Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia - March 2022

March 2022

Contents


Message from the Chair

Welcome to student nurses and midwives who may be receiving this newsletter for the first time. You are a valued part of the professions and will find important professional guidance in this regular newsletter. 

Last week we recognised National Closing the Gap Day. Nurses and midwives play a crucial role in providing culturally safe care and it is a requirement of the codes of conduct. I would also like to acknowledge the great work of the Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives (CATSINaM) on the release of a new Cultural Safety and Cultural Humility education program for nurses and midwives. You can read more on this program below.

With the COVID-19 pandemic ongoing in our communities, the NMBA knows that nurses and midwives may be anxious about being asked to practise outside of their usual context of practice. I want to reassure you that any registration or notification issue brought to the NMBA will be considered in the context of practising in these circumstances. You can read more about our COVID-19 response in this newsletter. Nurse and Midwife Support offers professional health advice for nurses and midwives in these challenging times and you can read more about their expanded services below.

The Australian Government is asking for expressions of interest from nurses and midwives who are available to further support the health workforce. Please read more below.

We have released an updated Position statement: Nurses and cosmetic medical procedures which provides specific guidance and expectations for nurses working in this area. I encourage all nurses to read it.

Please make sure you’re ready for renewal by checking that you can log in to online services. You can find out about what’s different this year in this newsletter, including important information about continuing professional development expectations. 

Adjunct Professor Veronica Casey

Chair, Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia

Veronica Casey   

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Covid-19 pandemic response workforce: expressions of interest

Message from the Australian Government

The COVID-19 pandemic has placed an enormous burden on our health and aged care services and the people who work in it. The Australian Government is working closely with key stakeholders to tackle these challenges and manage our short-term critical needs, prepare for winter and build long-term capacity.

As part of this response, the government is drawing on new sources of skilled and dedicated people to work in aged care and other health services around Australia. We are calling on retired, part-time and under-employed nurses and midwives to lend a hand to support the health and aged care workforce and the Australian community. This might be as little as one shift per week to more frequent assistance.

Opportunities exist across various areas of practice including aged care, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander settings, primary health care, vaccination clinics, virtual care, and regional, rural and remote settings. Please refer to the Question and answer fact sheet for further information. Your skills and preferences will be made available to suitable services, prioritising sectors and communities that need help most.

Before you complete the expression of interest (EOI) you should ensure you are eligible to apply. Please refer to the Question and answer fact sheet for information regarding minimum eligibility requirements.

Submitting your EOI

Your EOI will be reviewed to identify potential locations for your contribution. Your EOI will then be forwarded to either an agency or organisation to link you with services requesting staff. The agency will contact you to discuss with you the available options and requirements for the relevant role.

Complete your EOI

Contact

If you have any questions or feedback regarding the expression of interest process, please email the Department of Health: surgeworkforce@health.gov.au

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Call for applications

Victorian registered nurses, enrolled nurses and midwives are encouraged to apply for a practitioner vacancy on the NMBA. Applications close 5pm AEST 27 March 2022.  

Read more.

NMBA news

Free independent health support to be expanded next month

The NMBA has supported Nurse & Midwife Support to expand its services in recognition of the ongoing effects of the pandemic on nurses and midwives. 

From early April, Nurse & Midwife Support is increasing its staffed hours, extending its call-back services and offering a 50-minute session with a qualified and experienced counsellor. 

Nurse & Midwife Support is a free, independent and confidential support service run for and by nurses and midwives. The service recently celebrated five years of operation.

To get in touch with Nurse & Midwife Support, visit the website at nmsupport.org.au or phone 1800 667 877.

NMBA updated position statement on cosmetic procedures 

Registered nurses and enrolled nurses who work, or wish to work, in the area of cosmetic (non-surgical) medical procedures should get to know the updated Position statement: Nurses and cosmetic medical procedures

This position statement includes guidance for:

  • all nurses working in the area of cosmetic medical procedures, including specific advice for enrolled nurses, registered nurses and nurse practitioners on
    • cosmetic injections – detailed expectations of prescribers and the role of the registered nurse
    • supervision requirements for enrolled nurses performing cosmetic medical procedures
  • registered nurses with a sole qualification in mental health nursing, paediatric nursing or disability nursing seeking to practise in the area of cosmetic medical procedures. 

Ahpra and the Medical Board of Australia are carrying out a separate review into cosmetic surgery. The NMBA may amend the Position statement: Nurses and cosmetic medical procedures in future, based on the recommendations of that review.
 
The position statement is available on the NMBA website

CATSINaM releases Cultural Safety education program for nurses and midwives

CATSINaM has released Murra Mullangari: Introduction to Cultural Safety and Cultural Humility, an education program developed specifically for nurses and midwives. The NMBA acknowledges the great work of CATSINaM in developing this program.

Find out more on the CATSINaM website

Updates from recent NMBA meetings

The NMBA and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practice Board are working on a joint project to provide nurses and midwives with better information about the role of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners. The project aims to develop resources to support nurses and midwives in giving culturally safe care while working alongside Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners. A Project Working Group has been established with the first meeting held on 24 January 2022.

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.

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Alert

On the pandemic sub-register? Opt in now to extend your temporary registration

Nurses and midwives on the 2020 pandemic response sub-register (the 2020 sub-register) can opt in to extend their temporary registration before it expires to keeping supporting the pandemic response.

Ahpra and the NMBA are acutely aware that our health system still needs help as it continues to deal with increased healthcare demands and workforce challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are contacting nurses and midwives on the 2020 sub-register before their temporary registration expires on 5 April 2022 about the options available to stay registered, which will take effect from 6 April 2022.

What you must do by 5 April 2022

You must advise Ahpra before midnight on 5 April 2022 if you want to:

  • opt in so your temporary registration is extended to expire at midnight on 21 September 2022, or
  • formally apply for registration on the main register using a transition pathway.

You should look for an email from Ahpra advising what to do to stay registered on the pandemic response sub-register or apply to transition to the main register.

Alternatively, you can do nothing and allow your registration to expire. Your name will be removed from the 2020 sub-register on 6 April 2022 and you will no longer be able to practise.

If you opt in

Nurses and midwives who choose to opt in to extend their temporary registration on the pandemic response sub-register will be registered to practise to the full scope of their registration from 6 April 2022.

If you choose the transition pathway

If you choose to transition from the temporary 2020 sub-register to the main register you can keep practising from 6 April 2022, but only if you formally apply, using the transition pathway, before midnight on 5 April.

Your registration will continue to be limited to practice for the COVID-19 response until you are advised about the outcome of your application. Once you have transitioned to the main register and your registration details have been updated, you can practise to the full scope of your registration (subject to any notations).

If you do nothing

From 6 April 2022 you will no longer hold registration that enables you to practise and will need to apply for registration on the main register through the standard process.

If you had non-practising registration before being on the 2020 sub-register, you will automatically return to non-practising registration on the main register on 6 April 2022.

Need more information?

More information is included in a news item on the NMBA website.

If you are on the 2020 sub-register and did not receive an email from Ahpra, contact pandemicregister@ahpra.gov.au.

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Registration

Supporting you during the pandemic

COVID-19 continues to pose extreme challenges to the health system, health practitioners and the wider community. We sincerely thank nurses and midwives for their continuing commitment and care for people under very difficult circumstances.

We recognise that many of you may be feeling anxious and concerned about decisions you might need to take to provide the best possible care in challenging and unusual circumstances. We know that you may need to adjust established approaches and procedures to provide appropriate, safe care to patients and clients.

As nurses and midwives, you should use your professional judgement to assess risk and do your best to practise as safely as you can, given the circumstances and situation.

We know our regulatory approach must be modified to support you in these exceptional circumstances. We want to reassure you that any registration or notification issue brought to the NMBA will be considered in the context of practising in these circumstances.

The NMBA also expects employers of nurses and midwives to provide an environment that is as safe and supported as possible.

For more information on how we’re supporting nurses and midwives through the pandemic, please see the NMBA’s COVID-19 guidance for nurses and midwives.

Getting ready to renew

Be renewal ready. Registration renewal opens in April and you have until 31 May to submit your application, before late fees apply.

Check your login information to avoid having to make a call to us during our busy renewal period.

Remember, your user ID for online services is different to your registration number – check your renewal reminder emails from Ahpra to find your user ID.

If you know your user ID, but have forgotten your password, you can reset your password online.

No change to fees this year

The NMBA froze registration fees last year; this means your renewal fees are the same this year as last year. Registration fees go directly to regulating for safety in nursing and midwifery and keeping the public safe. Our regulatory work is entirely funded by registrant fees and we receive no ongoing government funding for this work. 

What’s different about renewal this year?

Renewal is now online only and there are changes to payment options

We’ve moved to online only for general and non-practising registration renewal. Over 99 per cent of health practitioners already renew online, it’s the quickest and easiest way to renew.

Renewal fees can be paid by credit/debit card. If you do not have a credit/debit card you can purchase a pre-paid debit card from various retail outlets for a nominal fee. BPay is no longer available because it can cause delays in renewing your registration.

Meeting the CPD standard

The NMBA is aware that there are many continuing professional development (CPD) activities that are COVID-safe options and many CPD programs and providers have now adapted their programs to be COVID-safe. We encourage you to continue to do CPD that is relevant to your context of practice and your current work environment. The following learning opportunities may also contribute to CPD hours:

  • COVID-19 in-services
  • reading and reflecting on COVID-19 journal articles, and
  • COVID-19 infection control training - online training modules (please see the Australian Government Department of Health website for more information).

The NMBA believes that most of you will be meeting your CPD requirements through new learning related to COVID-19. However, we understand you may not have kept your usual CPD records and reflections.

You must answer all renewal questions honestly and accurately. If you believe you have met the CPD requirements, you can declare this at renewal even if you haven’t kept relevant records. The NMBA will not be auditing nurses and midwives against the CPD standard this year, although we may still take action against a nurse or midwife who makes false declarations at renewal.

Embedding cultural safety in the ways we work

The National Registration and Accreditation Scheme’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Strategy aims to make patient safety for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples the norm. We strive to embed cultural safety in the ways we work within the National Scheme too. 

From 2022, you’ll be asked if you identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander when you renew your registration. This will help us continue to develop culturally safe ways of working.

PII exemption made for privately practising midwives

The professional indemnity insurance (PII) exemption for privately practising midwives (PPMs) has been made and gazetted. The published document is available on the Victorian government website.

PPMs must meet the requirements of the Safety and quality guidelines for privately practising midwives to be eligible for the exemption from PII for providing intrapartum care for homebirths. The guidelines also apply to PPMs who provide care in discrete areas such as postnatal care, antenatal care and/or specialist lactation services.

The guidelines provide PPMs with clarity and support to practise their role with safety and quality, while facilitating workforce flexibility and access to services. The guidelines are available on the Professional codes and guidelines section of the NMBA website.

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Students and graduates

First time renewing?

Renewing your registration each year is about public safety – you’re asked to declare that you are still meeting the standards expected of your profession. 

If you were granted registration in the last 12 months and this is your first time renewing, the NMBA has all the information you need online. Here we answer a couple of common questions.

What if I got my registration less than a year ago, do I still have to renew?

Registration for nurses and midwives is renewed annually by 31 May, regardless of how long you were registered for during the previous 12 months.

If you are a graduate who registered within two months before the 31 May annual renewal date you are registered to practise until 31 May of the following year. Check the national register of practitioners if you are not sure when your registration is due for renewal.

How much CPD do I have to do?

When you renew your general registration, you are asked to declare if you have met the CPD registration standard in the previous registration period. The studies which qualified you for registration as a nurse or a midwife do not count as CPD. You need to do CPD even if you haven’t been practising as a nurse or midwife. 

If you have been registered less than a year, the CPD hours you are required to do will be calculated on a pro-rata basis, as below:

  • registered for 0-3 months ≥ 5 hours CPD required
  • registered for >3-6 months ≥ 10 hours CPD required
  • registered for >6-9 months ≥ 15 hours CPD required
  • registered for > 9-12 months ≥ 20 hours CPD required.

For more tips, visit the NMBA’s First time renewing page.

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Nursing and midwifery regulation at work: notification case studies

Tribunal cancels registration of nurse for professional misconduct

A tribunal has cancelled an enrolled nurse’s registration after he breached professional boundaries, including consuming illicit drugs, with a patient.

Read more.

Tribunal cancels registration of nurse who received money from elderly patient

A tribunal has cancelled a registered nurse’s registration after he received over $100,000 from an aged care patient. 

Read more

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National Scheme news

Have your say: consultation opens for cosmetic surgery review

The public consultation for the Independent review of the regulation of health practitioners in cosmetic surgery is now open.

The review, commissioned by Ahpra and the Medical Board of Australia, is being led by former Queensland Health Ombudsman Andrew Brown, supported by an expert panel.

The review is particularly interested in understanding whether there are any barriers to consumers, practitioners or their employees raising concerns about unsafe practice or unsatisfactory outcomes. It is also examining how best Ahpra and the Medical Board of Australia should manage concerns when they are raised, and what information consumers should be given that may influence informed decision-making.

The consultation paper, including consultation questions, is available on the Independent review page on the Ahpra website.

Practitioners can contribute by emailing their submission, marked 'Submission to the independent review on cosmetic surgery,' to CSReview@ahpra.gov.au.

There is a survey for consumers to easily share their experiences.

The consultation ends on 14 April 2022

The Independent Reviewer expects to report his findings by mid-2022.

There is further information, including FAQs, on the review website.

Latest podcast: Tackling the blame culture to improve patient safety – is it possible?

In the latest episode of Taking care, we explore workplace culture in healthcare through a safety lens. What is the best approach to support a practitioner’s professional practice to ensure patient safety? How do we regulate when honest errors occur in a workplace environment?

It’s so much easier to blame an individual when something goes wrong than to do the hard work to really understand why something happened and put it right. The problem with blame culture is it drives problems underground, say our guests. They acknowledge the challenge in creating workplaces that encourage candour by practitioners and patients, to ensure patient safety.

Read more about the podcast and follow the link to listen.

Ahpra releases a new Taking care episode fortnightly, discussing current topics and the latest issues affecting safe healthcare in Australia. Download and listen today. You can also listen and subscribe on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and by searching ‘Taking care’ in your podcast player.

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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 28/04/2022