National registration update

cover Lamp April 2010

The new national registration scheme for nurses comes into effect 1 July this year.

From 1 July 2010, changes to the way nurses in Australia are registered come into effect.

As reported in previous issues of The Lamp, the Federal Government has passed legislation for 10 health professions, including nursing and midwifery, to be included in a national registration scheme.

The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia has been appointed to oversee the registration and accreditation of nurses. The Board has decided to have a State or Territory Board in every jurisdiction. In NSW it will be the NSW Nursing and Midwifery Council, which will manage health, performance and conduct matters under the NSW law.

So what’s new?

Fees

There will be a single national fee for all nurses and midwives (still to be determined), but NSW registrants will pay less because they will not be required to contribute to the costs of running the national complaints scheme.

‘We already have the NSW Healthcare Complaints Commission, which is funded by the State Government and during the consultation process we insisted we don’t pay for a national complaints handling process that none of our registrants have any involvement in,’ said NSWNA Assistant General Secretary Judith Kiejda. ‘So NSW registrants whose principal place of practice is NSW will receive a state rebate on the national fee.’

Mandatory notifications

One of the new aspects of the legislation for nurses and midwives in NSW is mandatory notifications. ‘This means if a nurse or midwife has a reasonable belief that another health practitioner is a threat to public safety, they are mandated to make a notification to the National Board,’ said Judith Kiejda. ‘This has been the case for doctors for years. It’s currently regarded as an obligation for nurses and midwives but has never been included in nursing legislation in NSW, only in a code of professional conduct.’

Members need not worry about being taken to court by the person they report. ‘It won’t be possible to sue nurses or midwives in such a case because the legislation protects them if a notification is made in good faith,’ said Judith, who added that a change in the law to provide for mandatory notification is a positive move.

‘It means nurses will be able to be open about these sorts of things and identify problems early. Nurses can be wary of the repercussions of such actions and it’s sometimes very difficult for them, so this is a stronger, more supported way of managing these issues. National Boards have developed clear, simple guidelines to support the notification process.’

Student registration

From 2011 a new category of student registration will be launched. ‘We now know the National Board proposes to register students of nursing and midwifery from the commencement of their program,’ said Judith Kiejda.

Students will not pay fees, nor be put on the public register. They also won’t be required to register individually: the education provider will forward all the names of those enrolled on courses to the Board. ‘The idea is that any impairment issues can be easily recognised and dealt with early while the student is still in the program,’ said Judith.

Update on mandatory registration standards

The final proposals for the five mandatory registration standards developed by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia in a public consultation process with the professions have been sent to the Australian Health Workforce Ministerial Council. Approval is expected in early April following a meeting of the Health Ministers.

‘The NSWNA and ANF engaged in a comprehensive review of the proposed standards and made extensive recommendations for the standards on behalf of our members,’ said Judith Kiejda.

Find out more

All proposals from the National Board and copies of all submissions are available on the Board’s website at www.nursingmidwiferyboard.gov.au

IMPORTANT!

The National Board will be writing to all current registrants to advise them of their registration category. It is essential that you make sure the contact details the Nurses and Midwives Board of NSW has for you are correct, or you will miss out on receiving vital information.