Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia - November 2019
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November 2019


Message from the Chair

On behalf of the NMBA, I’d like to thank all nurses and midwives across Australia for their contribution to the health and wellbeing of their communities this year and wish you a safe and happy new year.

As we approach the end of the year, professional and personal stress can grow. Please remember that there is a free, anonymous health support service available for all nurses and midwives across Australia – Nurse & Midwife Support. Visit their website or give them a call 24/7 on 1800 667 877.

Don’t miss your chance to apply for NMBA state and territory boards – to get involved, please read more below.

Associate Professor Lynette Cusack, registered nurse and midwife
Chair, Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia

Associate Professor Lynette Cusack RN

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Call for applications

The NMBA’s state and territory boards are delegated functions by the NMBA to make registration and notification decisions about nurses and midwives.

Applications are now sought from registered nurses, enrolled nurses, midwives and community members to fill multiple practitioner member, community member and chair vacancies arising in the following jurisdictions: 

  • New South Wales – 3 community members, 4 practitioner members 
  • Queensland – 1 community member, 3 practitioner members and chair 
  • Tasmania – 3 community members, 4 practitioner members and chair

More information about the roles, eligibility requirements and the application process can be found in the information documents and online application form available on the AHPRA website.

NMBA news

Decision-making summaries offer step-by-step support in practice

New resources for nurses and midwives can support making safe and consistent decisions about delegation and scope of practice.

The NMBA has released advance copies of the Decision-making framework summary: Nursing and the Decision-making framework summary: Midwifery.

The summaries provide a series of questions for nurses and midwives to ask when making a decision about scope of practice or delegation, in order to:

  • identify the need/benefit 
  • reflect on scope of practice and practice standards 
  • consider the context of practice, governance and identification of risk, and 
  • select an appropriate, competent person to perform activities.

The summaries support the new Decision-making framework for nursing and midwifery (DMF). The new DMF will come into effect on 3 February 2020.

To view the DMF and summaries, visit the NMBA website.

Updates from the September and October 2019 NMBA meetings 

The NMBA, together with AHPRA, has reviewed its approach to the oversight of notifications received about nurses and midwives and has implemented the following changes:

  • a streamlined initial assessment of notifications through national assessment committees – one to consider notifications made about nurses and one to consider notification made about midwives
  • a national approach to consider Immediate Action (notifications that are serious and require immediate action, where the NMBA forms a reasonable belief there may be a serious risk to people), and
  • notifications about midwives that progress to investigation from early 2020 will be overseen by a national midwifery committee, constituted of midwives and community members.

These strategies will enable improved efficient and effective risk-based assessment and management of the notifications received about nurses and midwives and ensure that there is the appropriate professional oversight of the notifications process.

It its October meeting, the NMBA approved the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Accreditation Council (ANMAC) revised Registered nurse accreditation standards and Essential evidence guide. These will be available on the ANMAC website in the upcoming weeks.

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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What is non-practising registration?

Non-practising registration allows nurses and midwives who do not intend to practise again to keep their title of ‘nurse’ or ‘midwife’.

If you hold non-practising registration you can use the protected title of ‘nurse’ or ‘midwife’ but must not practise in the professions. It is particularly suited to people wishing to retire but keep some connection to nursing and/or midwifery. If you hold non-practising registration, you pay a reduced registration fee each year and do not need to meet registration standards.

Non-practising registration is not usually suitable for nurses and midwives wishing to take a break from the profession – for example, to travel or work overseas, or to take maternity leave. This is because holding non-practising registration will not make it easier to return to general registration later.

If you are planning to take a break from practice, the NMBA recommends reviewing the registration standards, particularly the Recency of practice and Continuing professional development. Many nurses and midwives can take a break from practice and still meet the standards required to stay fully registered. This makes returning to practice much easier.

To find out more about non-practising registration, please view the fact sheet.

Have your say on Midwife accreditation standards

ANMAC is reviewing the Midwife accreditation standards and has opened its second stage of public consultation. The consultation gives you an opportunity to have a say about the education of midwives in Australia. To have your say, visit the ANMAC website.  

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 cancels midwife’s registration for false renewal declarations

A tribunal has cancelled a midwife’s registration after she made false declarations about meeting the NMBA Recency of practice registration standard.

For more information, please see the news item.

Tribunal disqualifies former nurse for four and a half years

A tribunal has disqualified a former enrolled nurse from applying for registration for four and a half years for professional misconduct concerning criminal conduct.

For more information, please see the news item.

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National Scheme news

Annual report 2018/19 released – one in 17 working Australians on the national register

The latest report on the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (the National Scheme) is packed full of data and descriptions of what National Boards and AHPRA do and how we work in partnership.

It’s quite startling to realise that one in every 17 working Australians is a registrant in one of the regulated health professions in the scheme. At over 744,000 registrants, this is a huge and growing workforce.

To ensure this large workforce is trained, qualified and competent, there are now over 1,000 approved programs of study.

The report also shows AHPRA directly received 9,338 concerns (notifications) about registered health practitioners and closed 8,979 during 2018/19. More notifications were received and more closed than ever before. We are committed to improving the notification experience for both notifiers and practitioners and this report indicates we are making progress. The number of notifications received by AHPRA also suggests the public are becoming more aware of their option to report their healthcare concerns.

Other insights from the year include: 

  • 41,696 new registered health practitioners joined the scheme, bringing the total to 744,437 health practitioners across 16 regulated professions. 
  • 17,323 paramedics registered for the first time in 2018/19 after officially joining the National Scheme in December. 
  • Across the professions, the largest growth in registrants (aside from paramedicine) was Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners +7.6%, occupational therapy +6.9% and osteopathy +6.6%.
  • 75% of all registrants are female. 
  • 12,445 practitioners had a notification made about them (1.7% of all registered health practitioners). The top three reasons for a notification made to AHPRA were clinical care (46.3%), medication issues (10.7%) and health impairment (6.5%). 
  • AHPRA reduced the average time taken to resolve a notification by 5.1%.

To view and download the 2018/19 annual report, visit the AHPRA website.

Individual National Board summaries are being prepared and they will also be published online.

Social media guide for health practitioners

AHPRA and National Boards have published a new guide to help registered health practitioners understand and meet their obligations when using social media.

The guide reminds practitioners that when interacting online, they should maintain professional standards and be aware of the implications of their actions, just as when they interact in person.

The guide does not stop practitioners from engaging online or via social media; instead, it encourages practitioners to act ethically and professionally in any setting.

To help practitioners meet their obligations, the guide also outlines some common pitfalls practitioners may encounter when using social media.

Community trust in registered health practitioners is essential. Whether an online activity can be viewed by the public or is limited to a specific group of people, health practitioners have a responsibility to behave ethically and to maintain professional standards, as in all professional circumstances.

In using social media, health practitioners should be aware of their obligations under the National Law1, their Board’s code of conduct, the Advertising guidelines and other relevant legislation, such as privacy legislation.

This guide replaces the Social media policy on Boards’ codes, guidelines and policies pages and is available in the Advertising resources section of AHPRA’s website. The guide will be updated as needed.

Safety of older Australians at centre of new regulatory agreement

Older Australians will be better protected as the result of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed recently by AHPRA and the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (the commission).

The MOU underpins the positive and collaborative working relationship that already exists between AHPRA and the commission. It will ensure that information can be appropriately shared between the two agencies where there may be concerns in aged care.

It will support the commission raising concerns about the health, performance or conduct of registered health practitioners working in aged care. In a reciprocal arrangement, AHPRA will disclose information to the commission if it has concerns about the care and safety of someone receiving Commonwealth-funded aged care services.

Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner Janet Anderson PSM said the commission was pleased to work with AHPRA to support the timely sharing of information and two-way communication to help both parties better fulfill their statutory mandates.

AHPRA will also work with the commission to ensure that all aged care employers use our online national register to check that health practitioners working in aged care are appropriately registered and meet required registration standards and codes of conduct.  

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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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1 The Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act 2009, as in force in each state and territory.

Page reviewed 8/07/2024