to the National Law1 intend to support registered practitioners to seek help for a health issue (including mental health issues). They will also increase the penalties (including the introduction of custodial sentences) for some offences under the National Law, including where a person holds themselves out to be a registered health practitioner when they are not.

AHPRA and National Boards will now work to implement these amendments. This will require working closely with professional bodies, employers and state and territory health departments to help spread the message that practitioners should be supported to seek help about their health issues.

The passing of the Bill in Queensland marks the second set of legislative amendments to the National Law since the start of the National Scheme in 2010.

When they take effect, the amendments will apply in all states and territories except Western Australia, where mandatory reporting requirements will not change.

Practitioners can read a news item about the amendments on the AHPRA website or the Bill on the Queensland Legislation website.

1 The Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, as in force in each state and territory (the National Law).

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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 27/11/2023