Updated March 2023
Download a PDF copy of the Fact sheet: Renewal information for employers of nurses and midwives (261 KB,PDF)
The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) undertakes functions as set by the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, as in force in each state and territory (the National Law). The NMBA regulates the practice of nursing and midwifery in Australia, and one of its key roles is to protect the public. The NMBA does this by developing registration standards, professional codes, guidelines and standards for practice which together establish the requirements of the professional practice framework for the professional and safe practice of nurses and midwives in Australia.
This fact sheet provides guidance for employers of nurses and midwives regarding renewal of registration.
Nurses and midwives with general or non-practicing registration must renew their registration with the NMBA by 31 May each year.
The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra) manages the registration and renewal process on behalf of the NMBA.
You can help by reminding employees when their registration is due and encouraging them to renew quickly and easily online.
Ahpra keeps a list of every health practitioner who is registered to practise in Australia. The list is called the ‘Register of practitioners’ (also referred to as the ‘national register’). When a health practitioner’s name appears on the list, you know that they are allowed to practise. Sometimes a registered practitioner has a registration type or condition or notation on their registration that limit what they can do (see definitions below). This information is also published on the register.
You can confirm the registration status of a nurse or midwife using the online national register. A nurse or midwife’s listing on the national register is proof that they are registered to practise. Further information about how to search the national register can be found via the Ahpra website.
The Practitioner Information Exchange (PIE) service is available for employers to check the registration details and status of their employees.
PIE offers immediate access to data about health practitioners that is currently published on the register of practitioners. The service enables bulk data-transfer about a number of selected practitioners (e.g., nurses and midwives employed by a particular hospital/health service), while the public register is only searchable by individual practitioner.
It is important in the interest of public safety that you check the national register to make sure nurses and midwives employed are registered to practise.
If a nurse or midwife’s registration has been cancelled, details are published online on the national register of cancelled health practitioners. You can search a nurse or midwife’s details against this register.
Under the National Law, nurses and midwives remain registered for one month after their registration expiry date.
If a nurse or midwife applies to renew their registration before or within the one-month late period, they remain registered to practise while their application is assessed and processed. This is the case even if the processing timeline extends beyond the nurse or midwife’s registration expiry date (31 May) or the end of the following one-month late period. Once the application process is complete, the nurse or midwife’s listing on the national register will be updated.
If a nurse or midwife does not apply to renew before the end of the one-month late period, their registration will lapse. The national register is the most accurate and up-to-date record of a nurse or midwife’s registration status. A nurse or midwife with lapsed registration who does not apply to renew their registration by the end of the one-month late period will be removed from the national register.
Once registration has lapsed, the nurse or midwife must make a new application for registration in order to practise. There is a fast track process available for applications within 4 weeks of the end of the late renewal period (ending 1 July). Nurses or midwives who submit a fast track application cannot practise until their application has been processed and their registration details are updated on the national register.
General registration is granted to nurses and midwives to practise the profession(s). In general, nurses and midwives who hold general registration have graduated from a Board-approved, accredited program of study in the profession(s) and completed any required period of supervised practice or re-entry to practice program, or they have demonstrated equivalence of their overseas qualifications.
Provisional registration is granted to nurses and midwives to enable them to complete either a period of supervised practice or re-entry to practice program to be eligible for general registration.
Non-practising registration is granted to nurses and midwives who have previously held general registration, who do not wish to practise the profession but wish to remain registered. Some practitioners choose to hold non-practising registration so that they may use a protected title for the profession.
A National Board or an adjudication body can impose a condition on the registration of a practitioner or student, or on an endorsement of registration. A condition aims to restrict a practitioner’s practice in some way, to protect the public.
Conditions can be placed on a practitioner’s registration for disciplinary reasons, such as because a National Board has found that a practitioner has departed from accepted professional standards.
Conditions can also be placed on a practitioner’s registration for reasons that are not disciplinary, such as for a practitioner who is returning to practice after a break.
Current conditions which restrict a practitioner’s practice of the profession are published on the register of practitioners. When a National Board or adjudication body decides they are no longer required to ensure safe practice, they are removed and no longer published.
Examples of conditions include requiring the practitioner to:
There may also be conditions related to a practitioner’s health (such as psychiatric care or drug screening). The details of health conditions are not usually published on the register of practitioners.
A notation records a limitation on the practice of a nurse or midwife. It is used to describe and explain the scope of a nurse or midwife’s practice by noting the limitations on that practice. The notation does not change the nurse or midwife’s scope of practice but may reflect the requirements of a registration standard.
Further information regarding notations for nurses can be found in the following NMBA documents:
Fact sheet: Nurses with a sole qualification in mental health nursing, paediatric nursing or disability nursing
Fact sheet: Enrolled nurses and medication administration
Policy: Mothercraft nurses