Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia - Fact sheet: Continuing professional development
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Fact sheet: Continuing professional development

Updated May 2024

Download a PDF copy of these Fact sheet: Continuing professional development (319 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.

The NMBA’s Registration standard: Continuing professional development requires nurses and midwives to complete a minimum number of continuing professional development (CPD) hours directly relevant to a nurse or midwife’s context of practice.

The following questions address common queries that you might have about the Registration standard: Continuing professional development.

CPD is how members of the professions maintain, improve and broaden their knowledge, expertise and competence, and develop the personal and professional qualities needed throughout their professional lives.

Practice refers to any role, whether remunerated or not, in which the individual uses their skills and knowledge as a health practitioner in their profession. Practice in this context is not restricted to the provision of direct clinical care. It also includes using professional knowledge (working) in a direct non-clinical relationship with clients, working in management, administration, education, research, advisory, regulatory or policy development roles, and any other roles that impact on the safe, effective delivery of services in the profession.

As a nurse or midwife, you may choose not to work in the profession for a variety of reasons (such as maternity leave, extended overseas travel, moving overseas, an extended career break or retirement), however, you may want to keep your registration. 

Under these circumstances, you must continue to complete CPD in relation to your context of practice. See section below on How do I describe my context of practice?. Remember that ‘context of practice’ is not restricted to providing direct clinical care. 

You may request to register as ‘non-practising’ – in this case you do not need to do CPD while you are on the non-practising register. For more information refer to the NMBA’s Fact sheet: Non-practising registration for nurses and midwives.

Context of practice refers to the conditions that define an individual’s nursing and/or midwifery practice. These include:

  • the type of practice setting (e.g. clinical care, management, administration, education, research)
  • the location of the practice setting (e.g. urban, rural, remote)
  • the characteristics of patients (e.g. health status, age, learning needs)
  • the focus of nursing and/or midwifery activities (e.g. health promotion, research, management)
  • the degree to which practice is autonomous, and
  • the resources that are available, including access to other healthcare professionals.

A template is provided in Appendix 1 which can be used to document your self-directed learning and CPD activities and reflections.

If you are selected for audit you will need to complete an audit checklist that outlines the documents you need to show as evidence of completing your CPD.

CPD records may include participation in the following activities:

  • tertiary, vocational and other accredited courses including distance education
    (should relate to context of practice)
  • conferences, forums, seminars and symposia
  • short courses, workshops, seminars and discussion groups through a professional group or organisation who may issue a certificate of compliance/completion
  • mandatory learning activities in the workplace in the area of practice
  • self-directed learning, and
  • any other structured learning activities not covered above.
Type of Registration Minimum Hours Total Hours
Registered nurse or Enrolled nurse 20 hours 20 hours
Midwife 20 hours 20 hours
Registered nurse and midwife Registered nurse - 20 hours

Midwife - 20 hours 
40 hours
Enrolled nurse and midwife Enrolled nurse - 20 hours

Midwife - 20 hours
40 hours
Nurse practitioner Registered nurse - 20 hours 

Nurse practitioner endorsement – 10 additional hours relating to prescribing and administration of medicines, diagnostics investigations, consultation and referral
30 hours 
Midwife practitioner Midwife - 20 hours 

Midwife endorsement - 10 additional hours relating to context of practice, prescribing and administration of medicines, diagnostics investigations, consultation and referral 
30 hours 
Midwife with scheduled medicines endorsement Midwife - 20 hours 

Scheduled medicines endorsement - 10 additional hours relating to context of practice, prescribing and administration of medicines, diagnostics investigations, and consultation and referral
30 hours 
Nurse and midwife with scheduled medicines endorsement Registered nurse - 20 hours/Enrolled nurse - 20 hours

Midwife - 20 hours

Scheduled medicines endorsement - 10 additional hours relating to context of practice, prescribing and administration of medicines, diagnostics investigations, consultation and referral.
50 hours

If CPD activities are relevant to both nursing and midwifery professions, those activities may be counted as evidence for both nursing and midwifery CPD hours. The activities should be relevant to your context of practice and improve your knowledge, expertise and competence as a nurse and midwife.

The NMBA recommends that you keep evidence of CPD, including self-directed learning, for a period of five years.

Your documentation of the identified learning need, a learning plan, your participation in the learning activity, and the outcome achieved will form the evidence of CPD you may need to provide. References to the articles that you have read are needed for self-directed activities.

The table in Appendix 1 gives you an example of how to enter information about your CPD activities.

No. The NMBA has the discretion to select a random number of nurses and midwives to be audited at any time.
You will need to show evidence that you have completed the requirements and provide a copy of your CPD plan for the previous year (1 June – 31 May).

Nurses and midwives need to speak to the relevant professional organisation to confirm the hours-equivalent of CPD from points they have completed.

Mandatory learning activities in the workplace can only be counted as CPD provided that they are relevant to your context of practice and where they include new learning. For example, routine annual CPR and mandatory fire training education cannot be counted; however, if there is something new in the mandatory training area for example COVID-19 pandemic education and training – in the initial stages of the pandemic then this could be claimed.

At the time of renewal, you need to make a declaration about your CPD. You can apply to the NMBA for an exemption in exceptional circumstances if you feel that you have not met your minimum hours for CPD. You may then be contacted to provide additional information. Following a review, the matter may be referred to the NMBA for consideration.

The registration standard states that the NMBA reserves the right to grant exemptions in individual cases. Refer to the Policy: exemption from continuing professional development for nurses and midwives.

Date Source
or provider details
Identified learning needs  Action plan Type of activity Description of topic (s) covered during activity and outcome Reflection on activity and specification to practice No./Title/
of evidence provided
CPD hours
17/5/19 NMBA RN standards for practice

Practises in accordance with legislation affecting nursing practice and health care.

Clarify responsibility for aspects of care with other members of the health team.

Unsure of my delegation responsibilities in the workplace.

Plan: Access and review decision making framework.

Self directed learning.

Review of NMBA decision making framework

Reviewed my scope of practice and the scope of practice for my  profession. Understood the principles I need to apply when making decisions about my nursing practice and when and how I decide to delegate activities to other registered nurses and enrolled nurses. This activity has enabled me to achieve my learning need as per my learning plan. As a team leader working in intensive care, I will be able to apply the Nursing decision-making framework when I allocate staff to patient care and delegate tasks as they arise during a shift. Refer to item 6 2 hrs
23/5/19 Advanced Life Support  in practice (XYZ provider) NA NA Workshop Advanced Life Support re-accreditation This activity provided me with new theory and a practical competence assessment in relation to advanced life support.  I will be able to apply this to patients in respiratory/cardiac arrest and when part of the medical emergency team. Refer to item 7

Certificate of attendance
3 hrs
30/5/19 Obstetric emergency Training (XYZ Provider) NA NA Workshop Obstetric Emergency re-accreditation This activity provided me with new theory and a practical competence assessment in obstetric emergencies. Refer to item 8 3 hrs
Page reviewed 18/06/2024