It’s that time of year again when the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) will be sending us reminders to renew our nursing and/or midwifery registration. If you’re an enrolled nurse (EN), registered nurse (RN), midwife or nurse practitioner (NP), you need to renew your registration before 31 May 2015, to be able to retain your right to practise as a regulated health practitioner.
The easiest way to renew is to use the on-line facility provided by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), the administrator for the NMBA. The on-line registration renewal process is now used by most nurses and midwives. A major benefit of this is that a wealth of information on nurses and midwives is now more readily available than was previously possible. This is particularly important for an organisation like the ANMF when we need timely, accurate data to advocate for the nursing and midwifery professions at the national level.
In December last year the NMBA published information from the national registration database* which showed there are currently 356,071 nurses and midwives registered in Australia. Within this total number there are approximately 33,500 who hold dual registrations. This is made up of:
• just under 4,000 who hold dual registration as an EN and an RN (EN/RN), and
• almost 29,500 who hold dual registration as a RN and Midwife (RN/M) (with a very small number holding EN and Midwife registration (EN/M)).
Dual registration as an EN/RN
With the introduction of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme on 1 July 2010, the NMBA recognised that nurses in a number of jurisdictions had been able to hold concurrent or dual registration as both a RN and an EN. Initially the NMBA determined this facility for concurrent registration should cease in 2014.
However, successful lobbying from the ANMF and others, and legal advice obtained by the NMBA, led to a reversal of this decision. While the numbers of nurses in this category appear small (as shown above) their dual registration status is seen as important to be retained either temporarily or on a permanent basis.
For example, an EN who has completed a Bachelor of Nursing and gained registration as an RN, may wish to maintain their registration as an EN at least for an interim period between completion of qualification and gaining employment as an RN. This is particularly pertinent in the situation of a recently graduated RN who may have a gap of some months or longer prior to being able to find a position in a transition to practice program or gain work in a supportive environment where they are employed as an RN. Dual registration has been the saving grace for hundreds of newly graduating RNs across the country. Those graduates who are also ENs have had the opportunity to continue to deliver safe and competent nursing care as an EN under the supervision and delegation of an RN, in this interim employment period. Dual registration has also served to avoid the necessity for the newly graduated RN to seek casual employment in an RN role in an often unpredictable and potentially stressful and unsupervised environment.
Dual registration as an RN/M
The ANMF Branch professional officers advise us that some RN/M members have received advice from State/Territory APHRA offices they should not maintain their dual registration. There is no legitimate reason for this and the ANMF strongly encourages members to retain dual registration as a registered nurse and a midwife.
While there is now a separate register for these two protected titles, there is only one fee. There are many work situations in which it can be advantageous to hold registration as both a nurse and a midwife, such as, rural, remote or isolated practice.
The NMBA’s fact sheet on Scope of practice for registered nurses and midwives provides information for renewal of registration for those who wish to retain dual registration as an RN/M. This includes meeting the requirements of mandatory registration standards as both a nurse and a midwife. The NMBA Fact sheet is clear that you can make a case regarding common elements for work and education across your role as a nurse and a midwife. This specifically applies to demonstrating having met continuing professional development and recency of practice requirements.
Members are encouraged to contact their ANMF Branch staff if assistance is required in renewing dual registrations for EN/RN or EN/M or RN/M.
NMBA Board elections
The NMBA National and State/Territory Boards work under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act 2009 in achieving the primary function of protection for the public. Information on these Boards is outlined at: www.nursingmidwiferyboard.gov.au/About/Board-Members/Being-a-Board-member.aspx. Board appointees serve three year terms and any nurse or midwife is eligible. So, when elections are open, put in your application and get on Board!
For more information on all of the above go to: www.nursingmidwiferyboard.gov.auReference:
Julianne Bryce, Elizabeth Foley and Julie Reeves
Federal Professional Officers