Return to nursing? Not at $10,000!


Guest post by Gordo.

We are forever being told there is a nursing shortage and both state and Federal Governments talk about getting nurses back to work…

Well, our new National Registration body is referring former Registered Nurses to a leading NSW supplier of Nurse Education to do an eight week  Assessment of Competence course, which requires the nurse to work for 150 hours for no wages.

And if that’s not outrageous enough: the cost is $10,000!

So, you may have completed your BN or diploma some years ago and left the workforce for children perhaps, having in mind that one day you will return to nursing. Fair enough. I’m sure there have been thousands of female nurses who have taken long maternity breaks and later successfully returned to work (at no or little cost to themselves).

In NSW, we are conned by NSW Health that there is a $6000 bounty for returning to the public sector – but only after working fulltime for 18 months straight (no annual leave to be taken).

APHRA now says there is a competency requirement before returning to the workforce after five years. That’s fair enough, but there are no ‘free’ Public Health training facilities, as there used to be – not even the Area Health services will be offering ‘free’ training any more (as an employee).

Previously, many returning nurses gained employment and refreshed their nursing skills in the workplace – often called  on-the-job training. Now the cost is a mandatory $10,000 because there is only one provider (I can’t name that provider – for obvious reasons).

How is that fair?

How is that going to convince former Registered Nurses to re-enter the nursing workforce? Is there something here that doesn’t quite sound right? $10,000 plus you work for NSW Public Health for 150 hours, with no pay!

Feedback and opinions please!

Image credit:



  1. God this is outrageous, I don’t even know where to start. I’m registered in Qld and up until a couple of years ago, was an RN for 15 years or so but left for another career move. Up until then there were a few hospitals offering refresher courses but they were dwindling then so I’m sure we’ll be in the same boat soon.

    I simply do not understand why the government isn’t more supportive of nurses. Who do they think will look after all these aging people we keep hearing about? Their families? *snorts*

    • I have read all if this and can’t believe it! We all have different struggles. I am lucky that I still work as a nurse. But even so, I keep getting directed to do a refresher or re-skilling programme. I couldn’t believe it, two years ago I was told I needed to do a Bachelor of Nursing. I said to this individual, ‘I have done a Bachelor of Nursing’. I just want to transition from one area of nursing to another.
      I can’t get anyone to employ me. Everyone wants no less than twelve months or two years recent experience of acute nursing. I am willing to bite the bullet and do a refresher programme to obtain my goal. I haven’t stopped working. I just want to change my pathway. If I have to stay in Mental Health for the remainder of my nursing days I will simply leave nursing.
      I applied to get into a refresher programme at a large metropolitan hospital. I couldn’t believe it – I didn’t even get accepted. They were going to put 20 nurses through the programme. Who wouldn’t want a general nurse with mental health qualifications in this day and age with all the behavioural issues, personality disorders and people behaviourally effected from ICE? I was blown away especially seeing as I have never stopped working as a nurse. If anyone has any suggestions that don’t cost a fortune I would love to hear them.

  2. Oh, so this is how they’re going to fix the health budget is it? Get them all to work for free………no wait, get them to PAY for the privilege! Even better!

    They need to stop treating nurses like dirt and put them on the pedestal they deserve.

    • Hi, this has been a long fight for me to get back to nursing. I was an RN in Queensland with experience in the US and UK over 13 years before I had my children. When I was ready to return when my children were little, I applied to Queensland Nursing Council and was accepted to do a 3 month course with Competency Assessment Service. My youngest daughter became very ill with anorexia and the next 6 years were taken up with NG feeds and kangaroo pumps in my home. Two years ago I reapplied, to find this service is now gone. APHRA said I have no choice but to do my Bachelor of Nursing. Griffith decided to not credit me any time for my past learning so I have to do the full 3 years. I began my degree this year and I am really enjoying it. But, at 49 with a mortgage and fulltime work, fulltime study. My husband left me at Christmas time and left me with 3 daughters, 2 also in fulltime study. I am now selling my home to continue so I can finish my degree and go back to nursing. It is what I have always wanted to do and they are making it so hard. Sometimes I really feel like giving up but I can’t see any way out of my situation.

      • OMG. I can’t believe that my hard-earned Registered Nurse training at the Royal Brisbane Hospital can be considered basically null and void. Is it true that I will have to go back to uni to do my degree or do a $10,000 refresher course? I was paid approximately that to work fulltime as a first year student nurse, all year. And work we all did and studied hard for 3 full years. Assessments were carried out on the wards and were relevant to the theoretical and practical content of our course, by fulltime nurse educators. We saw everything we possibly could in our training and they are skills and clinical procedures that are not easily forgotten. Then would I have to work in a Qld public hospital, supernumary for 6 weeks? I truly can’t believe that so much money is being wasted on “beautifying hospitals” and various other non-patient centred projects. The return of a basic apprenticeship or certificate in nursing, offered by all the major hospitals, would suit so many empathetic and practical school-leavers. How did the Government have the money to pay and educate @600 student nurses a year since the “beginning of nursing” per major hospital before it was shifted to a university degree? Am very disillusioned with the path that lies ahead and the poor quality of care I have seen in both hospitals and aged-care facilities over the last decade.

      • Yes, I was offered a nursing position in a women’s Drug and Alcohol rehab in 2012 to do telephone assessments and medications. The DON offered me this job as I had been working there as a Family Support Worker and she was sick of getting agency staff without any experience. I had kept my registration going since 1990, had done courses at the College of Nursing Burwood. I put a hold on my career to have 7 children, always knowing I would return to nursing when they had gotten older! I had 3 certificates – Coronary Care, Acute Care and General. I was told last year that I didn’t meet the criteria and would have to hand in my registration. I ended up writing many letters, with my wish to work and ended up going to the Nurses Tribunal where I was shot down in flames and not even given a chance to do a refresher course – they suggested I get a barrister! Terrible to be treated like this and not even given a chance to work , especially when a position was available for me.
        With nurse shortages and backpackers on the wards, I feel this was a terrible insult to me and all the other wonderful nurses that decided to have a family or live in areas not close to a hospital.

        • I had the same happen to me, I have Coronary Care, Acute Care & Management & 36 years nursing, they will not consider my years of service & told me in a dismissive tone to go back to University & do my degree again because I had a break for 5 years ~ absolutely disgusting how the Nursing Board is treating its graduates ~ I am so annoyed with APHRA for this happening ~

    • I’m amazed .. have 40yrs in many areas & a BA originally hospital trained but needed time off & now it seems impossible to make a living .. Nurses are not the wealthy elite … no income ! Work for free ! Find accommodation ! Pay 10k plus always hidden extras not to mention car park fees ! I did reconnect early 2000s before & it was free ! .. if the government doesn’t supply Australian nurses with refresher courses after a break … I see a very poor outcome in our hospitals ! Remember we have years of experience … just need to top up new clinical protocols

  3. Now why am I not surprised the whole system is going down the toilet – excuse my analogy – but I have been nursing for just on 40 years and I suppose I shall get the old “here goes another old codger again” bit but hey I don’t care anymore because guess what…..
    I feel really sorry for the younger staff I really do care what about what they are about to inherit as I have done a fair bit of tertiary work and know how hard they do it these days.
    Now for the powers that be in their ivory towers to dictate this rot to us oldies, the newbies, and the would like to come back (don’t know why -probably financial driven) is a slap in the face, and to add insult to injury they are going to charge individuals for coming back to keep a failing system going.
    As for money that is all that the “powers” care about – I have to laugh when they go on about clinical excellence etc etc ad nauseum – nothing could further from their
    For me if I was outside NO amount of money would induce me to return – unless I was psychologically compromised of course! I personally think that the unions push for more money is out of touch with the reality and that conditions are what we alll want to be put right – do they really think that being paid more for being overworked, frustrated, and having no job satisfaction is going to make our working conditions / feelings any better – because if they do then they are sadly mistaken.
    I cannot believe the bureacracy and absolute nonsense that we have to put up with at work, and it’s getting increasingly difficult to find any worth while reason to be there especially whn we are being snowed under with ever increasing torrents of paperwork and mandatory activities – notably OH&S issues.
    I once read in the Lamp a Nurse Manager saying that we are swimming in paperwork – now we’re treading water.
    I tell my colleagues at work I go from one universe to another when I step into the facility where I work and then return to planet Earth when I go home – well that’s what it feels like anyway.
    Well enough of my rant just suffice to say that the ONLY consolation are the times that one can make someone laugh, ease their pain (physical or psychological), and generally make their situation a little more bearable than it is.
    *Very disappointed*

  4. Those of you who attended the Rural Delegates Forum yesterday ( 18th. Jan. ) at the NSWNA HQ who had heard me name the ” leading NSW Nursing education institution ” concerned. I still don’t want to be seen to ‘name & shame ‘ them at this point ( again, unclear about if such would constitute ‘ defamation ‘ ).

    However, a senior staffer of the NSWNA has taken up the case, and will be investigating my concerns ( and I’m sure most of you are also concerned ).

    At the Meeting, we were informed, that as far as the Association was aware, there will be more than one single provider of this type of course, leading to a recommendation to APHRA, that a candidate for Nursing Registration has met all the requirements.

    $10,000. is just an outrageous figure !!! A $525. deposit ( query if non refundable ? ), and the balance prior to course commencement…..

    I got the feeling, that the NSWNA may be somewhat embarressed by this matter. That it should have been ‘ picked up ‘ before now.

    I’m sure we will be more than pleased, to have our Association ‘ go into bat ‘ for ALL NURSES on this issue. We need additional Nurses in the workforce. We need people to come back to Nursing – even as part time & casuals – but not at a personal cost of ten grand !! ( and the 150 hours of unpaid work doesn’t sound an incentive either !! )

    Quite a busy time at NSWNA HQ. Thanks for all the hard work from our elected officers, and their support staff. We need someone to keep up the pressure on so many issues in Nursing.


    • Concur Gordo..l was a secondary schoo, teacher in a past life…strange..people leave teaching and return..Yes! there are documents
      to complete and very modest (like a few $100.00) for Registration…nothing like $10,000. Until nurses have the same standing and financial / professional recognition as teachers then few, long term, will stay let alone return to begin again. My wife is still teaching and they experince very tough situations…thye are now finding they few graduates stay longer than 5 years….the rewards do not equate with the efforts. If the latter is balanced then it will be a VERY unstable labour market and conditions of eomplyment and the culture of the
      workplace will slide negatively. Notice that this is happening in nursing ? Next? Well then organisations look around for staff that will tolerate such shifting changes in employment/workplace culture? Could this be the reason why their are so many international nurses
      in our work places…why organisations are contracting and recruiting form SE Asian and African countries.

      A parallel change in workplace culture..simple scenario: When l was a youth 99% of taxis were driven by Australian nationals, English and and Italian migrants…now 99% of taxis are driven by Indian people…they will work for $7.00 an hour in Melbourne….on a conract…
      casualised employees…such is the drift in many organisations..the goal? 60% of the total workforce to be employed on a
      casual/part-time basis ….and all on contracts. This was in the management literature in the 1980’s…l know l used to lecture in
      management at university. Australia is alomost there more than 40% of our workforce is casualised..and there is a greater
      increase in part-time employment than full time emplyment…and youth find it almost impossible to acquire entry level ocupations …
      even with a degree…such is out changing world Better world: ?

      Kind regards: Paul a new nurse
      so many organisations as we ‘drift; in cutting wages and salaries and chnaging workplace conditions to a olwere standard

  5. so……………. i currently work in a specialised community nursing setting, have done so for 18 years does this mean if i want to return ( as I am considering) to the acute care sector I am up for these costs………… refresh!!!

  6. Well if you think $10,000 and 150 hrs practice no pay is bad, try being 46 and doing 15mths at TAFE travel and accomodation at your own expense , $10,000, course Div 4 Nursing diploma $12000 , 690 hrs clinical practice unpaid, and working in between to pay the bills , it’s all about the poor RN’s what about the worker bees the EN’s? don’t we need them anymore? you have to be super dedicated to stick it out.

    • Really? These people are talking about having gone to uni already then having to pay $10,000 to refresh. I’m at uni to be a tn. I’m paying $20,000 for the course, $100 a week in daycare, $1000 a year in textbooks and well over 1000 hours of unpaid prac. Stop complaining. You can complain when you have done all this THEN have to go back again!

  7. Yes, I also have been thinking of returning to nursing in NSW. Re-connect it seems is now defunct so I have approached APHRA…still waiting to hear from them, however I thought the only NSW provider, the College of Nursing fees were annoyingly $3,000… it seems ludicrous with the so-called shortage of nurses to now find this amount could be as high as $10,000. I think I will now have to reconsider my options. Lucky me I have other options…now I just have to hope I keep healthy!

  8. The esteemed college in NSW is a waste of time, save your pennies, AHPRA take at least 10 days to answer enquries, the premier education body in nsw is far more insterested in OQN’s for refresher’s/ have been there last year the course has no practical whatsoever and uses scenes from “all saint’s” as training material. I am sure that is not of national standard. Give me a break using a defunct soap opera to refresh people’s knowlege on how to write a report……

  9. Well after 41 years of full time nursing and three post graduate degrees 17 of those years studying (at my own expense)while raising 3 children I can say I have seen some changes in the world of health. Even if you wanted to work who wants to wait the 9 weeks of the recriutment process. I work in a rural area despirate for staff and recruitment is a chellenge due to lack of funding . Have our conditions improved? in 1970 I worked on a 28 bed ward with 2 RNs and 2 ENs now I work in the community with over 200 clients with 3 staff, you do the sums. Who would want to PAY to return AND work for FREE for the priveledge. Take away the penalty rates and you will think twice. My children earn more per hour base rate and don’t have to put up with bullying, work place abuse or finishing work at 11pm or do shift work. More nurses are leaving the industory then are staying, we need to bring the training back to the hospitals and encourage experienced staff to stay as well as pay staff to return I know of NO other job where the employee has to pay the employer to work, thats what it amounts to. And the NSWNA want us to support the labour govt to continue this poor performance of social & ecconomic abuse…. get a grip, the only thing that kept me here was the people I have helped but I am now looking outside health for a job so, another one bites the dust who cares?? not labour

    • I have been a nurse since I was 17, I did 3 years hospital-based training at Prince Henry/Prince of Wales Hospitals. I am also a midwife, training at Gosford Hospital. I worked as a casual RN at Gosford hospital from 1990 to 2007. At that time I left after my mother died and left me an inheritance. Well, that money didn’t last more than a few years and I wanted to go back to work. AHPRA informed me that because I had been out of the workforce for more than five years I would have to apply for a 2 month competency and Assessment course at a cost of $10,000! I felt hugely offended at this – despite the time away I felt that my skills were still very fresh in my mind, as a matter of fact I felt confident enough to do a shift the next day if I was asked to. How does a competent and experienced clinical nurse forget these skills in just 5 years and even more ridiculous to accept nurses from uni who have had very little patient contact and virtually have to learn on the job anyway.
      So, to get any kind of nursing position I had to do a Certificate III in Aged Care, this led me to a job with an agency as a respite worker, a job that I love, work on my own with the client, can give quality care and constantly told how grateful the carers are to have me. It’s strange that when I was working as an RN I would dread going to work because of the workload and stress, but I now miss the chaos … maybe it’s a feeling of accomplishment and pride at how good I was at this job and that amazing feeling at the end of a shift – but is that enough to make me want to go back to it? This whole affair is just too ridiculous, don’t the hospitals want experienced staff or do they want to employ Hospital Services Assistants cert III to work as bedside nurses? I don’t even qualify to work as an AIN in a hospital as I don’t have this higher education.
      I think the way it is going that the patients may have to rely on their family and friends to give them personal care otherwise they will not be showered or fed. The nurse has always been looked at as taking on a slave-like role and the general public are not aware of all the clinical care that has to be given along with bugging doctors to order care and review patients and listening to relatives nagging and wanting test results ASAP, when it is not the nurse’s role but the doctor’s.
      Unfortunately we are on the front line, those who answer the phones after hours, so we cop it. Something needs to be done or mistakes will be made as the hospitals are now staffed with ENs, AINs and newbie RNs. There are plenty of people with the skills and knowledge I have that should be welcomed back into the health system. It needs to change.

  10. My wife is (was) an Australian midwife. She left Sydney to join me in the U.S where she studied and obtained a Registered Nurse degree. She then practiced for a few years until she became pregnant and raised two children. Now back in sydney and would like to reconnect to the profession that gave her so much satisfaction in Australia and the U.S. Being out for over 10 years, she has been told she needs to obtain a new degree. Not one year. Not $10k. A new degree. She is one of those old people – 45 – who wants to help people – and the government doesn’t want her. She was really good at helping the sick. Such a waste. Thank you Julia and Tony and the union. In America we looked with admiration at a people who were friendly, good natured, hard working and fair. Where and when did Australia lose its soul??

  11. Well, thank you all for your words of wisdom. You should all be holding posts at APHRA AND NSWNA AND DEPT OF HEALTH.
    I could relate to every letter that was written.
    I trained as an RN( General) but want(ted) to return to nursing to work in Mental Health. Yes, I can hear you saying WHY?? I care.
    I also worked overseas. I have many areas and years of experience Hey! I was enthusiastic.Then the grim reaper arrived. I’m reconsidering. I was coming back to help .Sorry, was that the wrong thing to say?

  12. I was a hospital trained registered psych nurse in Qld, and after a 10 year break (raising my children), I want to return to nursing. APHRA have told me that Qld has no return to nursing programs and I must complete a full bachelor of nursing degree (3yrs) in order to be re-registered. I would then need to do a master’s of mental health to be mental health certified. Now that’s crazy! That’s right start at the beginning with no credit given for prior learning or 10 years 11 years experience. So right now the $10000 and 150 hours sounds pretty good – only they don’t offer that in QLD.

    • @ Margie-you must be joking! APRAH told you would have to do another BA Nursing Course and then an MA to work in Mental Health??? Insanity! In NZ they have this comprehensive nurse programme where they do 90% general nursing and merely pay lip service to mental health, then once qualified a grad’ nurse can go straight into mental health nursing. Even after 10 years out of nursing I know of nurses who did the return to nursing course over there, (which is also general nursing biased), then walked into jobs in Mental Health!
      I will probably get slammed for saying this but I don’t think that the quality of nursing has benefitted from its obsession with the Ivory Towers of Academia. Having a BA or MA or PH.D does not a good nurse make! Those essential, old fashioned nursing qualities like compassion, empathy, unconditional positive regard, being none judgemental, a sense of humour etc seem to have become obsolete in a nursing world obsessed with status and academic qualifications!

      • Digressing I do agree with you that I can see issues with relatively new nurses pursuing academic qualifications to fast track themselves up the ranks, just to gain extra pay and power. Some already have done this and they don’t even have empathy or truly understand what is important in nursing such as knowing how to use the nursing process well. I think there is a risk of them becoming incompetent managers who try to get rid of anyone that makes them feel uncomfortable, because they realise that the latter is actually better at their job, than what they are. I think practical experience counts for so much more.

  13. Heartfelt agreement with the suggestion that the NSWNA is out of touch by persisting in wage claims. Don’t they realize that retention rates in all areas of nursing would be improved if working conditions were improved?

  14. I am in the same boat.Have not practised as an RN since 2006 as I have taken time off to raise kids.Contacted AHPRA yesterday only to be told my registration will not be granted and the only way I can go back as an RN is to do a $10,000 course in Burwood ,or go back and redo my nursing degree all over again.15 years of nursing experience and a degree now WORTHLESS..So wrong

    • There are many faults in the ‘process’, least of all the lack of transparency shown by AHPRA, I already knew about recency of practice and the enormous financial cost involved before I started the re-registration process… I voiced these concerns to AHPRA and their response lead me to believe that perhaps things weren’t as grim as I first thought, thus I proceded with my application hoping for the best. If AHPRA had been upfront with me I would have not proceded with my application, but I was assured that it was a case-by-case basis so I faithfully proceeded, thinking that perhaps there were things I hadn’t considered that could be proven favourable (in my ‘unique’ case).
      Maybe this train of thought was naive on my part, but things had changed since I was last registered (sadly not for the best).

      I contacted the Nurses Association (as suggested in a blog) and was dumbfounded by their lack of response. I am no longer a member because I have not renewed in the 7 years I have taken to raise a family, consequently, they refused to even put my call through because of this, so not only am I faced with a financial burden if I choose to proceed with my application, but there is also no support from people who are in a position to do exactly that. This leads me to believe that you are only valued as a nurse if you are registered, is this really what it boils down to?

      They are crying out for nurses and yet those who have had years of experience and have grown exponentially through raising a family and life in general don’t get a look in. I know I’m not alone in thinking that my experience of life outside nursing can only enhance my skills as a registered nurse, albeit it is hard to measure a factor which is grossly undervalued. I find it ironic that nursing was made a bachelor degree to bring it in line with other professions and yet this piece of paper is null and void in as little as five years if an RN hasn’t practiced in that time.
      30% of the nursing population are due to retire in the next few years. The nursing profession is in strife and needs a major overhaul. The solution to the shortage of nurses is so simple it’s embarrassing….support those who are willing to return to nursing by via a buddy programme or by competencies. Nursing is a caring profession, but who is caring about the nurses…..not the powers that be, that’s for sure.
      Very disheartened by the process and by those who in my mind only hinder the integrity of the nursing profession. I used to think that nursing was all about best practice, but now I have no confidence that this is at the heart of things at all.

  15. APHRA keep saying, ‘you were all told’… or ‘you were supposed to have known this was coming’…Sadly, it seems people DID NOT know this was coming. It clearly has caught many off guard.
    The odd thing about APHRA ( one of many odd things, that is ), they have pages and pages of ‘Standards of Practice’ and ‘Codes of Conduct’ listed on their website. Where is THEIR code of conduct in the way they treat people ??

  16. Firstly, I don’t think it is unreasonable to require some recency of practice to re-register. My understanding is that it is 3 months work in the last 5 years. I don’t think that is much to require from skilled health professionals. I discussed this recently with a canadian nurse and he told me that in Canada the requirement is much more onerous.

    What I do think is unacceptable is that this recency of practice requirement has been retrospectively applied to nurses who took their breaks thinking they would be able to return without all this hassle. Something must be done for these nurses.
    I think there should be a transition period where these nurses have the opporunity to have their skills assessed (for free) in NSW Health facilities to see if they actually need to undertake a re-entry program.

    As far as the College of Nursing goes, clearly they are making hay while the sun shines. Hopefully there will be some providers accredited by AHPRA to compete with them. NSW Health should enter the market with a re-connect type arrangement.

    Sometimes I think that many nurses want all the benefits that come from being recognised as professionals without any of the costs. Highly skilled professionals should undertake CPD and maintain recency of practice. We talk constantly about how nursing care and skills are so valuable yet many nurses seem to resent the idea that their skills & expertise must develop & be kept up to date. I think that this requirement is a step forward for the profession. But obviously there needs to be arrangements made for nurses who have been disadvantaged.

  17. “Highly skilled professionals should undertake CPD and maintain recency of practice.”

    No doubt about it.

    I don’t have an issue with a requirement to keep up to date with professional skills nor to have relevant recent practice. I would certainly want those things before I returned to an occupation I’d been out of for a number of years.

    My issue is the amount of money NSW nurses are expected to pay to re-train – $10,000 is a lot of money. I don’t think nurses should be paid to do a refresher course but I do think it should be free of charge while re-training or at least a reasonable amount ($1-2K maybe), as long as there is a reasonable time frame of practice/qualifications. Insofar as Canada or other countries, I don’t really care about them; Australia is my country and up until ten years ago or so, Australian nurses were respected enough to be encouraged back to the profession after time away – now they’re being dismissed.

    Nor is it particularly beneficial to advise a professional who has undergone tertiary education 10-15 years ago that another option is to start again from scratch. If it was me, I’d be going back to uni alright, but I’d be doing another course entirely, one with no shift work, no bad attitude towards workers and better pay – what’s the point of redoing a BN?

    I’m really glad I did my masters degree 5 years ago – in another occupation. This type of thing is so depressing. My last nursing practice was 2 years ago and I have no plans to return.

    • I had a rude awakening after a few years out of hospital having and raising my children, to start back on a re connect program, to find at the end of it, I could not gain permanent employment that took another 3 years, withing 6mths , I quit, and went into general practice, oh I learn’t alot about the MBS and billing of Drs to medicare, the subtle way a consultation is billed can increase the payment to the doctor for printing a routine blood test and immunisations they bill medicare for our services, whislt they walk into another consult, all the time being paid for the work we do and we are on an hourly rate, the final straw came when, I was to on sell vaccinations for a profit, being an old lady, I thought stuff it back to Uni to do something , to increase my understanding of something completely new but related to understanding to the full extent how badly run the health systems are making the model totally unattractive to newcomers, funly enough I did my under grad nursing at sydney Uni those 400 funded places when the course ended , were never delegated out to other universities(UTS or UWS) they just ended, never to be replaced till now, so in real terms the govt saved since Sydney stopped its under grad nursing course, expenditure on 400 nurses the interest on the money kept in limbo for all these years pays for the 1000 extra it nominally already new it could afford, at a Union push , by the Interest gained on the original loss of 400 from the BN @ Sydney, Now my Major is Accounting and Business

  18. To nullify qualifications and diverse nursing experience that I and many women often have had to set aside for the period of childbearing and childrearing, displays a disconnect by AHPRA regarding women’s competing work and childbearing /childrearing paradigms, realities regarding shortcomings in nursing retention rates, verisimilitude and deficits within the public health system and an organisation oblivious to the emergence of an aging population in Australia.

  19. Laverne,

    In order to undertake ‘refresher’ training, you still need to be ‘registered’ ( as an RN for example ).
    My wife was refused the opportunity to re-registered, and go and get that refresher training. That’s one of many issues…
    she also told AHPRA, that they made an error. She last worked as an RN four years ago, not five. They still refused to accept that, and still struck her off !!

    • Gordo

      Did your wife present any employment statement/s to prove her dates of employment? AHPRA would need to take that into consideration – surely?

      I hate to say this, and I could be out of line, but it seems only young nurses need apply these days … maybe ‘older’ (older than, say 30s which isn’t old at all) nurses are being discouraged from returning to nursing. Ironic really when the government keeps ramming down our throat how most of us will be working until we’re 70 or so. That’s great and all, but not if employers aren’t willing to hire you because they have an agenda for a younger demographic in the occupation.

      • even more ironic when recent surveys continue to show the average age of nurses is over 40 and getting older. the young are to smart, they can earn more in better conditions and they do.

      • Digressing I do agree with you that I can see issues with relatively new nurses pursuing academic qualifications to fast track themselves up the ranks, just to gain extra pay and power. Some already have done this and they don’t even have empathy or truly understand what is important in nursing such as knowing how to use the nursing process well. I think there is a risk of them becoming incompetent managers who try to get rid of anyone that makes them feel uncomfortable, because they realise that the latter is actually better at their job, than what they are. I think practical experience counts for so much more.

  20. You’re real close there Emma.

    I’ve had this conspiracy theory for years… Nursing is ‘costed’ towards a workforce of RNs years 1 -3. When you get to experienced – you cost too much. But due to the poor financial management of NSW Health, you hear stories of these first / second year RNs doing ‘overtime’, and their managers falsely claiming, there is a ‘Nursing shortage’ ( which there most certainly is not ).
    My wife provided all documentation over a period of a full twelve months. The word is CORRUPTION … AHPRA is a totally corrupt and incompetant organisation. It’s as simple as that. nobody can do anything about them. They are an ‘exempt’ authority from the most basic and reasonable system of accountability.

    • If we do have to retrain then our wages must go back down to RN or RM year 1, which means they are paying an experienced person at new graduate rates!

  21. OMG ! So it’s on yet again and theyNSW HD insist we stay educated;attend mandatory training etc. Then treat murses like fools. Who would want to function at this low rate of the $? Study,get qialified and then shot for it in the hip-pocket; you have to be joking!!
    So may qualified nurses at all levels with great expertise who can impart ot new grads on the Wards never return and can’t be replaced. N S W HD is a joke and no Govt. Libs or Labor can repair this.
    AND what or who is aged? Give me a legal statement on it please Minister? 6 years is aged if 4 weeks is young. Just how stupid are they? It is the system that was not nurse-made; it was imposed on us. YUK!!

    Industrial action is needed right now against N S W State Govt or WorkChoices will get back in place so fast. Tony Abbott wants to be ‘another John Howard’ NOT ON YOUR NELLY…what a jurk-guy he is.

  22. I did my RMN(Registered Mental Health) training in the UK 16 years ago, and worked full time up until moving over to NZ in 2003. As my children were young, I had no support network, we were living rural with no public transport etc, I decided to stay at home and be a full time mum. I was out of Nursing for 4 years, but was very fortunate to return to nursing without any fuss. I worked for 3 months on a part time basis, then we moved overseas again and I decided to train in the complementary health care field. We have now moved over to Queensland, and for some crazy reason, I really would like to return to mental health nursing! Of course I realise that I would have to do a Return to Nursing course, but can I find one? APRAH have informed me that they are no longer running any Refresher or Return to Nursing Courses in the whole of Queensland, nor can I find any training establishment inter-state that is running Distance learning courses.
    To make things just that more infuriating, I cannot even get an AIN position in Care of the Elderly as I do not have a Cert III in Aged Care, nor have I been considered for Support Worker positions in mental health, as I do not have the appropriate certificate there either! Obviously a DipHE in Mental Health Studies and over a decade of experience in acute, secure and rehab count for very little here in Queensland!

  23. Well this EN who was out of the workforce for a while can only find work as a CSE even though I am still registered with AHPRA as an EN. I cannot do a Medication Endorsement course to increase my options of employment and use the skills i have gained in over 20 years of nursing in public hospitals because I have no recent qualifications and will have to do the full EEN course. If I did find somewhere which will allow me to do the course [and I did find one TAFE facility who would] I have been advised that I cannot have my registration endorsed by AHPRA unless I have recent EN qualifications
    I have been told by the management of my workplace that I am able to work UP to my qualifications. I have told then that unless they pay me the right hourly rate for using my qualifications then it won’t be happening. Hate “dumbing myself down” but I have bills to pay and it was a job I could get. Although I have impeccable work references, excellent knowledge and skills each interview I have been to have said that they can’t employ me over someone who is recently qualified. I am fearful of the future of nursing in all areas. I have a 12 month plan of being out of nursing altogether and working in another industry. This breaks my heart because I love being a nurse and still take great pride in my job but the feeling of being undervalued because of having older qualifications is too much. Experience just does not count for anything anymore.

  24. And I do have to ask what is MY union doing to assist those of us in this position? It seems that it is a very great number of us. Don’t we count?

  25. This thread is likely to become the most important and most responded to thread on Nurse Uncut…

    It shows just how important this issue is. It shows, that Nursing has become the subject of ‘red tape’ and Government ‘over’ regulation, in preference to staff rights’ and working conditions.

    I would actually prefer, to be paid what I currently am, and stay on the current RN8 pay, rather than have my peers forced out of the profession, for the only real reason, of pure ‘red tape’. We need to take control of this situation. The collective power of all state Nursing unions ( to include the ANF ), and pressure the Government to ‘look closer’ at the REAL effect their ‘over-regulation’ has had on both current and former Nurses. There are still people only realising now, just what these rules and laws a mean…. the loss of their ability to go back to work.

    I didn’t actually realise, the new cost of being an EN… yes, the cost is far more than returning to be being an RN. The position of attracting former Nurses back to the profession is nothing more than a HOAX…. the obvious reality is, that the Government has priced most people out of that decision, and for others, the time and effect to re’do a BASIC undergraduate Nursing program is simplely unreralistic…

  26. Too few in power at any degree or place do not value the EN status / expertise / and care they show to Pts. Qualifications are needed however like an scale there needs to be balance.This is lacking.Wrong assumptions are made and years of experience are walking off to another land.Replacements of any type cost all the tax paying Aussie for sure.
    RN’s don’t know it all with respect.Agency moves in and you get lack of track history in Pt care.It’s a ‘time-slot’filled by Admin. Take a EN who is there night or day; they know what goes on and do it. Lose of an EN is shocking to the system. Media never get the facts on the EN perspective..very sad. EN could and did give med’s as permitted..rule EEN can do today what you did 24 hrs ago. That stinks for sure. Did any EN get a brain transplant in that time-frame? I suggest ”””NO WAY”””. The system sucks!

  27. In a perfect world all aged care facilities [and hospital wards for that matter] should have a good mix of RN’s, EEN’s / EN’s and AIN’s and a mix of experienced staff is vital. All working together to achieve optimum outcomes for our patients /residents and learning from and supporting each other. Each nurse brings their own experiences, strengths and abilities to the workplace and each should be equally valued. Pipe dream? Doesn’t have to be in my opinion. We as nurses deserve it and our resident’s deserve quality care.

  28. where is our union………what are they doing.One has to ask were they not consulted on the parameters of a national body. Is there seriously any other profession that would suggest to people that they need to go back to square one, re do their BN, the cost of which rises yearly. I think you would be hard pressed to find one.

    Will anyone want to be a nurse if either of my children, grandchildren or anyone I know for that matter was considering doing a BN degree I would do my best to diswade them from it.

  29. The cost of retraining is only one aspect to ‘coming back to Nursing’…

    How is someone supposed to acquire the mandaory references that employers now require?

    I get really annoyed with the absolute ignorance of some Nurses, who say: ” why don’t you get a job at XYZ ? “. ” Oh, they’re always looking for Nurses at ABC ” etc. etc.

    You simply can’t just pick up a job in public health anymore. They are just far too picky now, yet new grads. are always getting the positions due to their having just finished a New Grad. rotation program in that AHS. External applicants need not apply….


  30. The above disillusionment and discontent is indicative of the hijacking of a profession I was once proud to be part of & am now looking to leave. The OBSCENE amount of bureaucracy involved in attempting to do my job is unbelievable. We DO need to take control and eliminate the crap…at the moment “chop from the top” & “prune the deadwood”…it’s cheaper. Training MUST be returned to hospitals & paid and years of experience HONOURED. Nurses at all levels must be respected & most importantly, cared for, then the system will start to heal.

  31. let me think- do my BN (3 yrs) + 1 year post, stay in syste5-6 years, have children (take 5 years off ‘work’ to raise next generation) and then need to retrain/& pay extra $10k or redo BN to remain in area that am not respected / shift work that disrupts family and life and health, get abused / bullied from abov other staff and patients. yep definately seems like a great idea! NOT HAPPENING!

    • yes agree whole heartedly…..but again, with ever increasing union fees one has to ask, where is our union and what are they doing for us…..?????

  32. Speaking of being ‘honoured’ for your service…
    A few years ago, I sent a letter to the NSW Health Minister, with an idea for ‘retainment’ of senior Nurses.
    I posed a NSW Nursing Service Medal for ‘long service and good conduct’ ( which is how all the emergency services and ADF word their long service medals ).
    Not a Federal award, but a State award, to be worn on the right side at official functions, the same as the NSW Police, Ambulance Fireand Rescue, Corrective Services, SES & RFS all have a TEN YEAR medal to represent their service to the people of NSW.

    The Health Minister at the time couldn’t understand what I was talking about !! Despit me explaining in great detail, the concept of what I was proposing… she simply rattled off the standard line about the Order of Australia, and the Public Service Medal. That actually demonstrated a complete lack of knowledge about WHO NSW Nurses are …. we are NOT Public Servants, anbd such, not eligible for the PSM. Asa for the Order of Australia …. only very senior and distinguished Nurses will ever be considered. No, I was talking about the everyday, ordinary Nurse, who works shift after shift… month after month, year after year. Something to give us just a little extra recognition for staying in Public Health for ten years. Other services do it, why can’t Nursing be recognised for the SERVICE we provide to NSW.


  33. Methinks the bureaucrats et al will only pay any attention when there ARE NO MORE nurses. But then….maybe they’ll never notice. Brain-dead maybe???

  34. My son is doing HSC in a few weeks, and wants to do Nursing. I have encouraged him, but I fear now for it’s future. I can no longer encourage him, and can only hope he decides on a profession that is not ruled by people hell bent on destroying the entire health system.

    Why is the union not addressing this?????

  35. Just called AHPRA today, they say I failed to re-register. I paid over $100 to register at the beginning of the year. I don’t understand. I’ve been living o/s raising my children for the past 10 years and want to return to Australia and nurse. I have a bachelor and master degree. I’m told I need to re-do my degrees again. Why would I go back and do another 6 years of study to be what I am already. I thought I’d misunderstood, I’ve been feeling confused all day. The 2 people at AHPRA that I spoke to were almost rude, certainly not happy explaining to me, it felt like I was inconveniencing them by my enquiry. What’s going on? I don’t remember it being like this in Australia 15 years ago. If anyone can guide me to someone who may be able to assist me return to nursing, I’d be grateful.

    • Wow I know exactly how you feel!!!
      I have just a few weeks ago, mid Dec. 2011 put in the application form to AHPRA, and paid the money etc.
      I guess I know what the answer will be, before even getting a formal reply.
      I also lived o/s, for well the last 20 years.
      Worked in nursing as a school nurse full time.
      It’s not a very common job here. Also overseas I was not required to be registered. As just being trained in Australia was very highly considered.
      Now I’ve come back home to register and work in my profession.
      I felt that I would probably have to do a retraining course of some time.
      With the lack of nurses I presumed that it would be government funded.
      What is going on here in Australia??????
      Elise if you get any guidance I would really appreciate if you could share it with me on this.
      As I really feel my career here in Australia has gone down the drain in my absence. And feel really confused as to what to do now.
      I didn’t find the staff at APHRA to be rude, but yes quiet indifferent!!!!!

  36. I am gutted too after being told to do a new degree in midwifery or a post grad diploma in midwifery after being unable to re register this year due to insufficient recency of practice. I have worked as a general nurse in NSW for the past nine years. I have a B Midi and B Nursing & post grad qualifications. I was applying for a part time midwifery job around the time of registration but that meant nothing to the NSW N&M Board. I was given wrong information from APRHA so am currently incorrectly registered as a midwife as the recency of practice question I completed online did not allow for people who have nursing and midwifery registration. I was told to tick yes to the question and write to N&M NSW with an explanation. Now I would rather be doing anything but nursing.

  37. Ask the relevant unions what they are doing to address the situation & then ask the president of the ACTU how these issues are being addressed. Ms Kearney was a nurse and should have some insight into the situation.

  38. I have had time out of paid work to raise my 4 children. (7 yrs). Now my youngest is starting preschool next yr I have looked at the options of getting back into nursing only to be told i have to re train for 3 months unpaid at a personal cost of $10,000. I was a great nurse and midwife (If I do say so myself 🙂 ) and I know I would be even better now after having my own experience of child bearing. Pity I’ll never be able to show anyone because I cant afford that time or money. Another nurse bites the dust…

  39. I am in Victoria and and after 9 years out of nursing to bring up my children decided to enquire about going back. I was shocked, diappointed and sad to find it will cost over $10,000 if I can get a place and if I dont get permission from APRHA very soon so I can do it next year I will have to start all over again!! I have spent 5 years of my life studying and training to be a critical care trained RN, I have 15 years of experience working and if I dont spend all this money in the next few months then it all counts for nothing!! I was actually looking forward to going back to part time nursing and doing the job that I love, I now feel betrayed, pretty much unwanted and unsure about what my future will hold as regards career. The person I spoke with about a re-entry course was very discouraging of me trying to come back, “oh what a shame you didnt work while you brought up your kids”, and “its a very difficult transition to come back you know”. I really thought I still had a lot left to offer as a nurse, but apparently not…..

  40. Wow I cant believe this is happening. I have been out of the workforce for 10years. 5 years raising my children and 5 years living overseas.
    I have a diploma in Applied science (Nursing) Midwifery, and Child and family health. I was told by APRHA that I have to totally retrain again, a new degree in nursing/midwifery. All of my qualifications nullified. Its such a shame. I too am a passionate midwife, who really wants to return to the workforce. Happy to do a refresher, even at my own expense, but to go back to uni and totally retrain again only to gain the same qualification I already hold, it is not an option. I still have alot of working years left in me and a passion for the profession.

  41. There are a few more comments being processed at this time, but I say to ALL OF YOU … Please, go to your local Federal MP, and lodge a complaint about AHPRA, and the draconian rules that have caused the loss of your careers ( not to mention the loss of Australian Nurses to the Australian Health care system ).

    If we don’t collectively complain, these destructive beurocrats will destroy hundreds of lives … our lives; our careers, and our childrens’ right to have parents who are Nurses in our own country.

    Contrary to the belief of AHPRA beurocrats, we in Australia do not need overseas Nurses in order to run our Health Care system … we do need a system that values the years of training and experience of AUSTRALIAN born and trained Nurses over and above ANY overseas trained Nurses.

    The reason AHPRA can afford to destroy our lives, is that there is an endless flood of applicants from overseas countries willing to come to work in Australia, on the overly generous 457 Visa provisions. Our Australian Govt. favours foreign born Nurses over our local staff. That is why we mean nothing to the people who run AHPRA …


      • can you add my e-maiI too? I am in the same boat .

        RN7 with post grad cert in ICU. During my extended maternity leave while raising 4 young children (and still am) the last thing on my mind was trying to read into the future to know that by not keeping up payment of my registration, that I would lose all my years of study and hard work doing the job I love. With the only option doing an eight week full time course at $10,000. (whose going to pay 8 weeks of child care for me??)

        I am keen to re-fresh my skills, but there must be a better way to bring all of our years of nursing experience back to the floor.

  42. I wonder…I have yet to find another degree so worthless… a BN must be 5 years out. Go back to uni and retrain….what the F…K

  43. I was disheartened reading all these comments about nurses with a world of expericence that can’t get jobs…I am a new graduate, finishing up in November in Qld, I have excellent grades excelled at all my placements but got knocked back by every single application I put in for a graduate position. I am not the only one, in my year at uni there is 180 of us, 60 got positions!!!!. What do the rest of us do, we were told we would never be out of a job, we have chosen a profession that will last a lifetime this was on our very first day of uni 3 years ago. Now what? Employers want nurses with experience, how do we get experience? And your telling me you have the experience and still can’t get in the door? Have I wasted the last 3 years of my life juggling 2 kids (one was a tiny baby at the time), struggling with deadlines and the rest of my life? This cannot be happening…….now I am devastated.

  44. I live in rural nsw and have also spent the past 6 years away from nursing raising children. I have had a few interesting conversations with APRAH this year regarding re entry courses. The first person I spoke to wasnt able to help me with my inquiry and suggested I speak to the “professional nurse” there, only I couldnt that day because she was on her day off! Its taken me until yesterday to be bothered with them again (why??) Was told about the $10000 sydney course, got transferred through to Melbourne (I live on the border) and was told I could do a course at Wodonga TAFE!!!!

  45. Is it possible that this new regime may not be legal ;
    Insufficient grounds for deregistration.
    Restraint of trade
    What other profession or trade operates like this?

  46. I live in rural nsw and have also spent the past 6 years away from nursing raising children. I have had a few interesting conversations with APRHA this year regarding re entry courses. The first person I spoke to wasnt able to help me with my inquiry and suggested I speak to the “professional nurse” there, only I couldnt that day because she was on her day off! Its taken me until yesterday to be bothered with them again (why??) Was told about the $10000 sydney course, got transferred through to Melbourne (I live on the border) and was told I could do a course at Wodonga TAFE!!!! Not correct. What is this organisation?

  47. Once again I will ask,….. what is OUR union doing about this????

    Seriously, if this is not addressed, I am thinking of resigning from the union because this is the end of many peoples careers.

    No other profession eats its own. A degree becomes worthless and nurses have to re do entire degree?? Come on union….. do what we pay you to do and fight this.

    • i contacted the union and this was thier reply.

      “Unfortunately we are not able to intervene in regard to individual registration or recency of practice issues.
      This is because AHPRA is a federal government agency and we have no facility to intervene or over-ride the registration requirements set out in the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (2009).
      You will need to unfortunately persevere with contacting AHPRA on 1300 419 495 or attend their office at Level 51, 680 George St Sydney”

      so i guess that’s another closed door!!

  48. I think the fault here lies with the lack of affordable options for refreshing – not the requirement to demonstrate competence after 5 years out.

    NSW Health must step up and develop some sort of course that meets AHPRA’s accreditation standards. They should also be using their influence to encourage the College to provide a progam at reasonable cost.

    As for the nurses who are 10 years out and their degree is worthless – this is tough. I think they should have the opportunity to have their competence assessed. 5yrs in + 12 yrs out is a very different scenario to 15yrs in + 10yrs out. Although, I know that unis don’t give credit for courses completed >7yrs ago.

  49. In reply to RN8,

    The NSWNA know about this situation. I supplied various documentation to a senior staff member earlier this year ( whilst attending a Delegates meeting ).

    I was told , they will ‘look into it’, but given I changed jobs, I am no longer attending Delegates’ meetings, and so I didn’t get a personal response.

    I actually feel, that the union supports what AHPRA have done, on the grounds of the ‘professional’ need for maintaining standards etc. This is not, and would not be disputed. However, it is the way it is being conducted, that pains many of us reading these posts.

    There has been no regard for the ‘human’ element of treating nurses as ‘people’. The policies and practices of AHPRA have been shown to clearly disregard the human need for fairness and a reasonable outcome in the manner in which ‘former’ nurses are being treated. In essence, many of the affected people in this debarcle are in need of psychological support. The trauma people are experiencing, as result of the loss of career, and income, should be recognised by ‘professionals’. Clearly, the policy makers at AHPRA have no regard for the ‘need’ for support, and it is most definately not offered. When one loses their professional registration, one is cast aside, with no offer of support whatsoever, …. how callous


    • I don’t understand Gordo – didn’t you say your wife had practised within the last 5 years and that she does meet the recency of practice standard? I have no trouble believing that AHPRA could have made a mistake. Why are you considering paying the $10K? If what you say about your wife is true you should get a lawyer.

      Also, are you suggesting that the College should only employ administrative assistants with white skin and english speaking backgrounds? Why would the college pay a qualified nurse to take bookings for a course? Please, let’s not turn this forum into a brainless cesspit where racist remarks take the place of informed discussion and debate.

  50. No, go back to the post, and tell me where I claimed the person had a particular skin colour etc. etc.

    All I referred to, was they are working in a position that requires X amount of Nursing knowledge, to be able to reasonably answer the multiple questions people will have. After all, the College is not selling cup cakes at the school fete !!

    As I mentioned previously, my wife has experienced the maladministration of AHPRA first hand. yes, she did last worked as an RN fours prior to applying for RENEWAL of registration. Then AHPRA decided, that she needed to scrap that application for RENEWAL and they placed her in the pile for REGISTRATION…. not renewal, but an initial registration. You can’t tell AHPRA they have made an error. It took two appeals, and three letters, to come back to the starting point … because AHPRA don’t make mistakes !! So, she loses out, because some faceless beurocrat MUST be seen to win, and my wife must lose … because she dared to challenge the system.

    Remember, AHPRA is not a well run organisation … so what would seem as normal, is not. AHPRA made the mistake, but couldn’t account for it on paper … so they throw the case out, and simply say, you can’t do that … you will need to pay the $10,000. or three years at Uni.

    Everyone is saying the same … they are totally unfair, and have no sense of how their clumsey actions affect people. And that goes for the college of knowledge as well !!


  51. I get where you’re coming from Gordo but I thought you were having a go as well:

    ” Sorry, me not nursing, but you get good money for being nurse – you pay $10,000. now ? ” – the wording does imply someone from a non-English speaking background.

    I can understand your frustration though – It seems this organisation is run similar to Telstra – you speak to someone who is there to do basic admin, customer service and deal with financial transactions. Is there seriously nobody else to speak to? I can’t believe some of the replies I’m reading, it’s so disrespectful and rude to treat professional health workers this way, not to mention self defeating when in all likelihood, in 5-10 years’ time when there are no nurses, experienced or novice because it’s so bloody hard to get a job, they’ll be crying out for them.

    This makes me really glad I’m not an RN anymore … good luck to everyone here. Maybe you should all consider organising yourselves as a group to contact your local members. On mass they might sit up and take notice.

  52. If you must make a point of it, then yes, I purposely wrote the words as such … to give that exact impression WITHOUT me actually saying it in another manner.

    I see absolutely nothing wrong, with implying the person is CALD ( I even printed that previously as well ).

    It’s part of the issue at the College … without expert knowledge of EXACTLY what is required and how the system is to work, people may be handing over $10,000. when they don’t need to … but the College is selling this course, like cup cakes at the school fete. ( oh, sorry – will that offend school teachers, or someone else ?? )

    This is about hard cold facts, not about pussy-footing around with side-issues of ‘some’ people may be offended. Well, I’m offend by AHPRA and the College … somebody give me a hanki to cry on !!!


  53. I totally agree. They don’t necessarily need to be nurses but they need to be trained well to understand the deeper issues, not just ask people to hand over their money, especially given it’s an unreasonable amount of money. Frankly I don’t think you should pay to retrain as a nurse at all, you should be encouraged back which is what I thought they were doing a couple of years back??!! It seems really privatised now, like the organisation is profiting out of it, which is completely unethical.

    I mean, if they aren’t hiring grads and aren’t hiring experienced people then who are they hiring? People off the street? I probably shouldn’t give them any ideas ….

  54. “For whatever reason, the once esteemed College of Nursing has a CALD person answering their Return to Nursing enquiry line.” I think the implication of this is clear.

    I definitely don’t want to get into an argument with you Gordo but it seems to me there is a theme emerging in your posts and that is a resentment of migrants/foreigners. Eg: there are hoards of war criminals from Libya on their way masquerading as boat people; that asylum seekers must be treated as criminals until proved otherwise; that foreign nurses receive preferential treatment at the expense of local nurses; that the College employs people who are not native english speakers; etc.

    If you don’t resent foreigners and my impression is wrong then maybe you should think a bit more carefully about how you’re expressing your ideas.

    I still think that if your wife has practiced the equivalent of 3 months in the last 5 years it would be worth your while getting a lawyer. Take it to the administrative appeals tribunal. I’m sure it won’t cost as much as doing the College course and maybe she’ll be compensated.

  55. the ironic thing is that introspectively, for all of us who have chosen to put our career on hold while our babies needed us at home, that if this system was in place a few years ago, i’m sure we would all have been doing what was required for us to maintain our registration. when i last worked there were government initiatives to bring back the nurses to the workforce!!! but now the government are paying for people to be trained in anything else they want so they can join the workforce.

    my friend recently done a “flower arranging course” for something to do for free, worth $600. Now the idea behind this was to give her some skills so she could find a job!!! now don’t get me wrong, i don’t begrudge her doing this free course even though she is not likely to use her new skills for our society (it was for a hobby for her!).

    what saddens me is people like me and many others who already have our skills and education, we just need a refresher, and we want to come back to work. we are not asking for a new career!!! we just want our old ones back!

    I hope there will be a light at the end of the tunnel for us.

    • mind you….just for the record!! I had 4 kids in 6 years and no family to help with childminding so it wasn’t an easy choice to necessarily put my career second to my children for those first few years!
      i did casual work when i had my first 2, and i tried to return to casual after my third, but my previous employer wouldn’t take anymore casuals on! then the fourth baby came along, which brings me to now!

  56. Your advice would be most appreciated.

    I completed by Diploma of Nursing in 2007 (EEN Qualification)

    Was employed with Qld Health straight away on a Casual Basis but working at least 4 shifts per week for two years. Unfortunately I fractured my spine in late 2009 and had to have two years off for recovery. I was not sure whether I could return to Nursing, so I kept my registration current with APRHA.

    I decided recently to achieve a Certificate III in Pathology which I completed in June this year and have now been employed on a Permanent Part Time basis as a Phlebotomist, unfortunately though it is a minimum of 40 hrs a fortnight and the pay rate is shocking for what you do.

    My question to you is:- Do you know what I have to do to return to Nursing, even doing a couple of shifts of a weekend, as I can not make ends meet doing the Phlebotomist job on this part time basis and need to seek additional work. I loved Nursing and I also love doing the Phlebotomist Job. I would of like to of talked to the Nursing Unit Manager that I had at the PA Hospital, but unfortunately he is not employed at that Hospital anymore, I believe he has taken another position at a different hospital.

    I felt that I had lost a bit of confidence to return to Nursing, but now after doing the Phlebotomist role for 8 weeks, I have gained a lot of confidence back and am sure that my confidence as an EEN will return in a very short time, but need to actually gain experience or employment again in this region to fully achieve that.

    Could anybody please give me advice as to where to seek out or know what I need to do to return to Nursing? I can not afford to pay the $10,000, and dont think I should have to if my Nursing Registration is still current (paid for), but just not practiced for the 2 years.

    Thank you and appreciate any comments/advice you can give.

    Kind Regards


    • Hi Karen, the SAN hospital in north sydney offer a cheaper refresher course. And look up the nurse Re-connect program which you should be able to get into if you still have your registration. But you have to do this before 4 1/2yrs out of nursing. Good luck.

  57. Karen, I don’t want to mislead you, but I think with 2 years off, you should be OK for sure.

    I wouldn’t mess around. Get onto a casual pool and do a shift, even if once a fortnight to keep up your hours.

    And yes…. many have paid their yearly registration, and now told they cant register, despite them greedy suckers draining peoples wallets!

  58. Guys I have read all that you have written above but what are we going to do about it? I like many of you left to have my children and now just ten years out plenty of experience and qualifications am being told to retrain through 4 years at Uni. What a joke…Can we as a lobby group take it to A Current Affair and use the media to bring public recognition to our cause? I still have many friends working in the industry and I would confidently say that none of them realised the up hill battle we are facing with the recency of practice policy brought in by AHPRA to re register. If they aren’t aware the public definitely won’t be either and maybe it’s time we got some good old fashioned media attention for our cause? Opinions???

    • I agree, I cannot believe that the media hasn’t got hold of this. The shortage of nurses is a national issue, and effects so many people in different ways.

      I do want the public to be aware, and I want the media to help!

  59. Gordo Thanks for your reply. Read your article and good on you for having a go. Have been talking to another girl in Sydney in same situation as me and prepared to have a go at getting some recognition of our plight to the general public through the media. Power in numbers guys>>>> Anyone else out there???

  60. Gotta wonder why …

    The ‘numbers’ should be in the NSWNA.

    Why aren’t they going-to-town on this ??

    Probably because of the Catch-22 … Union supports Members – to be a Member, must be Registered !!

    I for one, would contribute an additional figure to the legal fees needed for an organised legal challenge to the situation. ( if only the NSWNA really wanted to do that … )

  61. I just realised I made an error – one does NOT need to be ‘registered’ to be a Member of NSWNA …. but you know what I mean, in regard to paying Membership fees.


  62. Hi guys, I am planning to shortly contact my local member/ maybe the new minister of health with our story, and a copy of the union article about westmead closing 5 more beds due to staff shortages! My husband will then contact a major sydney radio station to see what other help we can get. I will keep you informed.

  63. Hi All, I am happy to go public wit this.
    Recieved my letter from AHPRA stating that “given I have not practised for 10years, in order to meet the standard, I will need to enrol in a Board approved course leading to registration as a midwife, such as a Bachelor of Midwifery.
    I already hold this qualification, is this truely what the hospital system is coming to.
    Shame about all those qualified nurse/midwifes, now looking to re-enter the workforce. I wonder if Jillian Skinner ( who was a nurse) and Minster for health knows about this. Let me know your thoughts.

    • Sandra, that is ridiculous! Does the Federal Government have any idea how much this is going to cost our tertiary education system? By the way I am a RN and a qualified Solicitor. I had a break of over 10 years from the legal profession and all I had to do to get my legal practising certificate back was to write to the Law Society and advise them on what I had been doing since I last held a practising certificate. There was no requirement for me to do a course however I was required to practise under the supervision of another Solicitor for two years. Imagine if I had to do my law degree over again!!

  64. I have read the above posts and it really concerns me that the bureaucracy is hell bent on making it so difficult for nurses to return to the workforce. My partner has been out of the workforce for the past 5 years while she has been caring for our two children. She was planning on returning to work this year but that is now out of the question. There is no way we can raise $10,000 for her to do a return to practice course. So it looks like NSW has lost another good registered nurse. I will also be contacting the Minister for Health and my local Federal MP to get some action on this issue.

  65. I was informed by phone that my application for renewal was rejected as the new laws had been in effect since July 1. I was emailed this afterwards and this was my response with NO reply since……”I believe I indicated on the phone that my choices seem limited. I would be best to withdraw my application , as you said,as any time in the future, if I was to try and pursue a career in the nursing field, I would have to answer that I was rejected by the Board and thus being looked on in a negative light .
    I know you pointed out that I should of been responsible for looking at the website and realising that I was going to lose all chance of ever re entering the Nursing profession but I do feel rather silly as I have made numerous calls to different offices trying to obtain the experience required under my Schedule 1B inquiry. I was also a bit disappointed that you indicated that that particular process was not really a serious one so in hindsight I wasted the airfare/time and energy on ever really starting the whole process.
    I have tried Coffs Harbour Hospital and rung Bellingen and I also had a Sister from Coffs Hospital in Theatres enquire and give me a Lismore number to try and pursue any avenue I could to start the training. I have been met with a “No”response every time and mainly due to funding problems.
    Now that I am back to the drawing board and have to fully re train it seems I have missed the boat. ”
    I was told that I would have to look at $30, 000 to totally retrain…I get it..I want to be competent too but I was caught unaware and with no sympathy or options to pursue.
    I was Hospital trained at RNSH in Sydney and was one of the youngest people accepted in to the Neurosurgical Course at that time but I moved to the Nt and lost those credentials….I can see I am not the only one!

  66. I am currently registered, but being out of the workforce due to raising my 5 young children, all under 7years of age. APHRA are proposing to refuse to renew registration. I am based in a rural setting, and cannot afford to disrupt my young family nor disadvantage them by paying $10k for the priviledge to work as a RN. This whole situation is so WRONG! So many good nurses being lost due to political nonsense, I’m ashamed. I don’t expect any special treatment nor a “free” ride. However, I agree that if my registration was renewed I would certainly maintain currency as per the legislation states now that I’m aware of it!

  67. Seems as though I have been very lucky.

    I sent letters of appeal to AHPRA as I ‘only’ fell short of the required hours by 72 and as the ‘fine print’ says a Reg Nurse can continue working while Registration is being processed. I was called to a Directions Hearing just before Christmas and had a successful outcome. My name has been returned to the register until Feb ’12 when Registration is due again. (I am also a Midwife but have had to ‘surrender’ my Midi registration as I have not worked in Mid for 4 years.) When I commented on THAT, the chair of the hearing asked the AHPRA representative what is to be done? I commented that there are numerous regional Universities well and truly capable of doing these refresher courses and was told…. ‘It costs a RTO $30,000 to be accredited to do the (Midi ) course before they can even begin and then, of course, it comes down to the almighty dollar………….. Will running the course be financially viable for the Uni (or College of Nursing)?’ Apparently the NSW College of Nursing had a Mid course all set and ready to go but felt it was not a financially viable option…….

    Maybe the Union could bombard these Universities/ Colleges and get them on board. Not sure if you know (you probably do) that there are NO accredited Midwifery Assessment of Competence courses available in NSW or QLD……. It is bad enough we have to uproot and go to Sydney for general, let alone go Interstate……

    I have absolutely no idea what goes through the minds of people who think they have a good idea yet no REAL thought is given to the consequences to nurses and their families as a result…………

    I was working as an AIN when I found by regular checking the Internet that my Registration had been refused so at least I had an income. That is not an option for many nurses, I know and whether University trained or Hospital trained, we are Registered Nurses.

    I’m sorry that I have waffled… Maybe if AHPRA and the Nurses and Midwives Council be bombard with appeal applications something can happen. Check with the union…….

    Good luck to all

    • Hi, jjr2010 interested in the comment you made about being able to work whilst registration is being processed. I am in a similar situation trying to make up hours!! and knowing I could work in the month after my reg date would certainly help…any more advice would be may only be a matter of a week’s work but could make all the difference in the world. Crazy as this means I can stay at work or face a 10,000 dollar course over a few weeks work…how is that for fairness? Please let me know? x x .

      • Hi Lucy,
        There was/ is a little blurb on the ‘Registration Renewal Received’ page that says you can continue to work as Reg. Nurse while your registration is being reviewed/ processed so that is what I did………. I had well and truly gained those extra 72 hours in the time I was able to work as a Reg Nurse. If you are working then keep at it. I requested statements of service and references from my employer to prove I was a capable RN. It all helped. If you need to seek assistance from the Union, make sure you have everything in chronological order, too.

        Good luck with it. The whole show is just ridiculous….

  68. hi all.

    here are some links to find your local MP’s in regards to our plight and future of nursing.

    I will be drafting my story in next couple of weeks, along with other supporting documents. And if anyone else lives in the parramatta area, maybe we could join together in contacting our local members.{332B2DF4-01A1-4006-9D18-26E98A75ADBA}{8A4AB423-7AC7-4296-9F9B-3392C13896A9}{07701AAB-99E0-4DD0-BF1E-5B27E6540643}{5F597E0B-4120-4E3F-8E54-84AE849D1AB6}

    regards, Sandra.

    • hi, regarding above message. i tried to link individual members but it has come up with the home page each time.

      I will be contacting the ministers for health, mental health, ageing and disabilities, and The premier/minister for western sydney Barry O’Farrell.

      I will also find out the members of the oppositon too.

      regards, Sandra

  69. I am an EN who wants to upgrade my qualifications. I AM registered with AHPRA and they get their money from me each time it is due. However, because I trained pre 1991 I have been told I won’t have my qualifications upgraded unless I do the FULL EN COURSE again.
    Off to the Gold Coast where they will assist with RPL’s so I will probably only have to do some modules including the ones I want to e.g Medication Administration. I won’t have to pay for the full course, only for what I need to do and will obviously have to attend face to face learning as well as the required clinical hours but they do have online learning where it is practical.
    It has taken me well over a year to find someone to assist in this matter. NSW RTO’s have only offered the full course with no other option available, AHPRA just kept saying “Do the full course again”.
    Letters to MP’s both state and federal as well as opposition have not helped one little bit. Either no reply at all or those that did were happy with the current situation because it protects the professionalism of nursing and ensures that only well qualified staff are working in the health sysytem. They also said that the new rules were made in consultation with the relevant interested bodies. I did point them in the direction of this discusiion but who knows if any bothered to look.
    Four Corners might be the best media organisation to contact as they are national and many of their stories are picked up by other networks. Remember the live cattle export story?
    Just a thought.

  70. Emailed Four Corners today and have also pointed them in the direction of this discussion as well as “Unneccesary hurdles for wanting to return to nursing”. Lets see what happens.

  71. Let me remind you, that whenever a Public facility advertises vacancies, that DOES NOT mean they will actually employ someone.

    Almost EVERY NSW Public Hospital is broke. They can afford advertising to meet their required EEO benchmarks, but they don’t have the budget to actually employ Nursing staff.

    They also seem to ‘enjoy’ bringing people in for interviews … but not to employ staff … it’s actually to give their senior staff interviewing training and experience.

    I’ve turned up to many interviews, and I know for a fact, that the job was never to be filled.

  72. I have been trying to figure this whole situation out myself – am an R.N. been out of nursing for 10 years and looking to return. However, at the end of last year I was told that currently there is not one re-entry course in QLD that I could attend particularly up in the far north which is where I am. So, to recap – if you are a R.N. and live in QLD wanting to get back into nursing, your only option is to not only pay the 10,000, work 150 hours without pay, but also to leave all and travel interstate!!! Are there any other Queensland nurses in the same boat?

    • Hi

      I am in QLD and like most people, I left my nursing career 2003 to start family, and now my youngest child is starting Kindy, and I was so looking forward to return to nursing. I reapplied for my registration as it expired in July 2011, and fees was charged from my visa card. Then, I received an email from APRAH stated that I need to re-submit my application with CV and reference because I haven’t work since 2003. I dutily done what APRAH asked and submitted before due date, in September 2011. And now I am still waiting to hear from APRAH. I had called APRAH several times with no results. and as I am aware of, QLD doesn’t offer re-entry course at all! With all the comments that I read, I am having second thought about returning to nursing as it is becoming impossible for people like us to return to profession we used to loved and enjoyed. There are shortage of nurses everywhere, with peole like us wish to return to work force, but APRAH is not making it easy for us. Very disappointed.

  73. SBS are on to this now as well.

    They are researching ‘bullying’ in the workplace, but happened upon the issues in Nursing, and may alter their original focus to look at the current problems Nurses are facing, both in registration, and workplace culture.

  74. I’ve been out of the workforce for 9yrs due to illness and am now well and itching to return to midwifery. After 8 years at University – Bachelor of Nursing/Grad Dip of Midwifery/Masters in Midwifery, I’m sorry but the last thing I think is appropriate is to retrain at University (as per advice given by the Australian Association of Midwives and some members of APRAH).
    I am more than willing to update my skills for as long as it takes in a clinical setting, but that’s where it gets difficult for a Midwife.
    As atrocious as the $10,000 Re-entry course for RNs is, such a course for Midwives doesn’t even exist in NSW.
    I’ve applied to every state in Australia to re-enter Midwifery but apart from one possibility all have told me that interstate applicants are not accepted – despite the lengths to which I am willing to go as far as relocating, course fees etc.
    Further, to do a re-entry course in Midwifery I need my Nursing registrationreinstated. The irony being that I only let my registrations (RN/RM) lapse on the advice of the NSW Nursing Registration Board when I was initially too ill to work.
    Now AHPRAH are in charge, red tape and seem to bureaucracy the norm rather than individual assessment and common sense!
    I have been told that 9yrs out of work is close to the 10yr cutoff. This is outrageous, if there is a 10yr cutoff then 9yrs doesn’t fall under this rule.
    Look at my application APRAH, refer to my training, experience, transcript and refernces/referees and be prepared for a fight! I will appeal, get legal advice re discrimination, do whatever it takes. Midwifery and Nursing are my passion.
    We need to unite and fight for what we want and what we deserve – we should be valued as the desperately needed professionals we are.
    We need to hit the media, write to our MPs and the Health Minister, badger APRAH and put a call out to our union – we can’t settle for anything less than we deserve.

  75. Lisa Bowra, it sounds like you stand to lose more than the ‘average’ RN who is attempting to fight this system.

    Unfortunately, as many have already found out … appeals will not work. Despite all logical argument and presentation of documents to support reasonable arguments – AHPRA WILL NOT change the slightest aspect of any decision they make … even when they have made a clear error, they will not back down ( my wife made an error in ticking no, she hadn’t worked for five years, when it was really four. They refused to changed their decision, because by signing the form, it was considered a Stat. Dec. and she need to be prosecuted for signing a false declaration !! )

    My advise to you is this:

    Make enquiries about enrolling at Uni. in the Master of Midwifery course. Given it has been less than ten years, you should be able to claim up to 75% RPL or academic advanced standing. ( this may vary from place to place )

    It you wait for an AHPRA appeal … they will stuff you around, and deliberately make you wait until the ten years mark passes, and then they will laugh at you, by saying ‘we’ll sorry, but ten years has passed, and you will have to go and do THE FULL uni. course’. ( Universities will hold you to ten years also – the length of time your modules can be used to be allocated toward another course )

    Check it out NOW … don’t wait for AHPRA … my wife did, and now ten years has passed since she left uni. and now she has lost everything. She must start all over again ( if she will ever want to go back to this dismal profession, which has allowed this happen to us )

    • Thanks so much Gordo for your advice – i have unfortunately heard many stories similar to your wife’s dealings with APRAH and i dresd to think mine will be added to the list.
      But where would a second Masters in Midwifery get me? – and in order to complete it I’d first have to get my Nursing rego back from APRAH and that is the battle I’m currently waging.

  76. Is this what I have to look forward to? I am a recent grad who has not been offered a position after completion of grad year – there are many others like me. I thought I may as well leave nursing which I thoroughly enjoy and return to workforce as secretary or checkout chic since nursing did not really need me. If I was to return to nursing I will have an addition debt of $10000 next to my already existing $12,000.00 debt and there is no guarantee I will really have employment for life. Someone needs to review!!

  77. I completed a return to nursing course a few years ago and it cost me $ 5000 through the private sector. I had to attend two weeks of lectures and following this I had to work full time for 4 weeks without any pay. Many of the nurses doing this course, including me, were bullied on a daily basis and though we all passed the course those of us who did not want to continue working for the company were refused a reference; thus it was difficult to find work. Eventually I managed to get a job but it cost me more to do the job than I was earning, so I quit after several months and gained employment as a contract nurse. All up it took me nearly 3 years to earn back it money I spent returning to nursing and I was not worth it.

  78. I completed a return to nursing course a few years ago and it cost me $ 5000 through the private sector. I had to attend two weeks of lectures and following this I had to work full time for 4 weeks without any pay. Many of the nurses doing this course, including me, were bullied on a daily basis and though we all passed the course those of us who did not want to continue working for the company were refused a reference; thus it was difficult to find work. Eventually I managed to get a job but it cost me more to do the job than I was earning, so I quit after several months and gained employment as a contract nurse. All up it took me nearly 3 years to earn back the money I spent returning to nursing and it was not worth it.

  79. Please support those of us who are 10 years out and being told to completely retrain by way of 3 year Bachelor of Nursing degree. At this stage I would welcome the re-entry course, but we are not being allowed admission into these programs. AHPRA is refusing us the referral letter.

  80. Lisa,

    I was under the impression, that AHPRA were telling you ( and others ), that you needed to do another tertiary course, in order to be registered. That is, you don’t need to be registered first.

    Otherwise, you wouldn’t be here, with hundreds of others, pointing out the unfairness of the system.

    Check you individual situation again. If you need to do a course … then I assume, you can’t be registered until you complete it, and that you will not be registered until you do.

    Best of luck in ‘the lucky country’,

  81. So, APHRA is a federal government agency. As such, they are public SERVANTS employed to serve the PUBLIC. They seem to have an extremely distorted & inflated idea of themselves and their responsibilities. Seems to me it’s about time for an inquiry into them and their incompetence.

  82. Please don’t take this the wrong way, but I find it rather strange that as APHRA introduced these rules to eliminate our nurses from re registering by either invalidating their degree, or else making the cost way outside most peoples range….but they are importing nurses from India on mass.??

    Something else is going on.

  83. The Refresher Course for Registered Nurses used to cost $900.00 in 2008. It ran for two weeks and when I contact the College of Nursing to enquire why the cost had increased, I was told that it was due to insurance costs.
    I am currently having my RN reviewed by APHRA and will know in Feb if I will have to complete the College of Nursing course of undertake a B.N.
    At present, I am working as an assistant in nursing in Aged Care and was actually working as an R.N. there last year until APHRA began to review my registration. I would really love to be working there again as an R.N as Aged Care desperately needs R.N’s who want to work with the Aged.
    I have found it interesting reading about cases similar to mine and don’t feel so alone in this mismangement of R.N.’s attempting to return to work.

  84. Thank God the Association has finally commited to taking this issue on …

    You will all now receive an emailed request to collect signatures for a Petition to the NSW Govt. ( for the issue to be raised in NSW Parliament )

    In order for the Petition to be submitted we need 10,000 + signatures ( you might say, one for every dollar the CON course costs !! )

    I’m sure it will get off the ground, and something will happen to get AHPRA to change it’s ‘unchangable’ attitude …

  85. I’ve been sitting at my computer absolutely gob-smacked by this discussion…it is truly very disappointing what is hapenning in Australia with nursing. I’ve been nursing in the Middle East for the last 15 years, and for the last 2 have been away from the bedside. I was looking forward to returning to Aus. soon, but after reading these posts am concerned about how I’ll go with job hunting. I’ll be sure to sign your petitions and keep an eye on the discussion. Coming to the Middle East to pursue a career can be rewarding for many people, but it’s certainly not the answer for everyone – and why should Aussies have to leave their country to find work? I left at a time when there were plenty of choices ‘at home’ – now I can see a very different picture. I hope things start to pick up soon.

  86. My name is Chris Walker and I work for the Southern Courier newspaper, a paper in Sydney. I am writing a story about this issue and am looking for people in our readership area to offer their opinion, and perhaps their situation. The Prince of Wales Hospital is in our area. My email is or phone is 8062 2360. As soon as possible.

  87. i got my letter from AHPRA today!!! as expected i have a referel letter to do a assessment of competence course.

    has anyone made a submission to the board to reconsider? and if so-what was the outcome?

    has anyone actually done the assessment course?

  88. I have just read through this and remain more than a little confused. I have been out of nursing since 2003 and am currently registered with APHRA as ‘non practicing’ but am not really sure what this means in terms of refreshing or re entering nursing. Any advice more than welcome! I will ring APHRA at some stage but there seems to be a lot of knowledge on here.

    Also what about the SAN course is that not an option for people at it is cheaper??


    • hi there, sounds like if you have not been practising you will not meet the standards for recency of practice which is 3months equivalent over the last 5 years. yeah you will have to ring them to find out! maybe when you go to change to practising, you will have to re-apply to register which can be a long process – i made my application last may and only got my answer this week!!!

      the SAN course is only for nurses already registered! maybe you qualify for that if you are registerd as non practicing. hope this info helps and hasn’t confused you more! good luck.

  89. PS I did hear Jillian Skinner being interviewd on 702 ABC the other day about this and she said that NSW health made scholarships available to pay 60% of the cost and they were not all taken up. I look at the website and it was only open for a few weeks and obviously not promoted. I rang Westmead hospital as they had an advertisement for scholarships as well and spoke to a VERY rude woman who told me it had closed, I told her the date was for later that week and she told me it was clearly (to who??) an error and hung up on me!! Charming.

  90. Thanks Sandra – I think it is confusing for someone in my situation as I maintained my registration despite not practicing. I will ring them and see what they say. I was wondering if the SAN course was suitable due to the fact i am registered. Again will need to ask!! Thanks for taking the time.

  91. Don’t be too confident in AHPRA’s integrity …

    Most of us who have posted here already, know how deplorable the organisation is.

    Being ‘registered’ does NOT mean you can practice / work as an RN / EN, if you have not previously worked the three months during the last five years.

    My wife had this ‘registered but not practicing’ status. As soon as she went into the Sydney AHPRA office to lodge documents to support her claim, that AHPRA made a mistake ( she had in fact worked three months, as she last worked full time FOUR years ago ) … AHPRA removed all trace of her registration off the website.

    So, this means, that you will have the status of ‘non practicing’ until you start the process of application / enquiry. When you have attracted attention to yourself, AHPRA will remove your name from the Register, until you satisfy THEIR requirements to have your name reinstated upon the Register.

    There are some people out there, who have stated a different treatment from AHPRA. I think what is happening, is that there are many minor variations with personal situations. Thus, we will see some variation with how AHPRA will treat various people.

    Overall however, AHPRA are not concerned in the slightest about Nurses / former nurses as ‘people’ … paperwork and ‘the rules’ totally over-ride all else.


  92. Thanks Gordo – I have been registered as non practising for 2 years now (since it changed over) and did have problems initially but my name does appear on the register. i would not try and change my status to practicing until I had the pre requisite experience, but my concern is which way do I get that experience. I am going to make some calls today to find out.

  93. does anyone know if when regsitration is gained again after doing the burwood course, do we regain registration back to where we left off ie in my caseRN7. or do we go back to RN1? AHPRA couldnt tell me!!

  94. That’s a very good question. One too depressive, in preparation for what the response might be. I hate to say it, but I would think, you would lose your previously earned ‘year’ status.

    It has always been up to each employer, as to what year-of-service they will pay you. You would have a right to ‘apply’ for your appropriate year, but you may not get it.

    Old system meant, you could have breaks along the way ( not work a year or two ), but you always just added up the HOURS – 38 x 52 = 1,976 hours, and that moved you to the next year of service.

    Another interesting question would be – how are the Uni.s going to deal with people having TWO BNs ?? Nobody can take away your BN from say ten years ago. Should you need to do another one, what are you going use as post nominals ?? BN ( Syd 1991 ) & BN ( Wgong 2014 )


  95. I would like to add my comments to this issue.

    I trained back in the 1980s in NSW. In 1990 I moved to the UK and worked there as a registered nurse for several years. During this time I kept up my registration with the NSW Nurses Board as well as with the UK one.

    In 1997 I left nursing to raise my children. At the time I was able to continue my registration in NSW but I had to give up the UK one as they required that I have current practice.

    In 2009 I wished to return to nursing. I was lucky enough to find a Return to Nursing course at my local hospital. These are all done via a University and the course gives academic credits. This was free but I had to do 150 of unpaid clinical practice. In my area there are no longer any more courses, but there are others in the UK. These cost £500-£600 ($750-$900).

    Luckily I had returned to clinical practice by the time I had to register with the AHPRA so I was able to answer positively about the recency of practice (although it is overseas).

    The Return to Practice course are now run from the local universities (but not all run them). Perhaps this could be done in Australia.

    I know the frustration of trying to return to practice and I know in my area there is no way for a nurse to return to practice other than moving to a new area for 6 months in order to complete a Return to Practice course. This is impossible for most people especially mothers who have taken time off to look after children.

    Although I had been out of nursing for 13 years I found that I had no trouble getting back into the swing of things, it was mainly coming to terms with the new rules and regulations.

  96. Hi all,
    I too, am a victim of the AHPRA scandal. I was a CNS in Anaesthetics & stopped working after my 3rd child was born, to raise my (now 4) children. To complicate matters, my eldest child has Down Syndrome and so to undertake anything full-time, let alone to pay $10 000 through the nose for it, is near impossible for me. I have contacted the Anti-discrimination Board and will be lodging a complaint as having a “Carer” Status may hold some more weight.
    I also had a letter to the Editor published in the last edition of “The Lamp”, and received an email which I have copied below for everyone should they wish to be involved in potential legal action through the Nurse’s Association:-
    Dear NSWNA members,
    In addition to petitioning the Parliament, the NSWNA is seeking counsel’s advice on potential legal options for mounting a legal challenge to the retrospective introduction of the Recency of Practice Registration Standard by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia. We therefore need to hear from nurses who have not been able to renew their registration due to the fact that they have not met the requirements because of the retrospective application of the Standard. Many of the nurses who have contacted us have been caught out by the retrospective application of the Standard because they have taken time off from nursing due to maternity leave and/or because of their child-care responsibilities. If you fall into this category, or know someone who does, please contact the NSWNA, and/or pass on our telephone and email details. Please phone 02 8595 1234 ~ 1300 367 962 or email marked to the attention of Joanne Moffitt. Joanne MoffittIndustrial OfficerNew South Wales Nurses’ Association & Australian Nursing Federation – NSW Branch50 O’Dea AvenueWATERLOO NSW 2017Phone: 02 8595 1234 ~ 1300 367 962 Fax: 02 9662 1414

  97. I have lost my registration due to Recency of Practise Standard. Has anyone tried appealing to the Tribunal and if they have, then what was the Tribunal’s decision?

  98. Still trying to get my life together. Trying to support my children by myself and regain my registration. Lets hope some common sense prevails and we are once treated like professionals. Good luck to everyone affected by this retrospective discriminatory legislation, mostly women looking after young children.

  99. It is my understanding that the national registration scheme is being brought in across most health professions, not just nursing. Are the same requirements being placed on these health professions too? After a 10 year break from physiotherapy or occupational therapy, is there a requirement to complete their bachelor degree again? If these other health disciplines are not subjected to this requirement then I believe it should not be required in nursing. I am in support of refreshing clinical knowledge and skills after a career break, but to go back to complete a bachelor of nursing twice is outrageous. If theses are not the expectations on other health professionals please tell me as I will definitely be asking why!

  100. After the Report into AHPRA was released last year, it became obvious, that most of the other Health professions are affected by the way AHPRA do business.

    A psychologist reported:

    ( He ) was a highly trained and respected trauma counsellor, and had volunteered his own time to get himself up to Nth. Queensland after Cyclone Yasi, and try to help as many affected locals as he could.

    He was ‘on duty’ in a large evacuation / recovery centre, where many ‘professional’ services were being offered at the time, when in mid-session with a client, he was literally ‘picked up’ by two burly security guards, and ‘carried’ out of the premises.

    His repeatedly asked what he had done, and didn’t find out until Police arrived, that he was accused of falsely practicing as a registered psychologist …… his AHPRA registration renewal was never processed.

    In his story, he claims he sent in his regular annular renewal, at the usual time of year, and never actually checked it had been received and processed ( it wasn’t ) – thus when somebody did an online check of his name, it wasn’t there. It had been totally removed !!

    I’m not sure if he ‘sued’ or not. But he further claimed his business went down the drain after that episode ….

    • AHPRA has got serious admin issues. Perhaps they need some refresher courses in their departments as clearly their skills are not up to date. An example is making data entry mistakes with date of births. When it changed to the new national registration they made a mistake when bringing my details across. Entered the incorrect birthdate which is their means of a security check when you call them. They refused to speak to me at one stage claiming I didn’t exist in the system. Took a while before I was able to sort out their error!
      So in regards to other health professionals are they required to redo their degree if out of practice for more than 10years?

  101. Does anyone know if nursing is the only profession in the health industry that is being targeted with the requirement to return to university if out of practice for 10 years or more? If the clinical setting changes in 10 years for nurses then it changes for all other health professionals that have left for that length of time. Perhaps if this occurred across all health professions there might be a bigger protest. If they don’t send the others back then nurses should NOT be sent back to uni either!

  102. Well I am just another number after all this time numerous phone calls, letters and lost paperwork (on AHPRA’s behalf, oh should I mention twice), I have been offered to make a submission to save my midwifery, due to ROP. Can anyone please suggest where I can find some guidelines so that I can do my best in saving my career that I have had a break from to look after my family? I’m sure AHPRA has been given all they should need, except no they want more. Has anyone put in a submission and saved their registration? I would really appreciate any help. Thanx Suzanne

  103. Thanks Gordon for Nurseuncut. It is a fantastic resource.
    The comment below sums up my own suspicions. I have been trying to confirm or debunk a rumour that hospitals receive a bonus from somewhere – perhaps government or perhaps universities – for sponsoring immigration of overseas nurses then getting them to do university courses as a requirement for their jobs. Does anyone out there know?

    me says:
    January 31, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    Please don’t take this the wrong way, but I find it rather strange that as APHRA introduced these rules to eliminate our nurses from re registering by either invalidating their degree, or else making the cost way outside most peoples range….but they are importing nurses from India on mass.??

    Something else is going on.

  104. Over the years that I have been nursing I have heard nothing but criticism about nursing courses being taken from hospitals to Universities. Now that Universities are demanding nurses pay $10,000 to do a 3 month refresher course the anti-nurse lobby is happy.
    I am a University trained nurse and 3 years into my career I was forced out of the industry due to a work injury. After being out of nursing for 10 years I did a refresher course within a hospital setting and met all the requirements of AHPRA within 6 weeks, thus I was re-registered and able to resume normal nursing duties again. I then commenced work and rapidly moved into senior roles.
    The point I am making is that the fundamental skills in nursing never change, thus there is absolutely no reason why nurses should be forced to pay $10,000 to do a refresher course or (worse) retrain from scratch. If you ask me they could do a one month online refresher course followed by a two month supervised clinical placement to bring their skills up to date. This would save a lot of time and it would be very cost efficient. As it is PCAs do a 3 week government funded course and they are allowed to administer drugs in nursing homes even though they have had no formal training in pharmacology or drug calculations. If the government was really concerned about the welfare of Australians, they would fund the refresher course for nurses instead of replacing them with unskilled labourers.

  105. When I started nursing 18 years ago about 1% of nurses were from overseas, today it appears that about 1% of nurses employed in public hospitals are Australian-born. Having said that I remember working with the Australian nurses 18 years ago and environment was very hostile. I have never understood why western societies promote bullying because it is very destructive. Now I work in an environment where the majority of the staff are from Asian decent; we tend to work in harmony and support each other. As a western woman who is fed up the bullying and back stabbing behaviour of western women I can understand why employers prefer to employ foreign nurses. However I do not agree with it.
    I hope that Australians can learn to work together and support each other so that they can reclaim their jobs (this includes nurses).

  106. Don’t waste your money going back into nursing because you may not earn it back. Just look at the job advertisements and you will see that every area of nursing is now seen as a specialty area and they want 2-3 years’ experience plus a post graduate certificate. Worst of all nursing has become more bitchy than ever and most jobs are part time. Better to spend $10,000 on a new career as you don’t earn a fantastic wage in nursing and you are constantly abused by the patients as well as their relatives. I promise you that you will regret it if you go back into nursing.

  107. A number of irregularities are being identified with the so-called ‘scholarships’ offered to cover the $10,000 fee the CON is charging.

    A limited number – not as required – are available, on a ‘financial year’ basis. Next course is AFTER new financial year, so the UNUSED funds do not ‘roll-over’ to next year.

    There were around 30 odd ‘unused’ scholarships in the 2011 / 2012 year. WHY ?
    Because it seems, that the NSW Heath Dept. didn’t see the need to advertise them – so many people simply didn’t know they were available. ( There are some reports, that upon application, certain people have been told, that the 2011 / 2012 funds are still available to November 2012. ?)

    The 2012 / 2013 year will still only fund some 30 positions, in a situation that requires the ‘support’ of hundreds of AHPRA de-registered nurses.

    There is this requirement of the funding arrangement, that you must be available to do rotating roster for two years, after you are re-registered and start work in a PUBLIC HOSPITAL only ( no Private or Nursing Homes )

    Also, that the Public Area Health Service may require you to travel up to a hundred or more Kms. away from your residence, in order to meet THEIR operational needs.

    In other words … they will OWN you for two years !!

  108. I am originally from W.A. but moved to Victoria in 2009. I took an extended maternity leave from June 2009 and started applying for work in October 2011 and have not got a job because my references are more than two years old. I have not found a return to nursing refresher program in Victoria that is actually currently running. I have been told that even though I have worked 13 out of the last 19 years as an RN I need to be able to “hit the floor running”. In W.A. I looked after up to ten patients per shift. The Victorian’s don’t know how hard we worked. Recently I was impressed that the Victorian union is so strong and that their ratios are so good. On the other hand, what are they doing to protect the rights of nurses who have children. I was told to go casual when I requested set shifts in 2002 at the time Day care centres enforced set paid days. Nothing has changed in 2012. Worse still I have been asked to work twelve hour shifts. Can you name one single daycare facility that is open for me (other than a nanny)? Human Resources Departments need to become more human……

  109. JJ Knows where did you get that information from regarding PCAs? Because I am currently working as a PCA, trying to sort out my EEN, & the length of my PCA course was considerably longer than 6wks, & I am not permitted to administer medication.

    • Nat, PCAs ( or any other similiar name ) are totally unregulated. That is why you will find multiple workplace conditions – such as CAN administer meds or CANNOT administer meds.
      NGO employers (in particular so-called ‘welfare’ groups in aged care) commenced the trend some twenty years ago in order to avoid the better pay and conditions of the Award of the day. By creating these ‘non-Nursing’ position titles, they have eroded most of the built up benefits that nurses have gained over the years. This has only occurred because Govts ALLOWED it to happen…

  110. I have personally just left a position I held for 20 years because of the recent unbelievable increase in micro management, ridiculous amount of paperwork, verbal abuse by management, unfair disciplinary processes (about which individuals can do little – few laws defend our rights and union organisers are in difficult positions) and unilateral removal of agreed-on conditions such as regular rosters. I was one of the last long-term employees. What is left are a few long-suffering Div 2s, who are now medication-endorsed, doing the bulk of the work that RNs used to do for far less money and with less authority and training, with a few RNs above them sitting at computers much of the day and doing higher degrees. The patients suffer from neglect (although not on paper of course), especially in the field I was in which is psychiatry.

  111. In Victoria everyone is a nurse, from the personal carers right up to the Registered nurse. The problem is the patients (or residents in aged care facilities) have no idea that some of these so called nurses have no formal nursing qualifications. Even worse, many of the unqualified nurses (such as personal carers) fail to recognise the skills trained nurses have and consequently treat the RNs like dirt. Problem is the RN is held accountable for anything and everything that goes wrong. Thus the RN is placed under a lot of stress and this only intensifies when others fail to listen and or follow instructions. Believe it or not the scenario is becoming all too common. Rather than spending $10,000 on a return to practice course in nursing, I would invest in another career.

  112. The other day an A&E nurse was stabbed in the arms and torso by a patient and the hospital managers told her to keep quiet about it. She managed to get her story out and it was all over the news, but she was one of the lucky ones; many nurses are abused and assaulted at work and management force them to put up and shut up. Abuse and Violence toward nurses is on the increase, our hospitals are becoming more like ghettos and AHPRA wants to charge you $10,000 to enter these ghettos.

  113. UPDATE: (Source – my wife. She was there … )

    A disgrace! For $10,000 there was no quality at the so-called College-of-Knowledge!

    The instructors couldn’t even agree on how to wash your hands!

    On more than one occasion, my wife had to travel two hours each way – to attend a 30 minute class, and that’s it for the day – “go and read chapter X in your book”. Thanks! That’s just great!

  114. I am currently in SA. I actually did the Re Entry course from Feb to June. Practical aspect from March to June. We got paid $7000, had to claim it on tax (this was a massive impact and therefore created more hassles) but we were not forced to pay. I was injured in 2005 at work. I have successfuly completed the course. But since i have been out 7yrs and struggling for nurses to give references due to short time knowing them and also working with many diff nurses- I didnt build up a big rapport. I was fit and healthy. And no major restrictions. Was on par with every student. Doing the re entry/refresher course whether one pays or gets paid doesnt promise employment. ‘Ive been finished now for 4mths and still nothing. Mainly due to lack of referee for clinical aspects of course (our ward changed hands and people came and went) and was not a very positive environment. I would like to think these return to active nursing courses were fantastic- but unless you score a great ward and develop good relationships- it doesnt allow you to get appropriate referees. I’m moving to NSW and hoping I will be given a chance to show what my nursing really is all about. I am a good nurse, up to speed and although I have not worked since 05, I think my nursing skills are up there with most. I need to be given a chance- otherwise the re entry course has failed.

  115. I did the SA re entry- we got paid $7000. Took 4mths and despite successfully completing this, I am yet to find work. Work injury in 05 meant 7yrs off work (also had a child so) and this has been used against me. This course needs to be a little more pro active in gaining employment. 4mths out- and nothing. I am relocating to Sydney and I pray that I can be given the chance to show my skills. Because of 7yrs out- no one wants to touch me as I dont have referees. Pretty up the creek with nothing! If I had to pay for the course – I would have thought twice! Def not fair. But I’ve also put my life on hold for 4 months and achieved success in the course, had to claim the $$ as income and it made tax time very arghhhh but not achieved employment. I could have gone and got an office job in this time but I want to be a nurse so badly. I am moving to Sydney in January so I hope I will be given a chance to demonstrate my skills as a nurse – I am good, no, I am great at my job!

    • I did this in SA. And was paid to do the course! It did hit me in ass, tax-wise, however better that than me have to pay it! Sounds like other states don’t really want nurses back in the field. Maybe the pollies don’t mind hanging in emergency for extended period of time due to staff shortages interstate! SA ones clearly don’t!

  116. I have started a letter to the Minister for Health, Tanya Plibersek, but I may turn it instead into an article for and send that to her with a letter. I have found that Ministers pay more attention to documents published with a picture of the minister than anything else.

    I am inviting other nurses to contribute points or paragraphs about what they have observed is wrong with nursing (with all confidentiality, of course):

    Here is what I have so far:

    – Deterioration of working conditions for nurses and the deterrent from training or retraining in the expense involved, when our hospitals are so short of nurses, but also from the point of view of human rights, workers’ rights and citizens’ rights for nurses.

    I have been increasingly shocked over the past 20 years employed in the same hospital re the following:

    The amount of paperwork required on the job, including time spent form-filling and seeking clinical information online plus answering multiple phones, takes up more time than attending to patients does.

    – many calls are devoted to arguing about taking patients in area and out of area and numbers of beds. Clinicians also leave their wards to negotiate face to face and organise support about this with other areas. These are often purely internal arguments and, as pressure on beds has risen and clinical staff have lost authority to make clinical decisions for which they are nonetheless held responsible, it is a battle to avoid unfair discipline. Clinicians often try to buck-pass until shift end and so dump their problems onto the next shift. Every move is plausibly and minutely but not necessarily truthfully documented by the expert survivor, so adding to the time taken to avoid unfair punishment and subtracting the time given to the patients. The amount of time, effort and anxiety covertly allocated to alibis, deals, t-crossing and i-dotting gives a new dimension to defensive practice. In this case the clinician is not just dodging accusations by patients, they are dodging systemic abuse and bullying by line management.

    – to see ward/unit managerial and clinical staff doing full-time doctorates or even part time Masters whilst receiving full-time salaries and with full-time responsibilities

    It is unbelievable to me that they can (a) be doing competent post graduate work and (b) doing a reliable and safe job looking after patients and clinical staff and the ward environment.

    Management of patients and of staff is more and more seat of the pants with real responsive managing replaced by checklists testifying to activities which are actually unverifiable

    – to see Div2s and RNs studying whilst working full-time, doing things like attending an exam during the day then working all night, on rosters where shifts change fortnightly and mornings and evenings are back to back. This endangers both patient and nurse

    – to see foreign nurses brought in to work full-time whilst studying at post graduate level. It seems obvious to me that the hospitals have a deal going with education institutions which makes them favour imported nurses over local nurses. The fact that clinical staff are actually writing essays on the job or staying up late at night to do them and using their days off or working nightshift to attend classes is unacceptable. They cannot be doing their clinical work properly.

    – the use of electronic incident forms that are so detailed, inflexible and time consuming that just to fill one out means that one is neglecting the ward to an unsafe degree.

  117. Here is an article referring to Nurse Uncut and the crisis in retraining and employment for nurses: ( “Government must make Australian hospitals employ Australian grads – Nursing”) Please comment at the site if you are interested. Comments can be anonymous. The Australian Nursing Federation (Victorian Branch) called on Health Minister David Davis to urgently direct public hospitals to increase their intake of recently graduated nurses from Australian universities after it was revealed 805 nursing and midwifery graduates have missed out on a graduate year place next year. Up to 40% of local graduate nurses and midwives are excluded from employment in our hospitals. Shamefully, hospitals are importing foreign nurses and denying locally born and trained nurses an entry year as graduates (often referred to as an intern year).

  118. I totally agree with all of the above.

    Current and past Ministers of Health are a waste of time. My wife completed the Assessment of Competency course at the CON. As expected, a complete waste of time and effort.

    In the end, nobody could actually sign off on the ‘competencies’ at Wollongong Hospital – because nobody in any position of authority to do so had a Cert. IV in Training and Assessment (what’s that, they asked!)

    The CON had to ‘fix’ the problem, and we know what that means…

  119. I am in WA and chose to be a stay at home mum to my two children until they were school age (approximately 6 years). When I made this choice the WA State Government ran a return to practice course through Royal Perth Hospital which comprised four weeks theory (which could be completed from home) and four weeks prac. The course was also free! I took my break from nursing thinking I would simply enrol in this course when I was ready to return. Imagine my shock when I discovered the course had been discontinued just 6 months prior to me making my enquiries to enrol. So what other options did I have to return to nursing? Pay $4000 to attend a course through Ramsay Healthcare (not only did I not have $4000 to spare, but the hours and location were impossible to manage with two young children). A TWELVE month stint at a University (1/3 of my orginal degree!), which again, was about an hour away from me, making it very difficult with young children. The only other option was through a college in the city which was even more expensive than the Ramsay course (around $10,000).

    I hate the thought of wasting my degree and the years of experience I have as a nurse, but with such limited flexibility in the options to return to nursing, I am not sure it will be possible. I have written to local members of parliament and all I have received as a response is “there are scholarships you can apply for”. Thanks a bunch!

    So for the time being I have given up on being a nurse. Instead I completed a Certificate III in Education Support and am now an Education Assistant. Sure the money isn’t fantastic, but the hours and the conditions are absolutely perfect and I enjoy every minute of it.

    Perhaps one day the pollies will wake up and make it easier (and cheaper) for us to return to work, but until then I will enjoy my 0800-1500 shifts, with school holidays and weekends free whilst reading about the ‘crisis in nursing numbers’ 🙂

  120. My wife just got back her application. Could not believe it was rejected and then told of the course she needs to do.

    I’ve read through all the posts and this situation is the same – ie had kids 7yrs ago and thought of going back. Had no idea of the recency of work requirement and was in tears at the thought of doing the equivalent of 1st yr uni again. Also now in QLD and was told sorry, just ring a provider in another state. Yeah, so simple to move the family and kids!

    My wife has been paying the rego fee each yr and ticking the “not practicing” box. Not once prior to the 5 year period was there a notice saying “By the way, if you dont work 3 mths before X date, you will no longer be eligible to be registered”. Are we just supposed to know that a new body has changed the law?

    If we were aware of the rules, maybe you could get a job and ensure you work the 3mths and get paid for it. This to me seems negligent from a body charged with regulating the industry.

    Further, after a bit of research, CQU does run a course in QLD. When you work it out, it’s a bit different to the 8wk course at the CON in NSW. Now aside from the $10k, think of the time. 400hrs course work is like 1st yr uni again and supposedly over 10wks. For a fulltime mum who wants to return part time, 400hrs is more likely to take 20wks (at 5 hrs per day) plus 1wk on campus. Then you have to 4wks fulltime clinical placement (160hours) of freebies. This probably wont be able to be scheduled right after the coursework, depending on availability.

    Now assuming you cant/dont want to do fulltime, this whole debacle is likely to end up taking closer to 9mths to 1year.

    All this to prove she is not stupid and hasn’t forgotten every spec of her degree, 2 post grad couses and 10+years in hospitals.

    Then even worse, finds out that if this is not done prior to 10years away, the degree and study is worthless and she really didn’t know or learn anything.

    Here’s the things that I cant see anywhere. What is being done? Nothing on websites, no responses to the petition, 1 or 2 newspaper articles. Has there been any legal action for negligence against nursing bodies for not making people aware of these changes?

    All this means that the majority of nurses are going to be disadvantaged at some point intheir most likely short career.

    If nurses were made aware of these issues, they would have to have rocks in their heads to study this at uni or even stay in the profession. Let alone re-enter after a break.

    What other profession would accept this after maternity leave? No one. Read the doctors re-entry requirement and it shows how much power they have vs the nurses. Obviously update yourself, but they can propose a program for re-entry for themselves and are deemed to be responsible to do this. For example, go get a job and do an interview. If you’re qualified, then your boss can supervise your capability and provide on the job training. Read to update yourself. But not for nurses. This is discrimination.

    Anyway, what I would propose is this:
    1. Every nursing degree must have a disclaimer before you enter that says:
    “as the majority of you are female, you may choose to have kids at some point in the future. You will study for 3 years, then may work for 8 years until you’re 30. If you take time off and it is more than 5 years, you will have to redo equivalent to 1st year uni. If you had a few more kids and thought it might be a good idea to spend time with them while they are growing up, NOTE THIS: After 10years, your training and experience is deemed useless and will no longer be recognised in Australia. You will need to redo your 3 year degree to re-enter as a nurse.”

    2. Since every nurse is registered and AHPRA has all records, it should be mandatory for them to mail you after 3 years out and warn that if you don’t work the 3mths, you wil have to do a re-entry course and notify of the cost and time it will take and give you a warning of the 10year time limit.

    3.Nowhere on the application does it mention you will not be able to register if you haven’t worked. There is a checkbox to tick. If you tick no, it just says “go to next question”. It should say, “STOP, you are not eligible for registration. Don’t continue and waste your application fee”. We have just been charged $320! when we could have avoided this if we had known or been told when we called up prior to doing this.

    4. Get a class action underway for negligence, restraint of trade, discrimination.

    So after writing this I am still angry and there is no chance my wife will ever go back to nursing.

    • I am in a similar situation and couldn’t have said it better myself. I feel like I have made the wrong choice in raising (and still am) my young children. I continue to work when I can, but at the same time wondering if my days as a nurse are numbered?

  121. A note of information: The NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) is now offering Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) that will be of great assistance to those nurses and midwives who have recency of practice issues and are trying to re-enter the workforce. Nurses and midwives whose re-entry applications have been assessed by AHPRA and who have been granted a period of supervised practice ie. 3 months practice, as supernumerary and unremunerated can now be relaxed in the knowledge that if they are members of NSWNMA they will have automatic PII coverage. This will make it easier for them to get healthcare establishments that normally take students to offer a period of supervised practice as a student and have their PII covered by the NSWNMA.

  122. Couldn’t agree with you more ‘Can’t believe this’. How ridiculous is it that after 10 years your degree is totally and utterly worthless! What a disgrace. I certainly agree that after a prolonged absence, we do need to brush up on our skills, but even after 20 years, I wouldn’t have totally forgotten everything I learnt in my 3 years at Uni and years of experience.

    An online theory component and a supervised practical component seems the logical answer. Surely the length of the practical component should be flexible and based on set assessment criteria. Some of us might require a couple of weeks, others maybe a month or two. We should be deemed competent based on our skills, not just a set timeframe completing unpaid shift work. Also, the fees for most courses on offer are atrocious.

    The situation is an absolute joke and I can’t believe how many people are in the exact same situation as myself, all over Australia. Yet I know here in WA we recruit nurses from overseas, which I can only imagine is a very expensive process! How is it not more financially (and morally) sensible to retrain local nurses who simply need a short stint, buddied up with another RN!

    I often wish I had stuck with my teaching degree!

  123. It’s funny. I did the course in SA. And since finishing in July, I have had far too many rejection letters to count… And they say they are screaming out for nurses! It’s absurd they want us to pay for the course (SA don’t, thank god) but also be rejected as no one is willing to employ a re-entry classed RN! Have I wasted my time?

  124. I am really conflicted right now as I have enrolled in the re-entry course and have also obtained a scholarship but I will still be out of pocket around $2500. My concern is that as SA has introduced the free course and $7000 payment on completion, will NSW follow suit after I have not only paid, but also had to travel interstate for parts of the course. What I am at a loss to understand is why our new registration requirements have apparently changed to bring the states and territories in line with one another, why are the education requirements or access to education not the same?

  125. I am totally disgusted that this has been allowed to happen. I have been a nurse for over 28 years and took the last 6 years off to care for my 6 children, one of whom has autism. With no prior warning at all I now find that I am locked out of my career. I am gobsmacked and so disillusioned. My nursing friends keep telling me this can’t be true! Not even those working know what is going on! How on earth was this brought into being with no one’s knowledge?
    There is no way that I will pay $10 000 and then possibly go back to first year wages, absolutely no way! I am now looking at trying to convert over to a teaching degree in primary education. If I have to start over it will not be in nursing, that’s for certain. I have an enormous amount of experience to offer, my expertise was haematology and oncology and palliative care. But when you look at the pay and conditions and the abuse, what’s the point??
    Cannot believe this is happening…

  126. Something I have also been thinking about is if anybody out there knows of anyone who has been advised to do supervised practice as opposed to a re-entry course? I can’t find anyone who has. The NMBA guidelines state that the Board can recommend either of these options, yet they do not set out any criteria. How is a person to know how to meet requirements if they are not told how? I would much prefer to do the supervised practice as I could at least be close to home and therefore my children.

    • Hi Em, try contacting your nearest public hospital as they might be able to help. Some have the overseas nurses re-entry so why shouldn’t they re-train Aussies? The AHPRA site info is outdated!

  127. I am so glad to have found this site – nobody I know believes that you can just lose your right to work in the profession you studied so hard and long to be in! I left nursing at the end of 2001 after having my 4th child -thought I would take a couple of years off as the juggle between work, kids, childcare was becoming ridiculous. Due to unforeseen family illnesses, ended up staying out until 2007 when I tried to get back in (having previously worked in Cardiac HDU and ICU). Tried Reconnect multiple times – each time told there was insufficient funding in my area health service region but they would let me know when funding was available” – I still had my registration at that stage but it was “provisional”. I went to several interviews but was told I needed to do a re-entry program (which I was still waiting placement into!) I ended up working in sales for a couple of years but missed nursing so tried again only to find out now that I have to completely redo my training – that because my diploma is more than 10 years old it counts for nothing! I would love to know when we were told that this was going to happen to us – I clearly remember my tutors at college telling us that nursing was a career that was for life – you can go off, have your kids and come back in – I remember helping retraining staff in my ICU ward who had been out for more than 10 years!
    I don’t think any other profession could get away with this!

  128. In asnwer to Em’s question above:

    There is no indication at this stage that arrangements in NSW will change regarding access to the re-entry to practice course.

    The requirements for re-entry to practice are the same for all states, but there are a range of private providers involved in delivering courses. These courses must be accredited but private providers are at liberty to structure and charge for their courses as they see fit. Similarly, state governments are able to make decisions about how they will respond re scholarships, subsidies etc with regard to budgets and workforce needs in that state.

  129. What I don’t understand equally as the bizzare sudden change that has a) put great financial burden on those wanting to return after 5 years and b)invalidating a degree after 10 years is how can the nurses’ union, our union we pay top $$$ for, allow this?

    We have enough nurses to bring action against this and I believe it warrants a class action for financial damages to so many with no warning, especially those that religiously paid there registration year after year after year which shows they were entering into some form of contact that ensures they a) remain registered and b) it was recognised as a fee for a degree that allowed them to practice. (As quoted above, it is asked “are you currently working” and has never given any indication that there may be no point in continuing to pay. After all, this “plan” would have been in the making for years…

    Union, please explain why you are not doing something about this as a high priority.

    • Hi RN8, I am definitely interested in legal action/class action. I am curently an unregistered nurse due to the ridiculous recency of practice laws imposed by AHPRA. I fell short of the hours required even though I had worked in the previous four years (by end of 2010). I was unaware I had to have worked a certain amount of hours and also did not know that it could be unpaid nursing work! I did my nursing in the early 90s and also have a BA degree. For most of my nursing career I have not worked on the wards but in research for top unis and in industry. I have not been able to apply for jobs that I would have been suitable for because I’m not registered. I have young kids and live in a rural area. Why should I have to re-train in ward work when that’s not what I have done as a nurse and don’t want to do. My main issue is that I wasn’t informed of the new laws and not given any grace period to make up the hours required! The retrospective law for recency of practice is not fair. Are other health industries treated this way? It’s discrimination as well to women who have left to have kids. I don’t think anyone at AHPRA really cares. Nurses deserve better than this and I’m one furious nurse!

    • Hi em…I enquired about supervised practice, but was told by my LAH they couldn’t help and I had to do the re-entry course.

      I also enquired about the IHNA course but couldn’t find an area health that they have partnership with for clinical placement.

      Are you still enrolled in TCoN course? When do you start?

  130. Hi all, I’ve been following this thread for a little while.
    I was trained overseas, but have been out of practice for 7 years now and want to get back in. Especially don’t want to lose all the experience I’ve built up over 15 years. After hunting and hunting it look as if it would be cheaper to drag to my kids back to the UK to do a re-entry program there (which costs – don’t cry – 450 pounds/$680). There are only five study days together at first, then one day a week for six weeks, plus 150 clinical hours and assessment.
    It is beyond belief what they expect here, especially as so many returning nurses are mums and just can’t leave their kids for 12 weeks full time.

    Has anyone thought of going to Channel 7’s The Project? Or Today Tonight? Surely this is something they’d jump on.

  131. The so-called ‘Institute’ that Admin referred to is NOT an AHPRA accredited provider of ‘re-entry’ training/courses for former registered nurses in NSW.

    There remains the one and only accredited provider in NSW – The College of Nursing. Still at the bargain price of $10,000, cash upfront – to be paid 1-2 months in advance of the course commencing.

    The IHNA is an accredited course in Victoria – not NSW …

  132. We contacted the IHNA (Institute of Health and Nursing Australia) to ask about this and this is their reply:

    I can confirm our Online Registered Nurse Re-entry to Practice Program is accredited by the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Accreditation Council (ANMAC) to be provided Australia-wide.

    Our Registered Nurse Re-entry to Practice Program can be delivered face to face also, but only in Victoria and Perth, and this is accredited also by the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Accreditation Council (ANMAC).

    I hope this clarifies our credentials.


    Mia Montagliani

  133. Another point regarding this course, is that there still a 160-hour practical placement to be passed.
    The CoN have to send out an accredited ‘assessor’ to the student’s workplace.

    How would NSW students of this online course have their 160 hour placement ‘assessed’? It requires to be done in person – not via any online capacity.

    Even though IHNA will accept students into their course from around Australia, it’s a case of ‘buyer beware’.

    • As far as I’m aware, for the practical assessment, they will provide an assessor … liaising with educators and staff on the ward, just like with any student.

  134. The AHPRA website lists courses that are accredited for re-entry requirements in Australia. It is a bit confusing, as the list states the location of the course (eg: NSW/Vic). However, this is the location of the *provider’s office*, not their coverage; they are all nationally accredited to provide re-entry programs for registration with AHPRA. So a nurse can access any of those courses listed, regardless of where they live and intend to register.

    Some will offer online, while others may not. When the training provider applies for accreditation of their course, they must submit the curriculum and the mode that their course will be provided in: ie. face to face and/or online and are accredited accordingly – so the INHA course is accredited to provide face to face or online – and, as they say, they only offer face to face in Vic and WA.

    The nurse will need to also complete the practical component and should consider the steps for securing a placement for this. Usually the provider will assist or the nurse can find a placement themselves. (This is no different from, for example, rural nurses who travel to Sydney to do the face to face, but then want do the practical component closer to home.)

    In terms of fees, the scholarship program in NSW* offers scholarships of up to $10,000 to undertake the accredited re-entry course run at the College of Nursing in NSW, subject to criteria about working in the public system. (Midwives can apply for scholarship funds to attend re-entry courses interstate as there are no courses for re-entry for midwifery in NSW.)

    Nurses accessing other accredited courses interstate or online would have to meet the costs themselves as the scholarship program is currently for the College of Nursing course only.

    As mentioned previously on this thread, the Professional Indemnity Insurance now automatically conferred on financial members of the NSWNMA covers re-entry students on placement, so you should make this clear to potential placement facilities.
    *NaMO – Nursing and Midwifery Office NSW

    • You’ll find that NSW Health offer scholarships for all courses Australia-wide. Below is quoted from:

      “Applicants may also apply for a scholarship to participate in an NMBA approved re-entry to nursing program available in other States as long as they are prepared to work in a NSW public hospital for two years on completion of the program and upon regaining of their registration. On-line programs are now available at Central Queensland University and the Institute of Health and Nursing Australia.”

  135. I’m waiting to hear from a successful RN – one who paid for the $8,250 course from the private provider of re-entry training – and who has successfully registered with AHPRA.
    That’s probably too restrictive …
    Anybody, who has successfully re-registered, via attending any non-College of Nursing course in NSW.

    • This course only became available late last year, and takes up to 6 months to complete as it’s online… So I doubt if anyone has had time to complete it yet…you may have to wait a few months before you find anyone who has completed it, then wait a couple of months for AHPRA to process all the assessments!

  136. Sure you can take six months, 12 months, to complete an online course. Thing is, who would really choose to drag it out over 6-12 months, when the other option is to pay an additional $1,750 and get it finished in 2 months (including the practical).

    Let’s hear from anyone who is currently enrolled in the IHNA course … (tell us what the arrangements are for completing your practical. Also, what have you been told by AHPRA?)

  137. Must say I feel very disheartened by all of the above comments. I too have not practised as an RN in Australia for 6 years, having returned from the UK last year. It is simply outrageous that we are expected to pay $10 000 for the privilege! Especially as I still have a HECs debt. I also wish to become a midwife so by the time I finish I will be owing in excess of $30000 to complete my studies. How can that be and how can we sit back and accept it.
    Seems crazy but it is cheaper to fly back to London and complete my course there.
    Has anyone heard any more about the supervised program? Is that even an option?

  138. Fyi, from the College of Nursing:

    Applications for NAHSSS Nurse Re-Entry scholarships are currently closed. The next round of scholarship applications are expected to open 4 March 2013. Applications are an online process which you can access via the website

    To be eligible to apply for this scholarship you need to meet the following criteria:
    Applications will be considered from applicants who are:
    • Australian citizens or permanent residents
    • An enrolled nurse, registered nurse or midwife who has not worked in three (3) years or more and or/ their registration has lapsed
    • An enrolled nurse, registered nurse or midwife participating in an accredited refresher/ re-entry course
    If you are interested in this round of scholarships please provide ACN with your full name, email address and contact number. This information will be entered on the ACN mailout list and you will be emailed notification of when this scholarship opens.
    Contact: or freecall1800 117 262.

  139. After many years working as a tradesman I am about to undertake a diploma in nursing. I was of course hoping it would lead to a steady job and income as that is what has been lacking in the recent years. After reading many of the postings on here it is very depressing as I want to get out of what I am doing and was hoping to get into a career that I could work as much as I wanted and take time off when I wanted. Also I am not so young, so many job options are limited. If I did a business degree or diploma, I should think there would be very little chance of a company hiring a graduate in his mid forties. It appears every door I open is closing on my face.

    • Jeff,
      The diploma of nursing will only lead to becoming an Enrolled Nurse. I hope you have researched exactly what that means and the type of manual handling jobs you will mostly be performing.
      Also, if in NSW, your estimated costs will be about $12-15,000. Up until only a few years ago, this was a ‘traineeship’ type course, where you were paid to study and work on the wards. Now, our State Govt. in their glory, has created the system where the student pays …
      Look into working in Disability Services, not nursing …

  140. I myself will have to pay the $9200 it costs to do a 14-16 week course including 160 hrs of clinical work, unpaid, to get myself back into the workforce after taking a staggering 6 years off having children. Had I known that paying my registration and not working, I could have done a free course in a hospital to ‘refresh’ my skills. Why is this information not available easily? So devastated!

  141. Just to be the fly in the ointment here, but there is a huge sense of unwarranted entitlement amongst all these posts: “I’m a nurse, I’m special, gimme gimme gimme”.

    If you want to get back into the profession, just pay the fee. In terms of benefits versus costs, you all stand to make at least $80k a year if you work full-time in Sydney, so a 10k outlay isn’t too bad. If I tried to sell you a business for 10k that pulled a $70k profit in the first year, and a 100% profit every year after that, you’d think it was a fantastic deal.

    • Have you actually read the article? Nurses have already paid once. Why should they have to pay again?

      If you want to play devil’s advocate, try getting the facts right. Many of these nurses have already taken the time to study, but now this time is being disregarded and they have to repeat what they already know – with a hefty price tag – and work for free for a certain amount of time.

    • Dan you show your ignorance and sheer lack of knowledge on this topic. If you read the posts on here you would probably realise that many of us that are being affected by these sudden changes are mothers. We have taken the time out to care and raise our children. While doing this we maintained our registration each year. The majority of us were not notified of the changes to recency of practice and practically overnight we were locked out of our profession.
      Only $10,000 you say. There is the cost of travel, accommodation, and, for many of us, child care. It is not as straight forward as you think. There are not many young, single, unregistered nurses out there trying to get back into the profession and if there are some, then yes it’s a no-brainer, it’s probably not that hard to retrain. But the reality is that we stepped out of nursing for a reason. We have other responsibilities in our lives that have made this new requirement a huge hurdle.
      $80K a year you say! That would be great. But we go back to first year rates! It would take eight years to earn that salary in nursing. For many of us, full time work is not an option because we are mothers. Add on the cost of child care needed for while we are working for minimal pay and it isn’t as dreamy as you think.
      Get a scholarship? Good luck! A lucky few are getting these… it’s because in order to get a scholarship you need a job first. New graduates are having trouble getting jobs let alone someone that has not been working for 5 years.
      There is so much more to all of this than just a lousy $10K for an eight-week training course.

      • I was told last year by AHPRA that I would have to either do one week in a hospital, 8 weeks doing a uni course (wasn’t told that I would have to travel interstate to do it) and that the course would cost around $2-3000 OR I would have to do three months training in NSW or VIC. NOT once was it mentioned that I had to do 16 weeks full-time ONLINE and then pay $9200! I’m not even paying for a lecturer to stand in front of me to educate me!! I’m learning from a computer!SO disappointed.
        Oh, and Dan, seeing as you think this is such a GREAT investment, perhaps you can spot me the 10 grand and when I get my 70k return, I’ll start paying you back!
        Guess you won’t be keen on that idea so I’ll have to pluck it from somewhere else! Not many people have a spare 10 grand lying around for a 16 week course! I can get a teaching degree for 6000!

      • I have been reading many of the comments on this site. I last nursed in 1997. However, my exit from nursing was not to bring up a family. My exit from nursing was as a result of being bullied, framed and having my nursing career destroyed by senior nurses who should have known better. I was working at a very well known teaching hospital in Sydney, near Kings Cross. I also kept up my registration, in the hope that I could again gain the confidence to return to nursing. When AHPRA was formed, I wished to continue on the roll. I had continued to do this, however, as a non-practising RN. When I inquired at AHPRA about returning to nursing, I was shocked at the $10,000 price tag and also the return to univ and sit for the BN all over again. This plus the HECS debt that took some time to pay off since it was introduced in 1993. Now I am on Newstart, after being a fulltime carer for an aged parent. No longer a primary carer, the government just places people who no longer care for an individual on Newstart. So not only did I lose my profession through the unprofessional actions of those who should have been there to support and encourage best practice, I now, at 58 have to try and live on $515 per fortnight. Not all nurses are like the ones I sadly encountered. Many are great people, wonderful colleagues and fantastic nurses and mentors. No use crying over spilt milk or I guess one could use this saying in nursing terms, a spilt bedpan.

  142. When my wife found out her degree and post grad study has all been for nothing and obviously not going to resit a degree, after the anger subsided, we decided to take up other options.

    Having thought a lot about this, I think nurses need to think outside the square – try this – instead of spending $10k to train where you are undervalued and a pawn in whatever scheme the govt has devised, try getting a job for state rail. No education required and you can earn $27/hr in customer service. The same as you would go back to on 1st yr wages, yet no responsibility for people’s lives! (This amount is from an actual rail payslip I saw and is not meant to bag rail employees, but just shows that there is very little value in gaining a nursing degree relative to another job where they would train you and you most likely would be paid for your training!)

    Think clearly and use your organisation skills elsewhere where they will be appreciated and paid for – I have seen admin and secretaries/p.a’s get paid a lot more and nurses have the exact skills needed. Also try pharmaceutical sales. way easier and heaps higher pay. Good luck nurses.

  143. Well done Jane for your post, what a shame the likes of Dan will I am sure remain ignorant. No other profession that I know of has to pay for the privilege to “retrain” again and have their degree taken away from them after 10 years. What an absolute slap in the face! I have changed careers as a result. NSW Health lost a good nurse and will continue to lose excellent nurses unless something changes. What a waste of wonderful and skilled carers.

    Most of us I am sure do not object to the likes of taking a refresher course. What we DO object to is paying $10,000 for the privilege to do it and the costs associated with it all!

  144. The current system of nursing re-entry in NSW is completely out of control and I empathise with everyone’s comments. I left fulltime nursing as RN Year 6 in 1999 and returned to work in 2008 on a casual basis. Time-wise I was probably lucky in getting back in when I did, but I also approached a short-staffed hospital who took me on immediately for casual w’end night duty and paid for me to be buddied and assessed by another RN for a few shifts before resuming solo care. This is how it should be. Returning RNs/RMs/ENs need to be mentored and supported back on the job with concurrent education sessions as paid employees.
    I left nursing again bw 2008-2012 due to my husband’s work overseas and am now working back in the community as an RN with an organisation I worked for 14 years ago. Again it’s casual, I’m being paid to re-learn the system and recieve ongoing education. Whilst it’s great to be back working on my own terms, the health service has been underpaying me for months despite providing proof of service and signed stat decs. Things have only been ‘rectified’ since I threatened legal action and it turned out that AHPRA had made an error on my ‘inital registration date as a RN’ which resulted in me being financially penalised for 5 months until they fixed it. Fortunately I’ve previously worked in the law and know my rights and don’t hesitate to act but I can only imagine how stressful it would be if I didn’t have this knowledge or family support. Take these grievances higher guys.. go to the Health Minister, complain long and loudly. If no one listens, call Today Tonight..the media is always interested and just watch how quickly they all jump when they have to explain this crap to the masses! Good luck!

  145. Actually, I think AHPRA are correct in a certain context.

    Undergraduate degree subjects are only valid for 10 years.

    I think what they really mean is that as the ‘authority’, they have determined that the BN must be under 10 years old in order to qualify as the qualification for Registration.

    The 10 year plus BN is still a BN, in the eyes of the issuing university, however in the eyes of AHPRA, it is not.

    That’s the difference …

  146. The Association, which is funded by its members for its members, cannot advise or act for non-members. However, through Nurse Uncut, which is a NSWNMA ‘publication’, we provide information and advice on this subject for all readers.

  147. Does anyone know how many nurses have been been told they are unable to practice since these new regulations have come into place? Is there anyone collecting the figures? I do not understand why, in this age of technology the course is not online, for regional nurses we are left with very few options. I do not understand why it is so difficult to go back to work, what is really going on?

    • Karen, the only people who would know these figures are AHPRA and they don’t seem to include them in their published figures.

  148. Did the petition of last year reach the numbers required to have the issue heard before the Legislative Assembly of NSW ? I am so disappointed, I never thought that I would experience so many difficulties when I decided to leave work to raise a family.
    I note that for the medical profession when absent for one to three years they are required to complete a min of one year CPD activities. They may also be required to complete specific education and/or to work under supervision, nowhere is it mentioned the will need to redo their degree or come up with $10,000.

    • Karen unfortunately the petition did not attract enough signatories to go before Parliament, even though we publicised this issue a lot at the time through Lamp magazine and this blog.

        • If a petition was promoted through an appropriate Facebook page, we would definitely get the numbers required to get this addressed in parliament.

      • You obviously weren’t interested in getting the numbers you needed. Common sense dictates that nurses wanting to RETURN to the workforce are not going to be reading or watching the channels associated with the Nursing and Midwifery Association. They are not members of it if they are not practising. Your logic astounds me.

        • We have a lot of non-members (out of work, retired, interstate and international) who read Nurse Uncut and go on the NU facebook page (where it was heavily distributed), that could have signed if they so wished.

          • The attitudes of retired nurses are predictably not going to be supportive of this cause, as they were in most cases not educated at university and often have an attitude of “I did it tough and so should you”. Don’t you have enough money to advertise in newspapers?

  149. Has anyone reported back to you, about their experience with that online provider of the ‘training’ that AHPRA demand?

    I asked for just one…

  150. Hello, my name is Mandy, I too am very frustrated with the lack of support for an RN to re-register in NSW. I am the mother of an autistic child and cannot afford the $10,000 for re-entry course in NSW and going to another state is just impossible. Has anyone and would all fellow nurses be willing to contact A Current Affair and chat with Tracy Grimshaw? I am not sure if this has approach has already been taken, just wanting answers and a result and willing to try anything.
    I just don’t understand how NSW has a lack of training facilities. Is the John Hunter Hospital not a large training tertiary hospital?
    Go us nurses wanting to re-register.

  151. There is a new re-entry course in Sydney.

    It is on the AHPRA Approved Programs of Study list under San College of Education, as this is our Registered Training Organisation. All clinical placements are completed at Sydney Adventist Hospital. The brochure on the website needs to be updated for the close of application date to 19 July and the course cost to be $8,200 (inc. GST).

    It appears to be nearly 20% less expensive than the Australian College of Nursing course.

  152. Oh, new course huh? Still waiting to hear from just one NSW graduate of any of these ‘online’ courses … (and successfully re-registered by AHPRA)

    … just one!

  153. Regarding doing supervised unpaid work – you may find insurance for you is not available. Union membership gives you liability for work purposes but if you are not there as an employee on duty then that is different.
    I enquired recently if I might go spend time on various departments to refamiliarise myself with them as I work Casual on call and it is extremely hard to keep up with every ward and department.
    I was told by Human Resources and my manager that would not be possible for I would not be covered by insurance.

    [Editor: The NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) now offers Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII). Nurses and midwives who are members of the NSWNMA and whose re-entry applications have been assessed by AHPRA and granted a period of supervised practice as supernumerary and unremunerated will have automatic PII coverage in that role.]

    After reading your many posts here I am pleased I renewed my Registration this year. At 60 I seriously thought to just let it drop and exist on pension we get from DVA but then I want to contribute and when I mentioned this to my Manager she almost cried, lol. ‘But you are a good nurse with good solid knowledge and experience.’
    I am respected wherever I work and for one shift at a time I can keep pace with the youngest of my fellow workers, for adrenaline kicks in big time.
    As many of you have guessed Australia is yet again following USA in how they want their health care system to function.
    There it is expected they will need to update and yes pay to do it.
    None of us here would mind if we could find the courses and means to do that here. So many courses online but not applicable to Australia.
    They want you to update but when no way to do that due to lack of places then it is ‘hard luck, not our problem, it’s yours’.
    The funding is a huge part of it in health care systems. Wages are the top costing. When money must be found, then wages are what must be culled one way or another.
    Tertiary education needs money so they are helped out by our governing body of Registration by sending us back to school to feed the system there.
    I was lucky for I was a trainee in hospital-based nursing training. I never could have afforded to go to uni so I got to do what I felt was my vocation and sadly now that is a profession with the warmth being bled out of it by academia and legalities.
    I am pleased I am in the twilight of my working life as a nurse.
    I like casual on call, everyone is pleased to see you as an extra set of hands, you do not have to contend with the politics of one area or be frustrated by never reaching invisible benchmarks that no one can actually define.
    I have loved nursing since 1971 for through it I have been able to grow and help others and they have helped me to become a better person.

    I hope things will improve for many of you.
    I have for some time told new nurses not to do what I did, only Nursing. I tell them to go do a degree or learn another trade for a rainy day and do it fast, don’t wait, for nursing is not as it was when I began, a sure fired means of staying employed regardless of place or time. It is as disposable as any other now.

    Good luck to you all.

  154. It’s sad. 2014 has commenced and still no advancement on the situation.
    No media push, no union push, no government push. No change!

    I, like Suzanne, am a proud midwife that had a hospital-based training and I agree that the warmth is being bled out of the profession.
    I’d be miffed if I had a degree which was worth naught too.
    It’s unbelievable that we with so much knowledge, experience, wisdom have been cast aside.
    I’d so love to return to midwifery.
    Sadly the only work I can get that’s faintly the same is babysitting.
    Frankly it’s not the same.

  155. Oh yes, the NSWNMA are onto it … sure. It only took three years.

    Back in Jan 2011 it seemed that I was one (if not the first) to raise the issue with them (on behalf of my wife – who was affected at the time ).

    After the initial ‘oh yes, we’ll look at this’, it dropped off the radar…

    If you are saying that things have or are about to ‘change’ for the better, it would not be solely as a result of the NSWNMA…

    Remember, APHRA is nationwide and other state nursing unions have also had their input.

  156. Sad isn’t it. A long long time ago, when I trained nursing was a 3-year course which you were paid to do and when you graduated, you had one job and the only place to go was either to the Charge Nurse position or the ward educator. Other than that, there were only community nurses outside the hospital. That was pretty much it. We all kept up our education because we felt it was our professional and ethical obligation to do that. It was a simple world.
    Nowadays, everything is so heavily regulated and people have to do endless courses that seem to me to only be revisiting their undergraduate material. And this business of if you have had any time off you need to pay $10k to do a course to re-register? Absolute rot. I did a diploma in accounting last year and it only cost me $5k! What on earth do you get for $10K: a personal trainer?

  157. When I first joined this list I was in a job that I had had over 20 years – in a terrible hospital where you had increasingly to fight to remain there. I lasted longer than any of the other nurses there but got out after I testified at a coroner’s inquiry about the poor practices at the hospital. It was obvious from their exponential importing of nurses from overseas that the hospital intended to replace all those who worked there. The overseas nurses were all studying and the hospital got some kind of bonus from the universities. I ‘credentialed’ myself in a particular field. (After trying to fill out the forms for a year, I paid someone $400 to do it, as apparently everyone else does – credentialing is a scam). I lived off my long service for a frugal and enjoyable year and then was rung by the person who did my credentialing and told about a job. I did that job for six months, really enjoying it, then they lost their funding for that particular kind of credentialing and that was it. Nothing more in the field. Interview after interview makes me realise that I am competing with younger cheaper nurses, mostly recently imported. I am trying to make my way in another field. At the same time I am wondering whether to renew my registration and even my ‘credentialing’. I am disgusted with a new trend for people to kind of super-credential themselves as supervisory counsellors in my field and try to get rules in the organisation to bind us to consulting them.
    As far as I am concerned, nursing as a profession has become quite corrupt and grasping and the higher you go the less the principles, the more interested in money and taking advantage of each other. I agree that credentialing is mostly about redoing early training, again and again. No-one who works hard and has a life can really constantly document everything they read. I am a voracious technical reader and way over-qualified for any position in my specialty, but just don’t have the mentality (and few do) to document all these things. It is very sad because I do like my patients and they really appreciated me. The world has gone mad.

  158. I think this is a dead in the water issue.

    1. The course is approved by AHPRA and is requisite to returning to the profession: you have to do it.

    2. The course providers can charge what they deem appropriate for the course and this will include an element of profit.

    3. The course is well subscribed, so for all the people bleating here they want it for free, there are just as many happy to pay that sum to re-enter the profession.

    4. For those who don’t want to pay for it, there are ample scholarships around (but hey, that actually involves a degree of effort to sit down and write the application, so forget that!)

    5. The petition has been around for years now (see above) and still hasn’t accrued enough signatures to be submitted to parliament, so despite all this bleating, the course costs are either acceptable to the majority of nurses or those who bleat the loudest can’t actually be bothered to sign up. Either way, there’s no real interest amongst the profession in reducing the costs.

    Finally, why is it that some nurses think they should get everything for free? It’s a well-paid profession – I don’t care what anyone says to the contrary – and this fee could be recouped within 2-3 months after re-entering and is a massive legitimate tax deduction.

    If you haven’t got that kind of money, well… duh: apply for the many scholarships that are available.

    And if you don’t want to pay and don’t want to apply for a scholarship, then I would definitely say you are not that passionate about coming back to nursing.

    Case closed.

    • Hi Rose, I’m not sure if you are a re-entry nurse, had applied for and received a scholarship or were luckily enough to already have $10k at your disposal and got through the course and what your journey through the whole process was like for you and your family. If so, well done and welcome back to nursing.

      But I did apply for, receive a scholarship and went through the 8 week course with my young family being disadvantaged through the whole process.

      I would just like reply to your points 3 and 4 (just in case your experience with it was different and obviously sounds much easier to mine).

      Point 3). The “assessment of competence” course in NSW is actually a re-entry pathway that was joined in with the already existing bridging course for international nurses. So on my intake of around 30 of us, only 7 were re-entrants, the rest overseas nurses. Out of us 7, all were returning after raising a family, 5 had scholarships and 2 were self funding the $10k. One of those self funding was unable to get a scholarship because she was actually a midwife so she was told by her local LDH they couldn’t help her.

      Point 4). I’m not sure how long it took you to get one of the ample scholarships that you applied for (hey, after involving the effort to actually sit down and apply for – well done by the way).
      Again you are fortunate that your process must have been quick and easy, not like my lengthy and complicated process over a stressful 11 months.
      After making MANY phone calls and sending MANY e-mails, often chasing for replies to 3 different LDHs involving 4 different hospitals, one of them telling me to go away and come back when I’m registered, then maybe they’ll consider looking at my 6+ years of ICU with a post grad cert. One hospital keeping me waiting 6 months while they looked at my application, which actually involved writing an essay to prove that I wanted to return to nursing. And 2 hospitals actually interviewed me for a job, for one of those jobs being interviewed alongside already registered nurses ready to start work, while if they offered me the job they would have had to wait for me to actually do the course, then get my assessments processed and passed (if I was deemed a competent nurse) then start the whole AHPRA application process and wait for my registration.
      SO … luckily for me, being passionate enough to return to nursing, I secured a job offer after 9 months of trying, THEN I could apply for a scholarship and fortunately for me I was approved for a scholarship, alongside all of its ongoing conditions. Hmmmmm … the whole time remembering the nurses I had worked with back in 2008 when I last worked, who were being paid to return to work…

      I don’t know how much you earn, obviously enough that you don’t care much for a pay rise.
      But I work darn hard for my pay. Only working 16 hrs/week because of still having 4 young children at home and trying to keep them and my home looked after to a degree of reasonable functionality.

      Now being back at work for ‘6’ months I am close to earning back what I would have paid for the course (if I had self-funded – or paying off the loan if a bank would have given us one, being a single income family), which in effect means I’ve just worked hard for 6 months for free… Actually no, I’m behind because of the childcare and after school care and vacation care that I’ve forked out over the last year (including for when I was doing the fulltime course), so it will probably take me another 6 months before I’ve earned back all those childcare costs.
      Yay, so that means after 12 months I would actually start having money in my pocket to then actually start paying for those child carecosts.

      Anyway Rose, I hope you have a long and enjoyable career in nursing, providing lots of support and encouragement to those who have lost all they had previously worked for for the sake of having children. Then getting through the hard battle dragging their young family behind them to get back into nursing all for the sake of being a proud nurse who CARES for people.
      My case is closed 🙂

  159. I’m another nurse who’s hit the brick wall with AHPRA after 10 years away raising little ones. I have read so many of the comments here but I didn’t see one about the hypocrisy of AHPRA in allowing a pharmacist who has been out of the workforce for 10 years raising 3 children to be allowed back in the profession by simply doing 300 hrs of supervised community service. I know this is true because she’s a friend of mine from my children’s school. No K10 for Pharmacists to re-enter the workforce! Now how is that fair?

    • Alison and New Nurse: have you signed the petition? From what I gather, no one really cares about this matter that much. A bit of moaning, a bit of complaining, but no action. After 3 or 4 years, still not enough signatures to put to parliament. I’ve signed it, have you two? Or is your preference to complain over actually act?

      • Yes Raine I did sign the petition when it first came out. I also sent e-mail links to all my friends and family to sign (including interstate and overseas.)
        As well as printing copies and personally taking it to friends and neighbours and my husband’s workplace, getting close to a couple of hundred signatures and sending them in to the union.

        I also contacted three different radio presenters of a local radio station to ask them to get some public backing, with no reply from any of them. How many emails or phone calls did you make to generate public interest, if it’s an issue so close to your heart?

        I did the best I could do to get as many signatures as I could, but I didn’t have time to sit around and wait for things to change, I got stuck into making my re-entry happen.

        Not sure if you read my previous post correctly … if it came across as complaining, then you have misunderstood what I was saying. I was actually stating how hard it is to get through the whole tedious process for those who think it must be so easy to get a scholarship and do the re-entry course. In fact the content of the course itself was quite easy, remembering that re-entry nurses already have degrees and sometimes postgrad courses, with years of experience already behind them. It’s all the red tape and dealing with rude and ignorant people that was the hardest part.

        SO Raine, is that enough action for you? Or do you continue to presume I prefer complaining over action.

  160. I see that you have worked very hard to generate some interest in the petition New Nurse, but the sad fact remains that most nurses are paying the fee without complaint and the lack of interest from politicians, other nurses and the public in general seems to indicate that they believe it is either warranted or not an issue.

    Reading back through the posts, there only seem to have been 5 or so nurses out of the whole population of nurses in NSW that take issue with paying the fee. I imagine why nothing has changed since this thread was commenced all those years ago.

    • Without complaint? Or rather without choice?? Believe me, out of the other 8 re-entry nurses I have ‘personally’ met through doing the course, not one has paid either directly or through a scholarship “without complaint”. I have not met one re-entry nurse “happy” to take a loan out for $10,000 for an 8-week course.

      What I can’t understand is how some people think that $10,000 is an affordable amount for families on one income to find.

    • As far as I’m aware, the petition generated @ 8000 signatures … that’s a bit more support than just five nurses, which I’m sure is an incorrect figure. Maybe only five nurses have actually made a post on these threads… I know for a fact that the 8 re- entry nurses I personally have met have never even heard of Nurse Uncut!
      [Editor’s note: many more than five people have posted on this subject – it’s one of the most discussed subjects on the blog.]

  161. Thought I’d update you on how my wife is going…
    She got the $10k ‘scholarship’ from NSW Health, did the CON course (I better not go there) and now she is owned by NSW Health for two years…
    Beware! Obtaining the $10k for the CON course will get you back to work alright … and work you will!

    38 hours a week (average) full time – made up of a combination of 6, 7, & 8 hour shifts. She works six days a week. She was told/ordered into the busiest, most stressful ward in a Public Hospital, where she must remain for the whole two years.

    No transfer to another ward. No, she must work in the ward where the Sick Leave and resignation rate is so high, she has been there for a year and still hasn’t met all the staff – they keep changing!

    Maybe it’s not the same everywhere, but my wife wanted to come back to nursing. Now, she feels as if it’s only a matter of time before she is driven out by being over-worked.

    Care what you wish for…

    In going back through all the posts here, I think there’s a lot of merit in simply walking away from nursing (if you are in the same boat as many of the responders to this thread are).

    Would you rather work for $5-8 an hour less and be stress-free … or be abused, threatened, intimidated, bullied, stressed and risk professional accountability to boot, all in the name of nursing and being a nurse?

  162. In January 2014 I applied for re-entry into nursing, having over 30 years experience and over 10 years in senior remote senior nurse postings. I then was in senior executive management but continually at the frontline of remote clinics, often assisting where possible. APHRA refused my application outright. As previously suggested my inquiries led me to looking at approximately $10,000 to do a refresher. I am 52 now and not happy at all the way the system failed many seasoned RNs. Cheers Darrell

  163. Similar to many of the comments above I’ve been blocked by APHRA. It’s very disappointing that 5 years as an RN with an ICU grad cert and 14 years as a Paramedic counts for naught. I even train double bachelor RN/Paramedic students and RNs in a course which they claim as hours to maintain their own registration requirements.

  164. I have read 2 hours of comments and it’s overwhelming to hear so many qualified nurses struggle to get back into the workforce. As an overseas RN I have truly struggled with AHPRA with their new rules. It is an everlasting battle. The future in Australia as a RN does not look bright considering the fact that the Australian registration can be taken away from you in a heartbeat. My overseas work experience doesn’t mean anything here, bridging course had to be done (which was a joke in itself – being “educated” the first few days on the importance of wearing deodorant, having breath mints and how to correctly use the toilet), then struggling with getting work because they want you to have Australian work experience – the list goes on. My greatest worry is to lose my registration because of not working regularly in Australia. What if I want to live in another country again for a while and then come back to Australia? What if I have kids? What if I want to work with something else for a while? I have wanted to study midwifery (as well as other subjects besides health) for a long time now but it’s a struggle to get into the education system. Say I do make it in the end regardless of all closed doors and speed bumps, but for what? When what you’ve worked so hard for can just disappear? I can never imagine myself going through a re-entry/bridging course like that again, paying that amount of money again, alternatively redo the uni degree, go through all that bullshit only to achieve something that I already have. I agree with nurses having to update their knowledge when going back to work after being away for several years but there are better solutions out there. For example, an RN I know had left nursing years ago to become a teacher. After teaching kids for 15 years she wanted to go back to nursing again and didn’t have any problems with registration or getting a job. The employer simply offered her a couple of weeks introduction on the ward and let me tell you she didn’t even need half of it. You do not forget your nursing skills that easily! The knowledge she had was mind blowing and kept flourishing along with the new grads that had fresh knowledge straight out of uni. Nursing is about teamwork and learning from each other. There is strengths and weaknesses from both “old nurses” and new grads. Having a mixed age group on a ward is therefore perfection. So why are we making it so hard for experienced nurses to come back to work when they obviously should be valued instead? This stupidity with the paperwork has to stop.

  165. I think the reason why the govt wants us to do expensive refresher courses is because they are putting this money in their coffers. The govt is more keen on pushing down wages so they are letting 457 visa holders come into the country to take entry level jobs in rehab wards and nursing homes. AHPRA is a govt branch and what angers me is that they do not make the workforce planning surveys compulsory (when you renew your registration you are not asked to fill in this survey even though AHPRA is aware of it) probably because they want an excuse to flood the market with more nurses. Even if you have experience now they seem to want to hire cheap labour so I do wonder how easy it will be to get a job after a refresher course. The people sitting on the board of AHPRA and the politicians are on good wages. Politicians do not care because they are still getting their holidays and they know that they will get good pensions.

  166. There is a refresher course you can do at Bankstown Hospital over one week at the cost of $1000 if you have practised nursing within the past five years. AHPRA finally got around to telling me about it after I sent in a freedom of information request after they falsified documents when I went in front of one of their ridiculous panels. Apparently if you do that course AHPRA will let you go another 5 years without working before they make you do the $10, 000 course. The course is approved by the Royal College of Nursing WHICH KIND OF ASTOUNDS ME WHEN I READ THE QUALITY OF TAKE HOME STUDY NOTES SENT OUT TO STUDENTS TO STUDY BEFORE THEY START the course. The summary notes on the first two pages are unreadable, full of grammar mistakes, illogical in parts and obviously written by someone who has a less than adequate grasp of the English language.

  167. I worked as a nurse for 25 years and left the profession earlier this year. I would not go back if you paid me $10,000! I should have left 10 years ago.

    Unfortunately, nursing is a profession dominated by females and as such it remains under-valued and exploitative. Working unpaid over-time is routinely expected of nurses, bullying is rampant and conditions are dismal. Everyone who can possibly leave the profession, does so. Those who remain in nursing (usually for financial reasons, although some are simply clinically insane) become bitter and twisted.

    Personally, I would rather live under a bridge and scrounge for my dinner in a rubbish bin than have to return to nursing to earn a living!

    • Hi Sue, I think we are on the same boat. I am still a student nurse but have been crying a lot during my clinical placements. Nursing has changed my personality, from a friendly/compassionate person to a bitter/twisted one. My friends and I regret choosing nursing for our future career. Unfortunately, we have gone too far so can’t go back. I really admired your resilience/patience to stay in the profession for 25 years.

  168. Just letting people know there is a clinical skills refresher course now available in Sydney at only around $1000 with
    The course is over one week and is formally approved as adequate for nurses to refresh their skills when they are coming up to 5 years without practising. You can’t do the course after the five years are up, it must be completed before the end of the five years since last working or else it is not recognised as sufficient.

    • All of these comments are so true. I have had 30 years nursing experience and helped in my husband’s business for a couple of years. Trying to get a part-time job, forget it, not that easy… That makes me in my early 60s. TRY GETTING AN INTERVIEW. Is there age discrimination? Absolutely. Online applications only show on paper your experience. No interview. Whether you are capable or not may be a presumption on age. Guess what, I will be trying again through an agency.

  169. in Sydney offers a $1000 five-day course for nurses coming up to five years since last working; it is recognised as giving adequate education to bring your recency of practice up to date.

  170. There’s a bit of whingeing going on here that isn’t uncommon for nurses. Since this post first went up, a good 60 have finished the course and graduated and are back in the profession, whilst a bunch of you are still posting and whingeing. Secondly, if you don’t like the profession, don’t work in it. This is Australia, one of the most privileged countries on the planet: find a job you do like and go and do that. Nursing is a great profession, but it is packed with passive whiners who tell everyone it’s badly paid (it’s not: the average Australian nurse earns more than the average Australian wage earner), overworked (it’s not, you just don’t get to sit down and look at your texts as much as you want to), has a bullying culture (it’s far nicer to work in than dozens of other professions).

    In regards to the $10,000 fee, I think of it as a filter. If you really want to be a nurse, to make a difference to people’s lives, then find the money and pay it. $10 000 is just $27 a day.

    • Sorry Delia. I disagree with your statement that most people are whinging in this post. We are just sharing our experience and telling the truth about the real world of nursing. Even if we are living in Australia, some of us still have special circumstances that force us to stay in nursing. If we could leave, we would have done it a long time ago!
      Sorry you may not believe me, but I met a large number of non-nursing people as well as hospital patients who advised me to quit nursing because they had been noticing the bitchy profession.

    • Hi Delia,
      I understand only too well other people’s frustrations. I love being a nurse, always have. Being an overseas educated Aussie, did both EEN and RN with over 20 years of experience, my uni failed to meet one requirement of an accreditation process which AHPRA first made in 2013 (after I applied for registration) for an RN Bachelor I undertook and finished in 2008. Australian RNs who fail to meet the newer accreditation standards are allowed to receive registration, but not us. So just pay the 10000 dollars plus accommodation and travel, I’m told by the schools doing the IRON course, oh and the English test, because I left after high school and obviously forgot my native language lol.
      After packing up in Europe and moving home to look after my parents I do not have the 10000 dollars and the course is not approved for any financial help through the government. The course does not run in QLD so you must go south for 3 months. So, what do you do? After two years of back and forwards with AHPRA, work as an AIN where you can be treated unfairly at times. I am now at a crossroad in life, whether to fight for this, move back overseas or do something totally different. I have lost a big part of myself in this process, but have never regretted choosing nursing.

      • I’m very surprised because you have to sit for the English test although you are an Australian. Before 2008 (as I remember), nurses didn’t have to achieve ielts 7 so as to apply for registration. I think those nurses (both Aussie and International) should be required to do the English test just like we are now. This will show some fairness and make sure that miscommunication is minimised and patients are safe. If they can’t, they should lose their registration!

        In fact, nursing assessments are very vague. If your clinical facilitators are bullies in their genes, you will surely never pass. Dealing with patients, nurses and the healthcare team is stressful enough. Adding clinical facilitators’ bullying into the recipe will make an extremely poisonous apple that causes you to suffer even MORE than Snow White!

        Not all clinical facilitators/nurses are evil. There are good ones who always try to support you. Unfortunately in my community, bullies outweigh good nurses. I’ve read about the bullying scandal within the department of health here too.

  171. Did my refresher course in Victoria 10 years ago for free. Have worked since, but in the lucky position of not having to work fulltime and work a wonderful three days a fortnight! Because I was not working enough hours per week after finishing, I remained at Grade 2 year 2 for TWO years before returning to grade 2 year 10.
    After reading the posts, I consider myself very lucky to have done my course when I did! $10,000 is a lot of money and it would take some time to recoup that cost. I don’t know if I would bother!

  172. It seems that our profession still maintains the principle of nurse first. Once upon a time you were a nurse for life. If you married you were no longer to be a nurse.what other “profession” discourages you from having children and penalises you if you do. Perhaps we are heading back to that draconian mentality

  173. The whole thing is an ivory tower farce – with no connection to the real life circumstances of working women. Who was it (and I WOULD like their names – as surely they are proud of their work rather than so ashamed they fear defamation for it) who thought this policy change would IMPROVE nursing? What was the basis for the change, and what measurable improvement in outcomes have been achieved to cost so many people their careers? Have those outcomes been measured in any way since the registration policy changes?

    I left my nursing practice to help in our family business for a few years and then, as timing had it, had children. I had my BN and a Masters in Pub Health with nursing experience over 10+ yrs. How does an economy gain by having to twice-train a significant cohort of its workers/nurses? Why would it make sense for me to pay $60,000 for a 3yr full time degree (and let’s ignore my children <10yo for those 3yrs) which I have already done (with Masters to boot) to go back to a job that pays only enough to be able to pay that new debt back over 15+ yrs (as I, like many, would likely only be working part time.

    All other professions are making it easier for women to stay in the workforce through the child-bearing/rearing years while, most ironically, probably the most female-dominated career in the country, nursing is choking women out of it. it is in effect sexual discrimination against women choosing to parent their kids.

    This issue came up for me 4 years ago. It was a week over ten years since my last shift. All non-nursing friends I discussed it with could not believe the unfairness of it all. All done under (if I recall correctly) Tanya Plibersek who did not respond (as Minister for Health at the time) to letters on the matter.

    Who would want to go back to an overworked, underpaid, under-resourced (yes whoever said they earn over average earnings I say it is underpaid for its skill/workload set) – let alone PAY for the privilege! I have just finished paying $55ph for UNSKILLED LABOUR to sweep floors and tidy up on our Sydney building site… time to move into construction i guess – a simpler form of heavy manual labour that pays++ more, has better hours, and no requirement for any tertiary qualifications or experience.

    If there had been a decent notification period that brought the impending registration changes to the attention of all qualified nurses, working or not, I could have at least had a chance to maintain hours that would prevent me being pushed out. As it was, I left when nurses were PAID to re-train for 6wks at Concord Hosp. When I brought it up with a friend (who happened to be shadow Federal Treasurer at the time) – he said it sounded like "they " had gone "punitive" on nurses for not returning (whereas they had previously provided incentives to return). No, i don't know who "they" are, doe anyone? Or are they face-less, name-less bureaucrats?

    Delia, always glad for people to put their two bobs in, but your opinion does sound like that of an idealistic "new player" with much to learn (putting it politely). i think you will look back on your post in years to come with a different appreciation of the implications this policy has had on thousands of us ie. basically being fired (largely) for choosing to be a full time parent.

    James Valentine on Syd ABC radio has brought this matter up with complete incredulity. I think Alan Jones too. Union claimed to be powerless on this matter based on barrister advice regarding sexual discrimination (I think). Would be good to get it on Q&A with a relevant minister, politician, or bureaucrat.

    • Reply from Donna: Agree with Clare 100%. We lived in Queensland in a small mining town when our children were young. On moving back to Tasmania I contacted AHPRA to be told I’d have to do a re-entry program but none were available in the state. I thought what rot, they really don’t value the people who are nurses. Now my children are old enough for me to head off interstate and do a refresher but now I’m past 10 years out of nursing and classed as magically forgotten all I ever learnt about caring for people. Utter rubbish! Our local bloodbank often advertises for part time RNs and I like the sound of working there but to pay for 3 years at uni just to take some blood is not happening. When my oldest daughter was looking at career options and mentioned maybe nursing, I discouraged her and encouraged her in another direction!

      • NU_Admin, I totally agree with you!
        I’m a hospital trained RN, although now a non-practising RN (ie in name only). I had been out of nursing for a few years, but mindful of the 5-year limit looming very close. I wasn’t too concerned as I thought, if absolutely need be, I would just have to bite the bullet and cough up the $10,000. (No-one wants to pay that money but it was possible if necessary). Wrong, wrong, wrong. What I failed to understand was that I needed ACUTE nursing experience in the past 10 years, not just any nursing experience. I don’t have that, so can’t do the re-entry course. I’ve applied at a couple of unis, thinking I’ll just do the whole thing again, but got knocked back because I’m already a trained nurse! So what a waste! I have skills and abilities, plus life skills and empathy, having lived a while now. My only hope is to get into uni by not mentioning the fact I’ve ever nursed. How ridiculous is that!? But as mentioned above, what a complete waste of time to completely retrain an RN who has already worked years post-graduate, when all she requires is a refresher course! This really needs to be addressed so we can keep nurses nursing!

  174. For TG November 16 2015 – in regards to the clinical refresher course considered adequate for nurses to refresh their skills when coming up to 5 years without practicing to bring their recency of practice up to date, did you do this course and did AHPRA accept this and you were able to continue your registration?

  175. Policies are all politically motivated. There are too many nurses so they’re not making it easy.
    I’m in the process of putting my application in for registration. It’s been 12 years since I nursed. I keep getting the feeling they are hoping my application will go away.
    Came across this thread.
    Obviously not much has changed in the last 5 years!
    I want to do the re entry course not the re-registration course.
    I’ve got my degree. It’s a shame it has an expiry date!

  176. What amazes me is how a professional body that is meant to represent nurses has been hijacked to our detriment. How did this happen? What other profession pays $10,000 to re-enter the workforce after 5 years without practice? Why is an 8 to 12 week course $10,000? The Australian College of Nursing claims it’s to cover their cost of professional indemnity insurance and supervisors in the clinical placements – if this is so why is the cost so much lower for undergraduate nurses per 3 month period? Why have educational bodies aligned themselves with AHPRA – because they are making huge amounts of money from the re-entry program. Why can’t re-entry programs be run in a similar way to new (university) graduate programs ie low cost on the job knowledge and skills/competency-based program in the hospital?
    Again, a lot of education providers have a lot of money to lose. Nurses and their professional bodies should be jumping up and down and it amazes me that they are not. Political and financial motiviations above the needs of the nurses?

Leave a Reply to karen Cancel reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here