Fact sheet: Internationally qualified nurses with a sole qualification in mental health, disability or paediatric nursing

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As part of its public protection role, the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) in partnership with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) is responsible for assessing registration applications from internationally qualified nurses and midwives (IQNMs) to ensure they are suitably trained and qualified for registration in Australia.

To work as a registered nurse, enrolled nurse, nurse practitioner or midwife in Australia, you must be registered with the NMBA.

Information about the assessment model for the qualifications of IQNMs is published on the NMBA website.

This following information is applicable for internationally qualified nurses with qualifications solely in mental health, disability or paediatric nursing.

Notations for nurses with sole qualifications

Depending on their area of qualification, nurses with these qualifications are registered with a notation stating that they are ‘solely qualified in the area of mental health nursing or paediatric nursing or disability nursing’. Qualifications solely in mental health, disability or paediatric nursing can only be obtained internationally, as there are no programs of study approved in Australia for nurses to gain these types of qualifications.

No, there are the only areas of nursing that a notation applies.

No, a notation is not an indication of any concern about your performance or ability as a nurse. Notations are used to provide relevant information to employers and the public on an individual’s registration status.

 

Registration of nurses with qualifications solely in mental health, disability or paediatric nursing

The NMBA assesses all registered nurses against the three qualification criteria for registered nurses. In order to be eligible for registration, applicants must meet all three criteria, as well as all registration standards listed on the application form, such as recency of practice and English language skills. Criterion 3 requires that your qualification must be assessed as being equivalent to an Australian Bachelor degree (AQF level 7).

Registered nurses with qualifications solely in mental health, disability or paediatric nursing at AQF level 6 will be registered with conditions for 12 months full-time equivalent supervised practice. The NMBA has decided that this is an appropriate pathway to assess the applicant’s eligibility for registration. On successful completion of the supervised practice, the condition will be removed.
 

 Supervised practice

When the NMBA imposes conditions requiring supervised practice on your registration, it means that you must work under supervision, as agreed with the NMBA. Requirements are tailored to the purpose of supervision.
Where you do not meet all requirements for general registration, supervised practice is to help assure the NMBA of your competence. Patients have a right to expect safe, competent and contemporary nursing care at all times. This includes when care is given under supervisory arrangements. Correct supervision reassures the NMBA and the community that a nurse’s practice is safe and does not place the public at risk.

Yes, you are responsible for making sure that your employer meets the NMBA’s requirements for supervised practice.

The NMBA can decide to impose whatever conditions it considers necessary or desirable for your particular circumstances. It is likely that your registration will be subject to conditions that will require you to demonstrate competence to practise as a registered nurse against the Registered nurse standards for practice. These are the standards that provide the minimum expectation of practice for a registered nurse and they inform the education standards for registered nurses in Australia.

Other requirements that may be included in your conditions include:

  • To undertake supervised practice for a period of 12 months full-time equivalent.
  • To provide the NMBA with a supervised practice plan and supervision agreement that you have agreed and completed with your supervisor.

Please note that the conditions listed above are a general list and your specific conditions may differ at the NMBA’s discretion.

If supervised practice conditions are imposed on your registration, your supervisor will be required to submit a report at the end of the supervision period assessing your performance against the NMBA’s Registered nurse standards for practice.

Your registration will include the schedule of supervised practice conditions for registered nurses with qualifications solely in mental health, disability or paediatric nursing.

Current conditions on your registration will be visible on the national register.

No, there is no required start date for employment with supervised practice. However, you will need to make sure you can meet the recency of practice and continuing professional development registration standards when you renew your registration. Registration expires on 31 May of every year.

Internationally qualified registered nurses with AQF level 6 qualifications solely in mental health, disability or paediatric nursing are generally registered with conditions for 12 months full-time equivalent supervised practice.

‘Full-time equivalent’ represents average hours over a specified period which is equal to that of a full-time employee or student. Full-time equivalent hours are defined as 37.5 hours per week or 150 hours per month. Over a 12-month period this means you will need to work 1,800 hours of supervised practice.

If you are working full-time, you must undertake supervised practice for 12 months, with a minimum of 150 hours worked per month.

If you are working part-time, you must undertake supervised practice for as long as it takes you to complete the required 1,800 hours.

You are responsible for paying any costs associated with any NMBA-approved conditions on your registration.
You can do supervised practice in a private hospital, but not a private agency.
Your supervisor must be a registered nurse who has a minimum of 24 months full-time equivalent experience and no conditions on their registration as a registered nurse. You can have more than one supervisor, but they must all meet these requirements.

Supervision can be direct or indirect. The level of supervision required will be determined initially by the NMBA and by your supervisor(s) during your supervised practice. Your level of supervision will depend on your past experience and your performance in the workplace. For more information on the levels of supervision refer to the NMBA Supervision guidelines for nursing and midwifery.

If annual renewal of your registration arises before you have completed your supervised practice, we will renew your registration with the same conditions.

Yes, you need to inform your employer/s of your conditions and provide a copy of the conditions with your employer’s signature to the NMBA within the term specified on the conditions.
You will need to inform your new employer of your conditions and provide a copy of the conditions with your new employer’s signature to the NMBA within the term specified on the conditions. You will also need a new supervisor who works for your new employer.
The NMBA will determine its assessment based on your supervisor’s assessment report when you complete the period of supervised practice.

If you do not wish to do supervised practice you will need to upgrade your qualification to a Bachelor degree nursing qualification (assessed at AQF level 7) in your country of origin or in Australia.

In Australia, you would do this by enrolling in a NMBA-approved pre-registration program leading to registration as a registered nurse, such as a Bachelor of Nursing. You may seek advanced standing for previous study (Recognition of Prior Learning, or RPL). The decision to recognise prior learning is made by the education provider and the NMBA does not influence this decision.

There will be a resource commitment required by your employer to provide your supervision. You would need to negotiate this with your employer.

Yes, the NMBA has published templates and guidelines which can be found under the Supervised practice section of the NMBA website.

 
 
 
Page reviewed 13/08/2019