Re-entry to practice consultation


The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia recently released a consultation paper on a draft re-entry to practice framework. The NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association has responded to this with a submission – these are the main arguments we put to them:

We thought that the National Board’s suggested changes would improve the process for individuals seeking to return to the professions, to some extent. They have also offered a category of provisional registration in order to allow suitable applicants to complete a period of supervised practice – we applaud that move. The establishment of this registration, in our view, creates a paid model of re-entry which is of vital importance to many nurses and midwives wishing to re-enter the workforce.

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We also noted that the document provided little guidance for those like ourselves who are not seeking to undertake clinical work. We also made the point that the NSW Board adopts a very narrow definition of practice and is therefore inconsistent with other jurisdictions. We asked for this situation to be addressed as it is unacceptable as it stands.

We complained about the Board’s imposition of an arbitrary period of 12 months to complete a period of supervised practice, particularly for those nurses and midwives with family responsibilities and/or disabilities. There is no evidence to support why the period of supervised practice has to be completed within this strict timeframe. The Board’s rationale (unsupported by evidence) is that the timeframe is necessary to ensure that the nurse/midwife’s knowledge is consolidated.

Previous Nurse Uncut blog posts on this issue:

Recency of practice: Jodi’s story

Recency of practice: Alice’s story

National registration for nurses

Frustration over new national registration

Unnecessary hurdles for nurses wanting to return to work

Unnecessary hurdles part 2

Return to nursing? Not at $10,000


  1. I am a child and family health nurse and this year was trying to find a way to go back to midwifery. I have not worked as a midwife for 14 years and understand I would need to do some form of refresher but I have discovered this is not offered anywhere in NSW. I have continued to work with mothers and babies in my current role but have been told I would have to redo the whole course again. I still have my registration because of the work I do. Would be good to have some re-entry courses available .

  2. Meagan and any other midwives who need to do re-entry – if you are a member of the NSWNMA please contact us as we need to gather midwives in your situation in order to make a case for the refresher course. Contact Angela on

  3. I work full-time via agency in critical care areas (and anywhere the administration sends me). Have done this since 2001.
    I left full-time employ in 1987 but started a business, so maintained my link via agency work.
    In 2000, despite it not being a requirement, I decided to do a general refresher course, to see if there were any lost bits of knowledge that may be important.

    It was a worthwhile event, but extremely boring and expensive. The 6 weeks was a waste and I am sure that had I simply been put on a ward, I would have a) contributed immediately to the workforce and b) learnt more than I did in the classroom. Then there is c) I would have been paid wages, making the effort worthwhile.

    Today there is continued banter about the poor overseas workers getting ripped off by the 457 VISA.
    Stuff those poor foreigners, who actually get a good wage even when ripped off!
    (I can say this as I too was a ‘boat person’ although my parents paid the way.)

    There is a $10,000 retraining fee for nurses (who also have to work for free on placements). Where is the union about this manipulation of free labour (call it slave labour!)?

    All nursing students, speech pathologists etc and other health care workers who do their 4-5 year university degrees at the end have to finish with a 5 month placement term and various facilities, working full-time, totally unpaid(but still have to pay rent, food, transport etc).

    Where are the unions and media and politicians regarding this rip-off?

    Make 2014 the year to change this…

  4. I’ve also posted elsewhere on this, but here is appropriate too.

    As a member of the public, I do not want any re-entry nurse caring for a member of my family (or anyone for that matter) unless they have received a rigorous examination of their competency and been re-trained in contemporary practice.

    The components of such courses are reviewed and approved by AHPRA and their associated board, solely to protect the public, not benefit the nurse.

    If you don’t believe this is worth the charge for the course, then this is just another symptom of a profession that now believes itself to be entitled to a range of privileges that no other profession is granted.

    And please, no moans about your pay: on an hourly basis nurses receive much higher pay that the average Australian.

  5. I have an issue with Victor’s comment above. Nurses are entitled to the same treatment as other professions, at the very least, and I have no idea what the extra ‘privileges’ are that you are referring to.

    Medical practitioners returning to the workforce after a break are usually required to spend a certain amount of time under (paid) supervised practice. They are not required to spend $10,000 on a refresher course or anything close to that amount. So why should nurses?

  6. And Victor… Nurses deserve all the pay they earn and more. Nurses are heroes in my eyes… I am amazed to witness the heroic actions nurses perform every day (I am a Wardsman in a public hospital). Some days our hospitals resemble a warzone and these amazing nurses come back day after day to make a positive contribution and literally save lives. We all owe a serious debt to the nurses amongst us. They are the real workers of the medical field.

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