This month there have been several advancements in the work the NMBA is doing to support nurses and midwives. We see this through the announcement of the second site for the examination of internationally qualified nurses and midwives, a consultation on guidelines for nurses who perform non-surgical cosmetic procedures and the progression of the Midwifery Futures project.
I would also like to take a moment to acknowledge the stress and uncertainty privately practising midwives have faced while the gap for professional indemnity insurance for intrapartum care is reviewed. The NMBA has released a statement and would encourage you read the Department of Health’s latest advice that we’ve included in this newsletter.
Adjunct Professor Veronica Casey
Chair, Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia
Paula has been a registered nurse since 1994 and a midwife since 2006.
'My nursing career was mostly working in theatres, however I have worked predominantly as a midwife since first qualifying, as this is really where my heart and soul lies. I have worked in all kinds of models of midwifery care in both South Australia and the Northern Territory, am also a lactation consultant and hold the Endorsement for scheduled medicines for midwives. I am currently undertaking full time PhD studies and work part time as the Midwifery Director in the Nursing and Midwifery Office in the South Australian Government.'
Both professions have given me so much and even on my darkest days, I have never regretted my career choices. I only ever wanted to be a nurse when I was growing up, and when I finished high school this was the only course I put on my university entrance application. I call myself the accidental midwife as I really fell into a midwifery career. Midwifery was not on my radar; however the opportunity arose to undertake a graduate diploma of midwifery while working as a paid midwifery student at the Royal Darwin Hospital. I took it, and the rest is history. My career goal is to leave the world a better place for mothers, babies and midwives than I found it. This new role on the National Board is in part a measure of that.
I am just finishing my third and final term as a practitioner member on the South Australian Board of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia. With nine years of operational state and territory nursing and midwifery regulation behind me, it seemed like a natural progression to apply for a position as a practitioner member on the National Board. Already I am noticing how different the National role is, with so much to learn and presenting an entirely new set of challenges. I am therefore looking forward to learning from and working with the other National Board members, and the Ahpra team more broadly.
I am very keen to see how the Midwifery Futures workforce project progresses. The midwifery workforce is facing shortages nationally, so this is a timely piece of work that is being undertaken. Midwifery Futures will hopefully provide some short- and longer-term solutions to address the midwifery workforce issues and thus assist with future-proofing the ability for midwives to provide safe, high quality maternity for all Australian women and birthing people.
Overseas trained nurses and midwives will enjoy shorter wait times under an expansion of assessment capabilities.
A new purpose-built centre in Melbourne will allow the clinical skills of internationally qualified nurses and midwives to be assessed sooner as a critical requirement for their safe entry to practice in Australia.
NMBA Chair, Adjunct Professor Veronica Casey AM said identifying a second examination site was a significant step in safely expanding the national health workforce.
‘Supporting the Australian health workforce with safe and capable internationally qualified nurses and midwives is one of the NMBA’s highest priorities and with the opening of RANZCOG’s facilities we will be able to deliver more OSCEs, more frequently. Getting more internationally qualified nurses and midwives into the workforce sooner,’ she said.
Read the media release
The Midwifery Futures project will be sending out invitations to all midwives and midwifery students to participate in a workforce survey in the coming weeks. The results of the survey will inform the current state of Australia’s midwifery workforce as well as influence future strategies to address common challenges and improve the health outcomes for women, babies and families. We encourage all midwives and midwifery students to participate in this important survey.
The Midwifery Futures project is funded by the NMBA in partnership with The Macfarlane Burnet Institute for Medical Research and Public Health (the Burnet Institute) and colleagues to set the foundation for the continued growth and sustainability of the midwifery profession.
The NMBA in partnership with CQUniversity is conducting an evaluation of Internationally Qualified Nurses and Midwives (IQNM) experiences of getting registered in Australia. In the coming weeks, we will be contacting IQNMs who have completed or are currently undergoing our pathways to registration to understand IQNM experiences and improve how we work in the future. If you're an IQNM, keep an eye out in your inbox for an opportunity to have your say.
A public consultation for the Registration standard: Endorsement as a nurse practitioner will be released in the coming month. This consultation will align with the ANMAC’s consultation on the Nurse Practitioner Accreditation Standards. Recently we approved a guidance document for nurses and midwives who work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Practitioners. We collaborated with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practice Board to develop a strategy to promote the work in a respectful way that supports all three of the professions. This work was approved by both Boards at their latest meetings and will commence shortly.
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.
The Department of Health and Aged Care has been working with the Minister for Health and Aged Care to find a solution to the gap in professional indemnity insurance for endorsed midwives providing intrapartum (labour) care to women outside hospital prior to a planned hospital birth.
They are still working through implementation of the solution with the insurance provider. The solution will make available indemnity cover to endorsed midwives so they will have cover for providing intrapartum (labour) care to women outside hospital prior to a planned hospital birth. This will be backdated to 17 October 2023, which is the date this gap in cover was raised with Government. In the interim, it’s important that you continue to work to the advice provided in the NMBA and Department’s previous correspondence in October 2023.
The Department has been actively engaging with stakeholders throughout this process and acknowledge the profound impact this issue has on women and midwives, especially in Australia’s First Nation’s communities. They continue to work in partnership with Birthing on Country providers to ensure First Nations women have continuous access to culturally safe care with a known midwife.
The NMBA will be sending out further information to privately practising midwives shortly.
If you are looking for information about the exemption for professional indemnity insurance, please read:
As newly graduated nurses and midwives you might be apprehensive of your first year in the professions however the NMBA has a number of resources to enable you to practise safely. One of these is the National decision-making framework, which can help you to make decisions in practice.
The national framework provides a set of principles that are the foundation for the development and evaluation of decision-making tools. It also provides two templates for decision-making tools – one for nursing and one for midwifery.
As well as setting registration standards for nurses and midwives, the NMBA provides guidelines, frameworks, helpful fact sheets and other policies to help nurses and midwives practise safely across Australia. You can find these resources on our website.
We also remind new graduates that before you can start working as a nurse or midwife you must be registered with the NMBA. Be sure to watch our video to get your application right.
Ahpra and the National Boards are consulting on three documents related to the regulation of registered health practitioners who perform and advertise non-surgical cosmetic procedures.
We want your feedback on any or all the following draft guidelines:
The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) has identified the need to raise the regulatory status of the current Position statement: Nurses and cosmetic medical procedures to reflect a similar approach to the Medical Board of Australia (MBA) and their recently released Guidelines for registered medical practitioners who perform cosmetic surgery and procedures (MBA’s cosmetic guidelines).
The draft practice guidelines for nurses have been developed from and generally mirror the advice from the NMBA’s current position statement however will capture additional areas identified within the MBA’s cosmetic guidelines. These guidelines will apply to all enrolled nurses, registered nurses and nurse practitioners who work in the non-surgical cosmetic space.
The draft shared advertising guidelines will apply to any registered health practitioner including nurses advertising non-surgical cosmetic procedures. Much like the Medical Board’s new cosmetic surgery advertising guidelines – now in place – these advertising guidelines will include guidance around issues such as before and after images, claims about expertise and qualifications and the ban on the use of testimonials. The use of social media influencers is also a focus.
The consultation is open for 10 weeks, closing on 2 February 2024.
Learn more about the consultation and how you can have your say on the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia’s consultation page.
A new checklist for registered health practitioners aims to help you better address complaints when they are first raised by a patient or client.
We know that receiving negative feedback or a complaint can be confronting and may be stressful for nurses and midwives. This checklist provides guidance, so practitioners are more equipped to deal with feedback and complaints that are made directly to them by patients or clients. We hope it will help practitioners better resolve some of these concerns when they are first raised.
The checklist is a resource to support practice and does not impose any additional obligations on practitioners. The NMBA’s expectations about what to do when a nurse or midwife receives a complaint from a patient or client is outlined in their respective codes of conduct or ethics documents.
The NMBA publishes summaries of tribunal decisions about nurses and midwives as professional learning case studies. All information in these summaries has been made publicly available by the relevant tribunal before the NMBA publishes its summary.
A nurse who sent inappropriate sexualised and/or intimidating and exploitative communications to two junior nurse colleagues has been reprimanded and had conditions imposed on his registration.