September 2019

Contents


Message from the Chair

This month there are several National Boards and AHPRA consultations open and I encourage nurses and midwives to have their say and represent the views of the professions. Visit the Current consultations section of the NMBA website to find out more.

This edition of the NMBA newsletter features a section on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners – a profession which is a crucial resource for working towards closing the gap in health between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Australia. The NMBA encourages nurses and midwives to work collaboratively with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners to contribute to greater health equity. Nurses and midwives can use the NMBA Decision-making framework to help guide this collaboration and decisions around delegation and scope of practice.

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

Associate Professor Lynette Cusack RN

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NMBA news

New assessment for internationally qualified nurses and midwives

The NMBA is moving to an outcomes-based assessment model for some internationally qualified nurses and midwives (IQNMs).

Currently, IQNMs who hold qualifications which are relevant but not substantially equivalent or based on similar competencies to Australian nursing and midwifery qualifications (and who meet NMBA mandatory registration standards) are referred to bridging programs.

From 1 October 2019, these IQNM applicants will be offered the choice of being referred to a bridging program or to the NMBA outcomes-based assessment (OBA). The OBA will start in January 2020.

From 1 January 2020, all IQNMs with relevant but not substantially equivalent qualifications will be referred to the OBA.

The OBA consists of two parts: a multiple-choice exam, followed by an objective structured clinical exam (OSCE). Applicants will need to pass the multiple-choice exam before being able to do the OSCE.

To find out more about the transition to the new assessment model, please read the fact sheet.

NMBA represents Australian nursing at ICN 2019

The NMBA represented Australian nursing at the International Council of Nurses (ICN) Congress 2019, which was held in Singapore in June.

Hosted by the Singapore Nurses Association and attended by over 5000 delegates, the international congress explored the ways that nurses work to achieve universal access to health.

Tanya Vogt, AHPRA Executive Officer for nursing and midwifery, presented on the new NMBA assessment model for internationally qualified nurses and midwives, including an orientation program which provides cultural safety training.

Ms Vogt also presented the work that the NMBA has done to develop a framework for prescribing by registered nurses (RNs) in Australia.

‘We have some key drivers for change in the prescribing scope for RNs in Australia,’ Ms Vogt said.

‘First, we have an aging population and increased burden of disease. We’re also providing care across a whole continent with large areas with rural and remote communities. We need to continue to think about how nurses can be better utilised – in a safe way – to provide the care that our communities need.’

The NMBA is working with stakeholders on the final versions of the registration standard and guidelines and we aim to have a final submission prepared in the coming months for approval by Health Ministers.

Consultation on blood-borne virus guidelines

The NMBA, in partnership with the Dental, Medical, Paramedicine and Podiatry Boards of Australia, has opened consultation on the draft Guidelines for registered health practitioners and students in relation to blood-borne viruses (the draft guidelines).

The draft guidelines are intended to support practitioners in these professions to comply with the Communicable Diseases Network Australia Australian national guidelines for the management of healthcare workers living with blood borne viruses and healthcare workers who perform exposure prone procedures at risk of exposure to blood borne viruses (the CDNA guidelines).

All registered health practitioners who perform exposure-prone procedures, or who are living with a blood-borne virus, need to comply with the CDNA guidelines. The Boards have developed the draft guidelines to support health practitioners and students to decide whether they perform exposure-prone procedures in their practice and if so, how to meet the requirements of the CDNA guidelines.

Feedback on the draft guidelines is invited from health practitioners, employers and the wider public. To have your say, please visit the Consultations section of the NMBA website. The consultation closes on 1 November 2019

Updates from the June and July 2019 NMBA meetings

In June, the NMBA considered the feedback from nurses and midwives, and other stakeholders, to the consultation on proposed definitions of advanced practice and nurse practitioner. At the meeting, NMBA agreed on the proposed revised definitions of advanced practice and nurse practitioner. The revised definitions will be included in the relevant NMBA documents in October.

In July, the NMBA gave feedback on the draft revised social media policy, which is under review. The NMBA approved the Guidelines for registered health practitioners and students in relation to blood-borne viruses for consultation and the fact sheet for dual registered nurses and midwives for publication.

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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Registration

Getting to know your colleague – information about the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practice profession

Members of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practice Board (ATSIHPBA) recently gave a update to the NMBA at its June meeting about the Board, the profession and its practitioners.

The ATSIHPBA wants to help the nursing and midwifery professions understand the value that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners can bring to Australian healthcare to make it culturally safe and help close the gap. Below are some simple facts about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners and their profession.

Facts about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners

  • Programs of study that lead to registration as an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioner are the only ethnically based health training programs of this type in the world and have been recognised and named as such by the United Nations.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners work across organisations in many roles and act as cultural brokers and make healthcare settings, including hospitals, more culturally safe.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners are one profession under the same roof as many other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health professionals and account for a small number of the Indigenous health workforce (which includes Aboriginal Health Workers, Liaison Officers etc).
  • They predominantly work for public hospitals and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations.
  • The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Worker Association (NATSIHWA) is the professional body which works hard to promote the profession.
  • Tasks Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners are qualified to perform include immunisations, screening of physical, social and emotional wellbeing, administering and supplying medications, advocating for clients, health promotion and providing advice, support and training on culturally safe health services.
  • They complement the roles of other health practitioners, including nurses and midwives. The cultural liaison and expertise they provide is invaluable. The patient rapport and insight into culturally safe and responsive approaches to care helps non-Indigenous clinicians to achieve the best health outcomes for the patient.
  • New Accreditation standards starting next year will enable programs offering qualifications higher than the current Certificate IV level to apply for accreditation.
  • Challenges to the profession include retention, lack of career mapping, employers not harnessing their full scope of practice and completing study in time allowed (for cultural reasons and because of travelling distance). However, registrant numbers are steadily rising. 

Supporting your colleagues 

The ATSIHPBA would like to continue to work with AHPRA and the nursing and midwifery professions to help spread the word about the culturally safe workforce which is qualified, competent, registered and ready to go to work in both clinical and non-clinical roles.

Here are some things that you, as a nurse or a midwife, can do to help:

  • Ask a question: ask your health service, employer or other team members, ‘How many Aboriginal Health Practitioners do we employ?’ or ‘Did you know we could make our practice more culturally safe by employing an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioner, and do our bit towards closing the gap?’ 
  • Make them a priority: Prioritise the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health workforce agenda.
  • Share the message: Distribute the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practice profession brochures explaining their role to employers.

Engaging the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforce to work in partnership with nurses and midwives is a key opportunity to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

If you would like to find out more about the profession please contact Executive Officer, Jill Humphreys at jill.humphreys@ahpra.gov.au or on (03) 8708 9066.

Updated fact sheet on dual registered nurses and paramedics

The NMBA and the Paramedicine Board of Australia have updated their joint fact sheet on dual registered nurses and paramedics.

The NMBA and Paramedicine Board recognise that nursing and paramedicine are two separate professions and that regulated health practitioners who hold dual registration as an RN and a paramedic are expected to meet the respective professional standards set by the boards for each profession.

To find out more, see the fact sheet.

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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 disqualifies nurse for professional misconduct

A tribunal has disqualified a nurse from applying for registration for professional misconduct following an unnecessary and inappropriate physical examination of a patient.

For more information, please see the news item.

Tribunal disqualifies former nurse for two years for criminal offences

A tribunal has reprimanded a former nurse and disqualified her from applying for registration for two years for professional misconduct.

For more information, please see the news item.

Tribunal suspends nurse for two years for professional misconduct

A tribunal has reprimanded an enrolled nurse and suspended her registration for two years after she admitted to withdrawing cash from a patient’s bank card for personal use.

For more information, please see the news item.

Tribunal cancels nurse’s registration for professional misconduct

A tribunal has cancelled a nurse’s registration for professional misconduct concerning criminal convictions and practising while intoxicated.

For more information, please see the news item.

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National Scheme news

Important consultations now open – feedback invited 

Three public consultations are now open asking for people to have their say on revised guidance to help practitioners and others understand their mandatory notification obligations, understand their obligations when advertising a regulated health service and to support a responsive and risk-based approach to supervised practice.

Alongside other National Boards and AHPRA, the NMBA is conducting consultations on: 

  • revised Guidelines for mandatory notifications 
  • revised Guidelines for advertising a regulated health service, and 
  • a proposed Supervised practice framework (excluding Psychology and Pharmacy Boards).

We invite nurses and midwives to give feedback to these important public consultations. To ensure everyone has the chance to respond the closing dates for public consultation are staggered as follows: 

  • Guidelines for mandatory notifications − closes 6 November 2019
  • Guidelines for advertising a regulated health service − closes 26 November 2019
  • Supervised practice framework − closes 17 December 2019

The consultation papers are available on the Current consultations page of the NMBA website. To make it easier to participate, you can use the online survey option to send us your feedback.

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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 30/09/2019