Unnecessary hurdles for nurses wanting to return to work – Part 1


The search is on to find 1400 nurses and midwives to fill the new ratio positions, yet AHPRA is placing unnecessary obstacles in the way of nurses wishing to return to the profession.

We have a chronic shortage of nurses, funding has become available for around 1400 new jobs in the public health system and many nurses and midwives who who took time out to have children now want to return to work. It should be simple: all efforts should be made to help these nurses back into nursing.

Yet many nurses and midwives have told the NSWNA they face numerous obstacles to re-entering the workforce.

If you have experienced this, please share your experiences with us in the comments section below!

Janelle Atkinson, a qualified nurse and midwife living on the North Coast, learned only last August she had lost her registration due to the recency of practice laws that took effect in July last year.

Like others who have been out of paid nursing work for years, Janelle Atkinson has been barred from re-entering the workforce due to the way the new national professional standards have been implemented, in her case the recency of practice rule.

The rule requires a re-entry to practice course unless the nurse has done at least three months’ nursing in the previous five years. People who have been out of nursing for at least 10 years must start again.

Janelle has been dealing with the new Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), members of parliament, the College of Nursing, and others, including the NSWNA. She has proposed a way forward to enable qualified practitioners such as her to re-enter paid work.

The NSWNA is trying to negotiate with authorities for a period of supervised practice for such nurses, most who are believed to be women who took time out for motherhood.
Janelled has been offered local clinical practice, which may help in reaching a solution in her case.


Currently in NSW, the only available re-entry course for Registered Nurses is from the College of Nursing, a non-profit provider at Burwood in Sydney, which is offering a two month re-entry course of one month’s theory and another of practice for $10,000 for 300 hours of training.

This fee, if annualised and in the present absence of any public support, would equate to a full-fee university course of as much as $50,000 a year. AHPRA has given Janelle a letter of referral to the college. There is no specific re-entry course for midwifes in NSW.

Janelle, who is country-based, practiced and studied from 1989 to 1999, when she took a break to have her first child. She returned to work on the night shift in 2000, until well into her second pregnancy.

‘In 2002, after the birth of my second child, I made the heartwrenching decision to stop nursing temporarily and stay home with my children.

‘In 2010, my third child commenced primary school and I had planned to return to nursing, but then in January my husband purchased a new business which, for that year, required my assistance to set up and run.

‘This year was to be the year for me. I have renewed my registration on time every year, as I have always planned on returning to the profession I loved.

‘I subscribed to Healnet and started undertaking recognised online courses to obtain continuing professional development points.’

Janelle also trained as a volunteer ambulance worker, requiring in-depth training by the ambulance service and to be on call 24/7, as volunteers can often get to a scene faster than regular staff.

‘I was interviewed, and offered a position, at the Coffs Harbour Health Campus [of the Mid North Coast Local Health District], as a midwife. They offered to fully support me back into midwifery via a buddy system, and a midwifery support educator located in the ward.

‘The [campus] is a teaching hospital. I was so excited to be going back to the profession that I loved and to be an integral part of a hospital system again.

‘[Last June] I received a letter from AHPRA proposing to refuse my registration due to the recency of practice laws and standards. I prepared a submission to the [nursing] board, with advice from AHPRA over the phone and support from the [campus]. My submission failed.

‘I am completely devastated that I cannot commence my position as a midwife and, more so, that my whole career has been discarded after all my years of education and experience.’

Stay tuned for Part two of Janelle’s story about her appeal, tomorrow!

Please leave your comments below in the comments section. We want to know what our nurses think of the Recency of Practice laws.

Image credit: The LAMP, NSWNA.

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  1. 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.
    I have just copied and paste this from a previus thread so please don’t forget EN’s with older qualifications as well. It seems that AHPRA is quite happy to take my registration money but do nothing to help me upgrade my qualifications. By the way I was only out of nursing for less than 5 years and have been back nursing for nearly 5 years now. I have only had one reply from the many emails I have sent to various MP’s and no reply at all from the ACTU. Nice!

    • I am struggling badly too.
      Single mum , condition on my registration that I need to be supervised as RN to be elligable applying for conditions to be removed from my registration.
      I literally tried everything, walked in to the public setting, private, aged care, submitted applications , talked to Nursing association ……. begged, cried,
      I am even happy to be employed casually and not even get paid as long as the employer is willing to provide me with the supervision so I can report my performance
      How could I prove myself when no ones willing to give me a chance to prove myself.
      I appreciate your advice guys
      I’m exhausted physically and mentally thinking where to go, whom to approach or how to get to see the HR staff as these days everything is online and you don’t get to meet the employers .
      All they see is the condition on your registration and no reply.
      They all need experienced nurses . How would I get that when I missed out from new grad position?

      Appreciate your advice

  2. Maybe it’s about time that the industrial organisations, MPs and the media are asked some very pointed questions.Employing workers on 457 visas at the expense of other staff is also an issue. Employers are very sneaky & can make things look quite plausible on paper. Not on!

    • That is very true, but maybe if the government actually had not changed the nursing qualifications all that time ago, we would not need 457 sponsors. There are no mental health nurses, so thank god people step in so far. The units I have managed should hang their heads in shame, expecting a RGN (Registered general nurse) to practice as a RMN (reg Mental Nurse) after a few weeks or months training. It takes 3 years to get a degree in Mental Health Nursing, that’s 3000 practical hours and 3000 study hours, I don’t mean Elearning with teachers, so it’s hardly surprising that we are called for our expertise, after all I would never claim to be able to run a General ward or be a DON in that area. But of course in my own area I have done that job no problem… Maybe if they trained you as they used to in solely mental health they would not have to!

  3. There is no ‘nice’ way to put it – IT STINKS!
    Unfortunately, the truth is that AHPRA was pushed forward by elements of our own Nursing profession. Academics, researchers, high ranking directors and (I believe) senior figures in the NSWNA and the various Nursing colleges. The Australian Nursing & Midwifery Council who co-produced the Codes of Conduct with the RCNA had a part to play as well.

    Basically, 99% of all nurses have been forced to upskill and undertake higher education (to Masters level), just to stay in our ordinary ‘ward’ jobs. It won’t be too far in the future, before the BASIC entry level for Nursing will be the Masters degree!

    Who’s responsible? Why?

    When I started out in Nursing, I only needed a Diploma. I was told I could progress forward or stay where I was. If they told me 26 years ago, that I will eventually need a Masters degree to wipe people’s backsides … guess what I would have said?

    • HEAR HEAR, I wonder if it were ever put to a profession-wide vote (rather than being left to the political posturing of a few self-appointed “leaders”) if AHPRA would’t be left out in the cold.
      They’ve ensconced themselves into a position whereby they effectively OWN nursing practice and everyone must dance to the beat of their drum, however onerous, however litigious, however ill-conceived, and however contrary to the common good.
      Judge, jury, executioner, all in a convenient one-stop shop, far FAR too much power for a single entity to wield, especially one that’s proven time and again they can’t wield it responsibly, ethically, or with due consideration to the implications of their actions.
      There are MANY stakeholders with a dog in this fight, all of whom are being roundly ignored.
      I’ve long considered that professional registration boards (now rebadged as AHPRA) should change their motto from “safeguarding the public” to “ruining lives and careers over trivial nonsense”, to date I’ve had no cause to reconsider that stance.
      They need their wings clipped, plainly and simply.

      • Yes, I find it hard to comprehend why I can’t do a re-entry course THEN register with AHPRA!!! Why you have to get their permission is beyond ridiculous. If you do the course first then they can tell if you’re fit for re-entry and it would save a lot of heartache and unnecessary running around. Nursing is the only degree I know of that has a time limit on it if you take a break from it! I wish there was a way to get around it. I’m ALL for safe practice and I understand needing to do a refresher, especially if 10+ yrs like me, but I’ll never understand why we have to jump through so many hoops! One of many VERY dissatisfied (ex)nurse!

  4. Well, my registration as an Enrolled Nurse expireds in May 2010 and I have just discovered APRAH’s new system of screwing nurses over!! I trained as an EN and worked at Campbelltown, Liverpool and Bankstown hospitals. I left nursing to support my Brain Injured brother and family to care for his needs and am looking to return to the workforce now that his condition has improved. I have worked with disability at Sydney Uni on and off but don’t think I will qualify for the minimum term of 3 months over five years. I don’t think I’ll waste my time and money renewing, might as well tear up my Cert and become a cleaner, at least they’re appreciated!! God save our hospitals, cos our gov’t certainly won’t!!

  5. I think it is highly outrageous! I have a friend in a similar situation – 15 years experience as RN/RM, left the profession to have children and educate via school of the air, as she lives in an isolated area (therefore no ability to do the odd shift to keep her registration). Now her children are off to boarding school and she is desperate to return to midwifery – which has always been her passion – and is being told that she will need to do all her training over again.

    In a country that is always screaming out for nurses and midwives, I find this absurd! And what’s more we’ve created this problem ourselves. Surely providing accredited re-entry courses to allow experienced and valuable nurses and midwives to return to work after taking time of for the important job of raising their children, is the way to go. Why should they be penalised for being good mothers?

    • I am a Victorian RN or should that be was .I am going through the awful process of trying to re register after a break of 9 years for child raising. AHPRA seem to make it as hard as possible from start to finish. Proving my english skills when all my education and employment is in Austrailia, do they think I have forgotten how to speak english in the last 9 years!They suggested I contact universities for recognition of prior learning, I hold a Degree but it was obtained more than ten years ago so counts for absolutely nothing. Punishment for putting family first. What a great society!!!

      • I am keen to see a legal challenge and some more media coverage of this problem. I am being refused any kind of registration after having some years out of practice and my Masters degree is not recognised.
        I would love to be in touch with others by email

  6. I have not practised for 10 years although I have a Bsc & a Masters in nursing both attained just before the time that I left. I am absolutely disgusted with the treatment I am receiving from AHPRA with regard to keeping my registration/qualifications. I would expect that if I returned to nursing I would have to do a re-entry course but what they are proposing is wildly excessive and so expensive as to prevent older nurses re-entering the workforce. There is a shortage of nurses and the health system needs experienced well educated nurses more than ever. I will also be a consumer of that health system in the future and the situation worries me greatly.

  7. I to am in the above predicament out of work just over ten years with plenty of qualifications/experience. Left to have and educate my children and now find that I am being asked to fully retrain before returning to my midwifery. I believe this is an absurd and ridiculous ruling and prepared to take my case further. Is there anyone else out there in this situation willing to form a lobby group to take our cause further?? You can contact me at min_nursing@yahoo.com

  8. Similar situation for me. I am/was an RN/RM and left in 2001 to have the first of my three children. I last practised in 2005, working part-time on a postnatal ward in a large teaching hospital in Sydney. AHPRA have referred me to the re-entry course for midwifery only, and will not re-register me as a nurse. The re-entry course, besides being extremely expensive, as I understand it has nothing to do with midwifery.

    What a ludicrous suggestion to re-do a three year nursing degree that you already possess…..

  9. Having qualified in 1981 I have had a long career in Haemodialysis nursing and have had two breaks.One for 7 years while I had my children subsequently returning in 2001 to a Haemodialysis unit with a facilitator on hand and was up to speed within a week.The other break, recently for 6 years partly due to illness and then assisting with a family business,but had intended to return to nursing last May having renewed my registration every year.I was told after submitting a CV and also informing them of an available position for me in a Haemodialysis unit,and after I might add, waiting to hear back from them for six months,that I needed to do a re-entry course.I have accepted that fact but find it unbelievable that I have to pay $10,000, completely upfront and that this is the only option available to me! In W A & S A there are hospital based re-entry courses that are free.Why are there no free hospital based re-entry courses in NSW? .How many unregistered nurses are out there and cannot afford to pay that fee in order to return to their chosen career .With NSW crying out for registered nurses, the’ powers that be’ are responsible for missing a whole army of us just waiting to return.

    • Thank s Aron
      do you know how to make an appeal to the tribunal , I can’t find how to on APHRA website. Do you know Julieanne Palmer? maybe she can have some great advise for all in need. Cheers Suzanne

      • I looked before the most recent changes on 13/02/14 and could not find it. I rang and was redirected back to the website, I have also read the latest civil and admin appeals tribunal case of timeframes to appeals are hardly ever won! There was one nurse-specific one and one about a police officer trying to transfer, this info can be submitted and can go in for consideration, this is not allowed to be submitted, messy, very messy, brings with it hurdles and a superman requirement to be able to leap tall buildings!

  10. I have read this article in this months Lamp and think it is deplorable. This lady had very valid reasons to leave the workforce for so many years – she was raising a family and helping her husband run a business! She had the full support of her employer therefore AHPRA screwed her over. Seems there are many others in the same situation as her. $10,000 upfront to do a re-entry course through College of Nursing when there is such a chronic nursing shortage is disgraceful. Why are these courses not hospital based and therefore free of charge? There needs to be more incentives to get nurses back to the workforce rather than drive them away.

    I agree with GORDO, pretty soon Masters degrees will be mandatory as will being Credentialled.

    Hopefully things will work out for Janelle careerwise.

    I think it’s time the Govt stepped in and actually did something about it.

  11. Thankyou Anon for posting link above. I am Janelle Atkinson who appeared in the Nov issue of THE LAMP “Needless Hurdles”. I feel it sets a precedent for ALL nurses and midwives who have been deregistered due to recency of practice standards. I have emailed Anne Samuelson (AHPRA) requesting “reregistration as a nurse and midwife subject to conditions” , citing PALMER V NURSING and MIDWIFERY BOARD NSW AUSTRALIA [2011] NSWNMT (12 December 2011) Will be interesting to see if I get a response.
    I suggest all of you forward this link to all you know who have been deregistered due to the new recency of practice standards. Strength in numbers !!

    • hi Janelle – how did you go? did you get a response? what was the result?
      I got my letter from AHPRA today refering me to the course. I’m considering making a submission.

  12. I would also like to thank everyone for their support and good wishes so far since this issue has gone public. Many of you have gone to a lot of trouble to contact me and I empathise with all of you .Nurses are the ones who are there when people are at there most vulnerable, scared and in pain. It breaks my heart to think of so many devoted, highly intelligent, educated nurses who have been de-registered due to no fault of our own. I will continue to fight the beauracrats on this issue as it affects so many and it is just plain unfair.

  13. I have been out of paid work for 15 years, during which I have cared for my disabled husband, and nursed him through numerous surgeries, managed his medications, liased with many health professionals, including pain specialists, neurologists, and have been trying to get some points to prevent being deregistered. I have applied for quite a few courses, only to be refused, because I am not currently employed.
    To that end I have been working again now for 3 months, as a night duty RN in aged care; night duty, so I am not away from my husband during his waking hours. I have just begun to accrue the odd point, but as my registration comes up in Jan ’12, I am terrified that I will now be deregistered and lose my new found passion. I have never NOT been a nurse, something most of my fellow nurses can attest to. I am very keen to seek a class action against those that seek to ruin our careers/lives. One of the nurses I work with has told me that the government paid his wife $10,000 to emmigrate from the Phillipines to work here as a RN. Why cant they offer a little of this cash to help we more mature nurses keep doing what we love. I have never had a moment’s problem fitting right back into my job as an RN; I love my job and my patients love me, trust me, and rely on my care.

    • I’m in the same boat, but feel some comfort not being in this alone, when I thought I was.
      I been out of paid work for 15 years, due to being full time carer for my mother and nursing my 2 elderly parents at my home till their deaths!
      I unfortunately let my registration slip for 2 years and that is where my AHPRA battle started, due to the recency of practice laws. I was told my only option was to go back to Uni and do my 4 years again. I was and still am devastated!
      I have always wanted to be a nurse, that’s all I know and they have taken it away from me. I’m not experienced in anything else and have tried to get other jobs but I don’t have the experience. How do you get experience without experience?
      I can’t even study in the areas I’m interested in because I need to be registered to do so, it’s so frustrating!
      Nursing, along with other professions, was something you could fall back on later in life. This is my later in life now and I have been rejected and I need and I have to go back to work and AHPRA won’t let me!
      When you came back into the workforce you had a buddy system to refresh your skills and you gradually integrated back into working alone, once comfortable and capable. It worked for decades, why wouldn’t it still work now?
      I was offered a 3 day position as an RN at a Medical Centre and had to decline because I’m not registered. I’m devastated, I NEED to work!
      Victor! I don’t want to work in the hospitals, I am still skilled and capable to work in a medical centre, with the nursing duties that would be required of me!

  14. I am in the same boat.I have been an RN for 15 years.Stopped working in late 2005 after the birth of my 5th child.Last year I thought it was time to return to the job I love,and was shocked to hear AHPRA declined my application.I have taken my issue to local mp,NSWNA!made written complaints to Julian Skinner etc,all to no avail.They don’t care.So it seems AHPRA with the stroke of a pen can wipeout my whole career and uni degree..Why? Hospitals are screaming out for staff,why not let us come back???

  15. I can’t believe there are so many of us, for what ever reason have had a break from our careers and have been treated so badly with no explanation. Myself have had the same treatment( or should I say no treatment) from AHPRA, after many phone calls , one to tell me they never received my submission for RN/RM and after a very long weekend to find out yes they had received it than to be told my RM was voided. Never have I received paper to tell me or encourge me how to keep my RN. Thanks Aron for the tribunal link, APHRA will be getting another call on Monday. It is so sad that like myself you can be penalised in 2012 for being a mother and caring for your family.
    Everyone keep their heads up :those tears, sleepless moments, anger feelings,letters to govt members etc and phones ++++++ who can HELP ??? surely together there is an answer especially in numbers.

  16. Hi, I’m in the same boat as many others here. Bachelor degree, 15 years experience as a registered nurse (in Victoria) in various settings, stopped just under 6 years ago to raise my children thinking i’d do a refresher course (or some on the job updating) and get back into nursing. I was stunned to see these changes. How do they manage to keep this out of the media and the general public? Even colleagues of mine who are still nursing had no idea. This needs to be taken up by the media. If they think there’s a nurses shortage now, wait for another 5 years of qualified nurses refusing to pay these ridiculous fees and undergo an unnecessary amount of training (or even more outrageous – redoing your whole degree!), then they’ll have a real crisis on their hands. We are qualified! Just need updating. Just like riding a bike – you never forget how to nurse! I don’t know of any other profession that renders a degree completely worthless after having time off.

  17. 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.

    • Well done Julie. Would be great to see some decent media coverage. Have you thought of forwarding your email to 60 mins or ACA as well. Maybe they would jump on board too. I will try to put something together as well. Maybe the more they here from, the more likely they will run with this story.

        • Please see this article: http://www.news.com.au/nurses-forced-to-pay-to-work-in-nsw-hospitals/story-e6freuzi-1226250317887
          I have been writing and phoning my local MP, Jillian Skinner, AHPRA, The College of Nursing (who holds the ONLY course in NSW) and many other institutions about this ludicrous situation with Nurses wanting to re-enter the workforce after more than 5years away from nursing. Today I was interviewed by the ABC Radio and once I find the transcript, I will post it here. I am desperate to get back to Nursing and have a good 30 more years to give to this career, but have one major hurdle to get over. That is the financial burden of completing the course ($18000 = course + childcare/travel costs) and the inflexibility of the course (held full-time over 8weeks). I am the main care giver to my 3 young children and due to my Husband working long 12hr days, and travelling a lot for work, I am unable to complete the course.
          I am more than interested to hear from anyone who is at present, looking into forming a class action or some other lobby group. We all need to get together and do something. Unfortunately, as individuals we are not getting anywhere.

          • Hi Sarah, I have just read your post from last year and wondering if you were able to get nurses together for a class action? I’m in conflict over recency of practise and considering legal action. My whole nursing career has been obliterated by AHPRA not to mention my income and place in society as a valuable member. They need to be made accountable. Thank you.

  18. I have sent emails to ACA and Today Tonight ,as well as Ray Hadley,talk show host with 2GB in Sydney.Have not had any response yet….hope it is just because it has been a holiday period,and not because no one seems to care about our plight!!

    • Hi Barbara,

      my hubby is planning to contact Alan Jones at 2GB – we are just waiting to do a little bit more homework before we go to him, so we are prepared in our arguement.

      the more noise we make the sooner we will be heard.

  19. Hi all,

    I was an RN7 with post grad cert in ICU.

    I last worked in 2007 just before falling pregnant with my 3rd child.

    I had worked casually inbetween my 1st and 2nd child and was planning to go back to work in 2009 but my local hospital weren’t taking any more casuals on at that point and told me to come back in 3 months. By that time I was pregnant with my 4th child and so decided to hold off going back to work until my 4th baby was approaching 12 months. Which brought me to last year finding out that AHPRA had come in and everything had changed.

    Like so many others i have a passion for nursing, I dont want to do anything else. From the age of 12, all I wanted to be was a nurse and I pursued that dream to now find out that everything I studied and worked hard for may be lost because I chose to have a career break to care full time for my 4 young children.

    I care about the future of nursing and am saddend to hear of other stories of dedicated nurses in the same boat. I feel like I am sitting at home seemingly helplessly watching our health system struggle. While they cry out for more nurses, I am here waiting and wanting to come back.

    I am keen to do whatever I can to help fight for our cause.

    Good luck to you all.

    • Hi Sandra,
      I have been reading through all the comments. As soon as I read yours I said “that’s me”. It’s happening right now. I have #4 baby due in 5 weeks. I last worked casually in 2011 whilst pregnant. Purely to keep up skills. I didn’t keep score of actual hours worked. I didn’t think it really mattered. I thought that they are desperate for nurses, why would they deregister an experienced nurse?
      AHPRA have offered me, get this, an extension of one extra month to complete a refresher program, to be completed by January 2014.
      1. Baby due 19th January 2013
      ². What hospital would run a program over Christmas period?

      These refresher programs aren’t easy to find on the internet. I found one for ENs. Emailed them. They said they forwarded my email onto the appropriate person. Haven’t heard anything back.

      Anyway, any suggestions? What happened with you?

  20. Thanks Julie, Barbara and Sandra, we need all our voices to be heard. I contacted Ray Hadley back in September but received no response at all.Since November 2011, I have appeared in The Lamp, The Sun-Herald, 50+ newspapers across Australia and spoken live on ABC Radio with Brett Holmes (Gen Sec NSWNA) about this problem, so it will be great to get some wider exposure. I hope you have all seen and opened the link above posted by Anon (16th Dec 2011)re. Julia Palmer’s win with the Tribunal on 13th dec 2011, this will have to set a precedent for us all, who have been unfairly de-registered.

  21. I am also fighting for my career. I have 20 years expereince as an RN, a nursing degree & partial Masters (Hons). I took time out to care for family, & after just over 10 years out was told my only option was to redo my qualifications eg Bachelor of Nursing (3 yrs fulltime). I was so shocked to learn that refresher programs had been scrapped, & even nurses I have spoken to who are still in the nursing workforce are as equally shocked. Worse is the refusal for those over 10 years out into an AOC or Re-Entry Program. I have a second appeal pending and am not going quietly.

  22. i personally spoke with Damiel Tynan yesterday about his case with Julie Palmer.Its a long and expensive road unfortunately to take the legal route.I was interviewed by Daily Telegraph in sydney yesterday and story is due to be pblished on Saturday,keep an eye out and lets keep up the protesting!

  23. What a good article in telegraph. Thanks Julie.

    And thanks penny who called Alan jones on 2GB this morning regarding the article.

    I’m going to e-mail Alan jones with my story too.

    Maybe we should all e-mail Alan with our stories- strength in numbers.

  24. http://www.news.com.au/nurses-forced-to-pay-to-work-in-nsw-hospitals/story-e6freuzi-1226250317887
    I have also emailed Alan Jones, along with Jenny Brockie (4 corners) and will continue to help fight for a fair resolution to this issue.
    I am now working as a personal carer, earning the award wage (as I can not even be employed as an Assistant Nurse, let alone a Registered Nurse!). How’s that for studying a 3 year Nursing degree and working in Nursing, before starting a family. I purposely chose Nursing for the varying shifts, caring for others and because I saw it as a career with many paths to take. So much for that! Just because I decided to care for my own children for the first 2years of their young lives, I am now been discriminated against and passed off as ‘not good enough’. Such a sad situation for many of us.

  25. I am a 20 year experienced RN with degree in search of an Operating Room position.
    I left the Nursing field for 10 years to start my own business, now have sold the business and want to get back in the Operating Room. My speciality was Cardiac.
    I cannot find any HOSP that will hire me. I am searching for an Internship program for Re-entry but so far–NOTHING. I have contacted AORN and they are seaching for me also. ANY BODY have any ideas what to do nexr?

  26. Please don’t forget the plight of us who are being refused permission into the re-entry programs at all!!! RN’s 10 years out are being told by AHPRA to re-do qualifications from scratch ie 3 year full-time Bachelor of Nursing. There have been no courses available for our needs. Many of us have a wealth of experience which is surely worth recognising and supporting. What other profession has their qualifications and experience completely nullified?

  27. Two things to do Jim …

    1. Scroll through the AHPRA website – read everything to do with ‘recency of practice’.

    2. Read all the relevant threads on this forum …

    Then, unfortunately, you will realise, that nobody can help you.

    Regardless of which State you are in, the CURRENT situation is hopeless …

    Best of luck though …

  28. I think I can see what the problem is: Health Minister Jillian Skinner is obviously innumerate. $10,000 for a 6 week “refresher” course for a $25 per hour job simply isn’t worth it. Perhaps we all need to become MP’s? Or the mate of an MP who runs a College?

  29. Hi Janelle,
    Was soooooooo interested in what you have said about the conditional registration. Had already put this to the Board in my first appeal, but only via a letter. I am currently organising another submission/report, and will possibly attach the AGEN40 as well. It really is like pulling teeth to know what it is they actually want. Have also spoken with barrister Daniel Tynan today.
    I have been wanting to get in contact with you for a while – when I can set up a public email address I’ll post it on this thread.
    Goodluck with the fight.

    • Hi Lou, Sorry for the slow reply but we have had major storms recently resulting in no phones (twice) ,no power , flooding and trees blocking roads. Plus being busy working as a medical receptionist and trying to organise a family and a business so I can go to Sydney to undertake the assessment of competence course. Good luck with your new submission, hopefully you can obtain some form of registration so that you can go back to work soon. Good Luck with YOUR fight as well, thinking of you ALL. Cheers, Janelle

  30. I think we all need to take a deep breath.

    I, like many others, am using this thread to keep abreast of what is happening but I don’t think some of the hysterics (for want to a better word) are helping. Clearly Gordo sees the situation as evidence as a giant conspiracy but I don’t agree. What has happened is that the NMBA thought that nurses & midwives on career breaks would still be connected enough with their profession to be aware of the changes and their impact during the transition period. Apparently the union did too. Clearly this was not the case and we need to work together to pressure the NMBA and NSW Health to work together to sort it out.
    I think this is a really valuable thread to keep people informed but I don’t think we should be naming, quoting, accusing and critising individuals. Nor do I think it is fair to selectively quote portions of correspondence.
    I realise people are completely furious and stressed about the situation but I think we need to remember that this is a public forum and to post accordingly.

  31. Also, I think that probably the best thing everyone can do is to visit their local state MP. Inundating MPs with personal representations on the issue will ramp up the pressure where it needs to be. All you have to do is tell them your story.

  32. Gordo
    Wrong again. It does matter what state you are in. NSW is the only state with recency of practice issues and the only one with only one re-entry to practice program.

  33. The Refresher Course for Registered Nurses used to cost $900.00 in 2008. It ran for two weeks and when I contacted 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 or 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.

  34. I urge you all to download a copy of the re-entry to nursing petition found on the NSWNA homepage and get as many signatures as you can before the end of March 2012.

  35. speaking from Victoria – same scenario for me several years ago – just 5 years out of nursing (raising a young family) it took me another 3 years just to ‘suck it up’ due to desperate financial circumstances and concede – my large metro city did not offer the course, meant I travelled 3hrs daily for 12 weeks. With the occasional late/early shift I secured just 4 hrs sleep on some of those nights. In addition to the 8 weeks of shiftwork, a huge amount of assignment work was allocated during the 4 week ‘study block’ meaning every weeked and spare moment was spent on ‘study’ – assignment and powerpoint and poster presentations – I recall none but the horror. I still look back at those weeks as being the worst in my life – I felt as though I was being punished for ‘leaving the profession’. Having to ‘pay’ the gap of $4000 adding insult to injury for which I had to secure a personal loan. I still maintain it is a huge barrier for ‘refreshed’ nurses wishing to return to nursing and the original re-entry program a much more appropriate alternative. I now work in aged care and love it – the 12 week program was sadly, mostly irrelevant, as it was set in an acute hospital – I had no intention of proceeding with ward nursing and would have been far better off doing a preceptorship in an aged care/community setting where I am now employed.

  36. Does anyone have any ideas about making up recency of practice hours which aren’t renumerated? I am trying to make up hours before my next registration date . . .I work in mental health and I’m an rn? Any ideas? I could then at least make up some extra time constructively, maybe volunteer work? Thanks Please help!! x x

    It also includes working in a direct non-clinical relationship with
    clients, working in management, administration, education, research,
    advisory, regulatory or policy development roles, and any other roles that
    impact on safe, effective delivery of services in the profession and/or use of
    their professional skills. Any ideas?

  37. I am an EN who has been out of nursing since 2005, but kept paying my registration up until 2008. I only left nursing as my husband bought a business and needed me to help him run it. Our business has now closed and I thought I could go back into nursing.
    I am a Theatre nurse and have a job lined up and waiting but unfortunately I cannot get my registration renewed until I do the re-entry course and pay the $10k.
    I dont have $10k and will not have it in the near future so looks like my nursing career is over. Hearbreaking is all I can say.
    I spoke to the Board of Nursing and they told me that there are thousands of nurses willing to pay the money. I asked who are these nurses and how do they afford it. They told me that I should apply for a personal loan just like they had.
    I dont think so.
    When there is such a shortage of nurses why should we have to pay this. So unfair.
    I have rang 2GB and spoke to Ray Hadley and he is going to look into it but I encourage any other nurses who listen to him to ring up and voice their concerns about this as well. .
    I am now unemployed and cannot find a job. Dont know what I am going to do.,
    Nursing is what I am meant to do and I love it, but until the law changes I can follow my dream anymore.

    • I’d like to know who these thousands of nurses are too!!!

      I have emailed Alan jones and ray Hadley on 2GB. But had no response.
      Maybe I’ll have to call too!

  38. Hi.

    I left nursing in 2004 when my youngest child was born. I now want to return to my role as a Regsitered Nurse but noone will employ me because I have been out for more than 5 yrs, mind you I have had experience in the last years caring for hubby who has MS. Even when the MS society has advertsied jobs for RN’s to visit recently diagnosed people with MS to offer support and show them how to self administer s/c betaferon, I’m not considered as ‘exeperienced’. It absolutely peeves me to tears since I have been giving my hubby the injections all this time , caring for 2 kids too. I bet if I had a ‘buddy’ my nursing skills would come back to me. It’s not rocket scince!! Yes, I woked in a high dependency ward and nursing is a hard job but why do I have to pay 10 grand to work again??
    Has anyone considered a career change because of this?? I’m thinking of doing primary teaching, it would be cheaper and I like kids.

    • Hi Suzie. I was planning on doing exactly what you have mentioned. I’m in Victoria, and am not prepared to jump through the hoops now in place to get back in to what i am qualified and experienced to do since having time off for my kids. Thought i’d go to plan b and do primary teaching given it was my 2nd preference after leaving high school. Even though i have had experience in teaching during my nursing career, coaching primary age children etc, i missed out on getting in to the dip ed, as down here and when i queried why, i was told they don’t consider experience which would be benfecial for teaching, it went solely on GPA (grade point average) from my nursing degree results 18 years ago!! My plan B fell through, so i am now mowing lawns for my dad with his business. I am just lucky i at least have that as an option otherwise i have no idea what i’d do. What a waste!

  39. 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?

    • Hi Sandra,
      I have made a submission to the board to be reconsidered for RN registration without having to do the refresher course and have today received a response advising that they will grant me registration ‘with conditions’. These 7 ‘conditions’ will certainly effect my unemployablility. I have worked in the past 5 years but fall just short of the minimum hours. It has been the most frustrating experience and there is no end in sight as I plan to appeal this latest unreasonsble impediment to resuminmg my nursing career.

      • thanks penny..how many supervised hours do you have to do?

        it all seems too hard! maybe i just wont bother with attempting a submission..seems like it wont do me any good!

      • Hi I’m not sure you will even see this post but I was told the same about retaining registration last Oct/Nov and had to have it completed by Sept 2013. I explained that I was expecting my second child in December and was unsure how I would be able to complete these hours as I for one did not have a job and having a new baby and with breastfeeding how on earth was I going to compete it?
        AHPRA wasn’t interested and it was basically a case of bad luck. They also didn’t have an answer for when I asked who would employ me (probably on a casual basis) to have another employee ‘supervise’ me. It’s an absolute joke!

    • Hi Sandra, I received a proposal to refuse my registration in June 2011, accompanied by a letter of referral to The College of Nursing. I sent a submission to the Board in July 2011 which failed, and my registration was refused. I applied to appeal to the Nursing and Midwifery Tribunal, but was told that this would be very expensive and I would probably not win, so I withdrew my appeal. I was successful in gaining a NSW scholarship in December 2011, and now find myself off to The College of Nursing next week (27th). I realise how lucky I am to have this chance, as so many of us are caught up in this devastating predicament. It means though, that I am leaving my 3 young children for the first time in their lives, one of whom will have a birthday while I’m gone. I also still have to manage my husbands business, as I do all the paperwork,(which arrives home with him late at night). The next 4 – 8 weeks will be challenging to say the least.
      I am sorry you are now in the position of proposed refusal as I was, I empathise completely, you are not alone. Send in a submission to the Board as advised and see how it goes. Good Luck, let us know how you go. Janelle

      • thanks janelle. im not sure what to do? dont think i have the emotional motivation to send in a submission when more experienced nurses than me are getting refused.

        i enquired about the december scholarships, but was still waiting for my AHPRA referal so had to wait.

        one of the biggest hurdles is the childcare issue!! (ironically that was why i could’t keep up my work in the first place!!)

        i feel for you leaving your little ones..:-( do you still live up the north coast? do you have to be in sydney the whole 8 weeks?

        at least i only live about 30mins from the college!! PM me at sandymboz@yahoo.com and let me know how you get on with the course…and if you ever need any help with anything in sydney let me know, i’ll help in any way i can.

  40. Has anyone got any great ideas how to write a submission that can win AHPRA over?
    Or at least know of any guidelines, I finally have received a letter to write a submission to save my midwifery due to ROP. The story is tooo long and boring, but definently hurtful. Would appreciate any ideas. Thanx Suzanne

  41. hi everyone,
    I am totally new to this forum and only discovered today after goggling out of desperation to seek help and any good ideas to lodge an appeal to Aphra to reconsider my application for RN that had been declined on the ground of my overseas educational qualifications not matching up with any equivalent Australian University level.
    I am about one quarter thro my Bachelor of nursing thro UTAS and is currently working in Aged Cares as Team leader/stand-in RN frequently . I also felt that Aphra had failed to present all my papers of qualifications to the selection committee including vitally important information about the college that I obtained my degree is now an accredited renowed Thailand University. This letter which I have about my college name change is vital as Aphra alleged that it could not find my college name anywhere in its list of thailand institutions that it can draw equivalence about my overseas qualifications locally. Adding salt to injury, the most perturbing part of all this I had to endure over seven months of hell to hear this outcome . I really would appreciated all you more learnt people here to give me some helps as to how I can win NMBA over on this one important appeal i , thank you so much and long live nursing!!

  42. I have been away from the bedside for over 10 years but have worked is a clinical situation in education. I resigned from nursing 4 yrs ago now and require a reentry course, so I am told. Unfortunately from my research there are no refresher or rentry courses available and hence I will remain unemployable. Not sure what to do. It is too expensive to attend the required number of workshops to remain “sort of” updated. Last I heard there was even a membership fee to gain access to the website containg journals of relevance to read to show that you are making an effort to stay in touch. It all too much, its easier to let your registration go! Sally

  43. My wife was an RN (Degree) before we decided to have a family. We are fortunate that my salary covered all our expenses etc – hence she did not work for 8 years. Now that our youngest is about to go to pre-kindy next year, she is planning to return to work – perhaps doing one or two shifts a fortnight and eventually increasing her hours/days so that she can still be home for the kids to help with homework etc – this will also help us ensure that our kids stay off the streets and do not become a problem for society. She recently told me that she needed to pay $10k just to go back to work?? My response to this was, spend a little more money and do a Masters in something else, perhaps teaching and change careers!

    I can see why the powers that be would have come up with the idea of up-skilling/refreshing nurses before they come back into the workforce – however this does not encourage nurses back into the industry!

    • It sounds easy to just ‘upgrade to a Masters’ degree. Although you will find that nearly all the higher degrees need you to be currently registered as a Nurse.
      I have looked into this option, and have not as yet found a Post Graduate qualification that I could do to allow me to become re-registered, or to even change my career direction in Nursing. I have also considered teaching in health (ie. as a TAFE NSW AIN teacher) and gaining qualifications to do this, but still found that I needed to be currently registered.
      I am not even able to apply to work as an AIN, as I need to go to TAFE and do the Assistant in Nursing Course.
      At present I will just have to continue working as a disability support worker on an award wage, until a more affordable and accessible course becomes available for me to return to Nursing.

  44. “my whole career has been discarded”
    A sickening state of affairs with bureucracy gone mad. Let’s face it, there are positions in nursing in this country that are not that appealing to anyone, even a 457 visa holder.So for God’s sake wake up to yourselves or you will destroy the entire industry that your bureaucracy is based on. Let alone the affect on the community this is having.

  45. I’m in the same boat. Unfortunately, this is the longer term result of the professionalisation of nursing. We moved this way to get paid our dues, and now we are under the oppression of maintaining our worth. We are the by-products now. Our financial value has pushed the value of our credentials up, and we really just have to accept this. Can you really see this changing? I can’t. Nursing was once a ‘vocation’, now it is a profession. And those who fought for this are not likely to look back over their shoulders and feel sorry for those who are being left behind. I am facing either starting all over again, or looking at an alternative career.

  46. I have no idea what our nursing “leaders” actually think the role of the nurse today is – whatever their vision, it is totally “skewed with hype and rhetoric”.
    Nursing is not rocket science, never has been and never will be and apart from the usual increase in knowledge of all professions, its role has changed little. Nursing is, and always will be, a vocation. There are not too many people who want to look after someone who is not their own, on a 24hr hands on basis.
    We have no input into the patient’s direct care, save what we can advocate and, occasionally, refuse to administer should the treatment be so glaringly wrong, yet the education advocated for the registered nurse is one that you would think that the nurse was calling the shots, so to speak.
    Add to that that we now have in the acute hospital setting the AIN with five weeks or six months education, doing 99% of the registered nursing role, with this AIN unable to be recognised by the nurse governing body – one must then question the bureaocracy that now masquerades as nursing intelligentia.
    I believe the day is coming when they will be called to account.

  47. Jennifer, I am so with you on your comments! Nursing is a hard and dirty job for those who wish to be involved at the bedside – and guess what, it is usually those who do care that are burned at the “stake of professionalism”!

  48. I am so glad to find that I am not alone. Here is my story.
    I originally applied for registration as a midwife in January/February 2011. At the time I was not working but still employed by Hunter New England Health and was pregnant with my now youngest child. On 21 November 2012 I was given Registered Nurse registration but denied Midwifery registration (almost 2 years after my initial aplication).
    I was denied registration as a midwife as I unable to obtain paperwork that was acceptable to AHPRA despite numerous attempts to obtain it through Hunter New England Health.
    I was able to provide a certificate of Service (with the incorrect classification of
    Registered Nurse) along with a letter from Maitland Hospital stating that I was employed as a Registered Midwife working in the postnatal unit and Special Care Nursery during this time. This was not good enough.
    I recieved little communication or assistance from AHPRA and waited months in between hearing anything. In the meantime the computer roster systems changed at Hunter New England Health with my old roster information and they were unable to do anything more for me. At one point my application was left for an extended period because an employee from AHPRA had resigned and not passed on to anyone else.
    Ironically, I now have registration as a nurse but have not worked outside midwifery
    for around 10 years (apart from two or three shifts in pediatrics during my time at Maitland Hospital).
    I resigned myself to the fact that I was getting nowhere with AHPRA and recently decided that I would do a refresher course through ACT health to obtain my registration again. Today while enquiring about the course I have learnt that I am illegible for it because I do not have my midwifery registration! I have been told that I have to reapply again which may take months because of the Christmas New year period!
    I heard on the news not long ago that we need more midwives, but I am being blocked at every turn trying to maintain my registration. I worked for 5 years at university to become a midwife and now I have lost it because I didn’t have the right document, even though I had other documents to support that I worked most recently as a midwife. I realise that new regulations are now in place and think that it is a good idea to make sure that nurses and midwives remain well educated and current in their professions. But why has no commonsense been applied during the changes in regulations?
    I loved working as a midwife and feel so upset that I have lost my registration so easily. Now that I am trying to reinstate my registration through doing a refresher course, my path has been blocked again.

  49. Hi there,
    I finished my training in 1995 and have worked as a Registered Nurse up until 2007 when I had my first child. I went back in 2009 for 6 months until having my 2nd child, but I still haven’t met the Recency of Practice standard, where I had to work the equivalent of 3 months in 5 years.
    I’m ready to go back to work next year as my eldest starts prep, I even went for an interview at a Day Surgery, more or less had the job. I was so excited!
    Now I have to withdraw my application as APHRA won’t register me 🙁
    I’m also in the same boat. Although I’m in QLD, but am having the same trouble with re-entering the workforce after a break of 5 years to raise my 2 children. My hubby works away overseas for 5 weeks at a time, and we made the decision for me to stay at home rather than the kids going to daycare fulltime.
    Now I have to pay $9,125 to do a 20-week re-entry course. Mostly online, then at the end I need to go back to the hospital I worked at as a student with a preceptor to do 160hrs.
    It’s crazy, they are turning me away when they are meant to screaming out for nurses. I really don’t know what to do now, that is why I googled this issue and came across this page.

  50. Hello
    I also think this situation is disgraceful. I am a midwife with a Masters and years of clinical experience, but AHPRA says I must do my entire degree again to practice. I have explored my options and appealed the decision three times. This included appearing before the AHPRA Tribunal, where I was made to feel as small and as guilty (why should I feel guilty!!??) as possible. Two of the three people making up the Tribunal weren’t even Health professionals!!
    I am now looking at taking up a legal battle and giving us lots of media coverage. I am interested in hearing from as many other nurses in this situation as possible.
    I am happy for you to email me directly just using your email, no names or identification – kmoo1162@gmail.com
    Unless we organize and take a stand, this ridiculous situation will continue!!

  51. I’m curious, what about doctors? Do they have to do a certain number of hours to maintain their registration? or can they just have time off and re-enter practice again without an issue?
    Does their degree last for life, unlike ours? I’m really curious if anyone knows what rules they have to follow.

  52. Hi there! I’m from Tasmania and am having similar problems to you all. I finished my bachelor of nursing in 2002, working for nearly 4 years before starting my beautiful family. I returned to work in 2009 between child number three and four for about three months, working casual dayshift for one day a week, before falling pregnant with number four. I have been able to renew my registration every year up until the last two years due to the new APHRA recency of practice rules. On application of my registration renewal I was told that I wouldn’t be successful and would lose my registration due to not having worked the equivalent of three months fulltime in the past 5 years. So the fact that at the time of this enquiry I had been working competently on a ward as the second most senior RN counted for nothing! My colleagues and employee no doubt would vouch for my competency, but they weren’t interested in this! I recently called them to see again where I stood, but was told that I had to do a refresher course which is not offered in Tasmania! Wow! They later that day rang me back and said that I could submit an application for re-registration and the board would look at my case based on how much I had worked in the… [comment unfinished]

  53. This entire process seems ridiculous, there is a massive shortage of nurses in Australia and it’s touted as a ‘priority’ yet these new standards seem to be designed to keep people out of nursing as much as anything. At this rate how are we supposed to fill the void of nurses already required, let alone the additional numbers that will be required in aged care in just a few years time?

  54. I have been out of nursing for over 10 years now and have been working in childcare (which is another issue!) In the childcare act and regs in Qld, nursing is stated as a qualification to work in childcare. But last year my hospital general nurse 3 yr training certificate is not accepted by my employer as I can’t practice nursing now! So I’ve been demoted to an unqualified assistant… But with years now in childcare I can do the job with my eyes closed. Maybe one day they will be telling parents they have to do a qualification before they can parent!
    So this whole nursing situation and having to redo a degree/pay $10,000 etc is the modern educational world ridiculousness! Like someone said, how hard is it to do basic nursing care and to pick up other stuff would only require re-working with drugs, equipment, procedures. You don’t completely forget underlying principles of practice. There has to be some hidden agenda of the government to do this. BECAUSE THE QUESTION IS WHY IS A REFRESHER COURSE SO COMPLICATED? If the only answer is negligence/duty of care then let’s close down the health system right now. If new RNs straight from uni can get an internship, hello go figure! What would Florence Nightingale say! Real nursing comes from the heart anyway, which I’m hearing from people. Anyone can be taught a technique or steps to follow or learn a piece of info on side effects of drugs. Retraining through hospitals should be easy and straightforward, every hospital should have a retraining program set by the nursing body for particular criteria to be filled. It should be paid learning like the old hospital training for nurses. Maybe followed by a 6 month probation period. As an older person returning to nursing you have the advantage of life experience, maturity and wisdom that you don’t have in your idealist years of your twenties where the clinical thrill overrides really caring, understanding and empathising with people, which you can’t do with no life experience.
    I have chosen not to go back as I’m choosing a different career path but I’m disgusted by the situation and encourage all you guys to get into the government arena. You also need the support of nursing college/university educators. With a female running this nation you need to get Julia Gillard’s attention. Maybe one day someone will come up with the idea you have to have at least one PHd, 3 MA and a couple of BAs to get the PM job!
    Good luck and don’t give up.
    PS – Nursing should never have been taken out of the hospitals anyway.

  55. Because I decided to be an at-home mother and raise my children in what I believe to be the most important time in their development, I can not now return to the nursing profession because it has been just over five years. To regain my qualification, I would have to travel four hours to Sydney, find care for my children (as we have no family members close, and we live on a rural property), and to top it all off pay $10,000. We are a single-income family – just managing to find that extra money would be impossible! I feel like I am being punished for wanting to raise a family. I truly do not understand the complexity of all this – they are are crying out for nurses and we are here willing and able, why are we not re-trained /educated on the job?

    • I agree, if many courses are online, then is there a place for DE for returning-to-work nurses with student placements at the local hospital supervised by the CNEs?

      • I totally agree with the importance of being at home to raise one’s own children. Also agree with the outrageous costs. I have started the re-entry through IHNA as it is online, they arrange clinical placements close to home, and I can pay for the course commencing three months after I started, paying just over $300 per fortnight for a year. This was the only viable option with a young family.

  56. I have my hearing in two weeks and just read through this thread and now sit here in despair… I am a midwife. Or was. 17 years of practice for nothing. I spent 5 years being a mum and a personal trainer (which I have always placed in the health spectrum). I have found myself a little depressed as my identity has now been de-valued by a beaucracy. I wasn’t just a midwife. I’m a bloody good one. What to do?

  57. I just replied to an older post on this forum. I came across it as I was looking for some advice re my situation. I left full time nursing in 2005 and continued to practise casually up until 2009 as I fell pregnant with first.
    AHPRA sent me the intention to terminate my registration as I just fell short of the required number of hours. The following months were taken emailing back and forth (waiting for months at a time for replies) to find out if my case was successful at the tribunal. It came back that it wasn’t last Sept/Oct, so then I was informed I had to complete a certain amount of hours (from memory around 3mths fulltime hours) by September this year. I explained that I currently care for my youngest at home and I was expecting my second baby in December 2012 and didn’t think or know for that matter how I would be able to meet those requirements by that date with breastfeeding etc. Apparently I could have appealed and stated this but it was now too late. This entire process was so confusing I hadn’t realised that I could have. When I asked my ‘case manager’ who would even employ me casually when I required another staff member to supervise me she couldn’t give me an answer. I emailed a lengthy reply to this mess to which I got no reply of course. So it’s a case of another one bites the dust, it’s an absolute joke!

  58. I feel blind sided. Doesn’t appear to be any option, not even a $10,000 one (outrageous) for those of us who have registrations lapsed for more than 10 years. Seems unbelievable that I would have to redo my whole nursing degree and critical postgrad studies again! I was always prepared to work fulltime for nothing for 12 weeks or so to be able to re-register; it just seems extraordinary that my 15 years of experience and my qualifications have been felled just like that. All while I have been working away in ‘not for profit’ postnatal support care whilst raising my own family. I feel very devalued. It is a great loss for the system too as I was an excellent nurse. 🙁

  59. 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.

  60. I have been out of nursing for the last 9 years, raising three children. I have always intended to go back to work but have been passionate about being at home for my children whilst they are under school age. My youngest is now at school and I am ready to have a career for myself again. I applied for registration in early September and finally at the end of December I received my letter of referral to do the re-entry course. In January, I phoned the NSW Department of Health to discuss scholarships and completed the forms as I did not have $10,000. I was told that to get a scholarship, I would need to secure a position first. I sent my CV to Central Coast Area Health and was told about four weeks later after many calls to them, that I would not be able to secure a position because due to protocols and regulations, they cannot employ without an AHPRA RN number and also, they can’t employ without knowing exactly when I can commence, since I still have the course to do. There are scholarships offered but you can’t get a scholarship because you can’t get employment. You can’t get employment because you haven’t done the course. It is incredibly frustrating that there is so much red tape that even though scholarships exist they are completely inaccessible. I can only surmise from this that the NSW Department of Health wants to appear as though it is helping people returning to nursing, however, they are more interested in budgets and offer scholarships that they know won’t be able to be used, therefore saving money. When I was enquiring about places in NSW to do the reentry course, the College of Nursing was the only place and was very booked up, I would have had to wait at least 6 months to even get in. This is because it is so booked with international students.
    I wish I had known that the SAH would be providing their course.
    The powers that be do not value the contribution you give to society by actually raising your children yourself so that they are socially well adjusted, competent individuals; and of course, all the volunteer jobs that you undertake which supports society.

  61. I am a Div1 RN in Victoria. I last practiced in 2010 but my career was cut short by my 4yo son’s diagnosis with ALL. At that time I made the decision not to work until my son’s treatment was over as I wanted to fully support him through this difficult time. Treatment ended in April 2013.We were broke but I was glad that I had stayed with Charlie throughout the chemo years.I rested for a few weeks then headed down the path back to nursing I was shocked to discover that I was a little off the required number of hours required for recency of practice laws. I was refused registration by AHPRA in May 2013.They advised me to seek out a re-entry to nursing program. Upon looking onto this I was shocked by the $10,000 price tag and the faraway location of such courses. I live on the Surfcoast and the closest course is in inner city Melbourne. I would be required to study fulltime for 8-10 weeks. My son is now 8 and having recently completed Leukemia treatment I understandably am not wanting to disappear for 8 weeks and I certainly don’t have a spare $10,000 to throw around after staying home with my sick boy for 3 1/2 years of treatment. The only conclusion that I can come up with is that our health care system is making it so hard for me to return to nursing that they must not really want me. Disappointing after 25 years of experience in the profession.

  62. I graduated in 1974. I worked fulltime, only stopping for 3 children for a few months each time. I decided not to re-register in 2007 and spend time finally with my family having their own babies and to travel with my sister and husband. I now need to find work and am hitting a brick wall everywhere I turn. I was a Director of Care of a 55 bed Aged care facility, also with extensive experience in my career in Psych and Profoundly Disabled Paediatrics. I cannot get work ANYWHERE even as a carer. I was told by a Nursing agency they would not consider me as I had no “scope of Practice”.
    I’m hurt and furious. I can’t pay my power bill let alone $10,000 for a course to re-enter. I’m so disappointed. Any other profession can return to work after a break, why are nurses so heavily penalised? I’m now applying for jobs in call centres. All these great experienced nurses going to waste. Stupid stupid stupid!

  63. I’m another “lapsed registration” midwife/nurse.
    Unable to meet APHRA requirements.

    And nothing’s changed since this article started on November 2 in 2011.

  64. How sad, I stumbled across this site in hopes of finding some information on how to return to nursing as the Nurses Board were completely useless. Here we are in 2014 as Linda mentioned above and nothing has changed. I was also told that the $10 grand course was going to be my only option!
    I fall just within the 5 years but will not make the three months fulltime required in time to maintain my registration, nor do I feel confident starting work without supervision or some kind of refresher. It would be great to have access to education days at the hospitals or small weekender type courses to refresh certain skills (maybe there’s a business idea since nothing is free!)
    However, I want to say thank you to all the nurses out there who are fighting for their right to nurse, keep it up as this is what will eventually create change.

  65. I’m a nurse and run my own training and education business and I read this with some interest. $10k buys a lot of training, so I’m interested in what is provided for that. It breaks down to about $33 an hour, so I am assuming that for that price, the theory portion is accompanied by 1:1 support from an educator for about 30 hours a week and the practical month you have a 1:1 mentor working with you the whole time?

    Is this right? If that is the case it’s not actually bad value, but I would like to hear from someone that has done the course or knows the content and support levels to see what you get before I comment on whether the course is good value or not.

    It sounds like a course that is designed outside of the VET or tertiary framework, so as yet there isn’t any funding source provided by the government to subsidise it (in which case it would become much cheaper). It may be the case that something is being sorted in Canberra, but these things take a very long time to sort out: years, rather than months, and under the Abbott government I think we will see funding for a lot of this kind of stuff strangled, so don’t get too hopeful.

    Anyway, if anyone can comment on what is actually provided for this money, that would be interesting. Oh, and by this I mean not the course structure, but what you get in terms of support.

    Cheers all.


  66. Interesting that no one replied to the above question.

    I’m not a nurse, but I work with nurses a lot and take a great interest in the profession.

    If I or my wife or my children were being looked after by a nurse who had returned to work after 5 or more years out of practice (or more than 2 years, for that matter) I would definitely want to be assured that their practice was contemporary and that they were competent. And I just don’t want that assurance to be abstract, I want any such nurse to have undergone a formal re-entry program and a rigorous examination of their competency before they were released to return.

    I am also interested as to why some nurses believe they are entitled to undergo this process for free, when every other profession does not enjoy such a privilege.

    I have always had the greatest respect for your profession, but I have noticed that over the last two decades, there has been in the UK and Australia an emerging sense that you feel you are ‘entitled’. That is, a sense you are above reproach and because you are a nurse you are to be granted certain privileges in regards to your actions or inactions. This seems to be accompanied by a sense that anything you do for a patient or time you put into the profession should be accompanied by monetary compensation.

    As a member of the public, it would be nice to see your profession reverse this attitude and return to the virtues it once prompted and represented.

    Remember that AHPRA and its associated boards, who stipulate what the components and structure of a re-entry course should be, are legislated and exist solely to protect the public, not serve the needs and wants of nurses.


    V. Mellow

    • Hi Victor,

      I’m a nurse who has done the re-entry course after 6 years out having 4 children. I absolutely agree with you that you should expect a re-entry nurse to have been assessed as competent. I found the course to be very thorough in its assessments of competence.

      But what I don’t agree with is that some people wrongly presume we nurses expect things for free. I’ve not heard anyone complain about having to pay to do a course. What we are complaining about is the extreme cost of $10,000 for 8 weeks, when a whole 3 year degree costs what? Around $20,000.

      I never once expected not to pay for a re-entry course, but seriously, how do families on one income find $10,000 plus 8 weeks childcare?

      The other issue that people are upset about is how all these AHPRA changes came in whilst people were not working, then as people were starting to apply to re-register to come back to work we were finding out about all the changes and our whole world was turned upside down without any warning.

      I’m not sure what your profession is Victor, but I wonder how much time and effort you put into your job and don’t expect monetary compensation. You must be a hospital volunteer if you don’t expect to get paid for the work you do.

      And the reason that maybe no-one replies to other people’s questions is that those who have done the course aren’t necessarily members of the union or read every post on Nurse Uncut. Out of 8 that were on my course I am the only one who read anything on Nurse Uncut and even then, it’s infrequently.

  67. I gather the issue here isn’t that nurses should have to undergo formal assessment and training to ensure that after a period of non-nursing they are competent and fit to practice. I mean, everyone would agree that this is to protect the public, isn’t it? But everyone that is complaining about the $10k fee: what did you expect? That re-entering the profession would be free? Or that because you are a nurse you are entitled to be granted a fee-free retraining and re-registration assessment that no other profession on the AHPRA books enjoys? Please… get real. I see the APNA offers full scholarships for this course, but if you get one, you have to commit to working in the public hospital system for 2 years. Does anyone want to moan about that too? Sorry people: nurses are not privileged: you have to wear the same costs and expectations of every other profession on AHPRA wears.

    • I’m sure that nurses don’t feel they are privileged, as you suggest, and surely don’t expect anything for free, however I’m fairly certain most don’t have a spare 10k to use re-learning their profession. How many other professions are required to go back & study / pass an expensive course to work again? Do police, lawyers, judges, podiatrists, doctors, accountants and other fields dealing with people’s lives complete similar if they take time off for family or illness? Would be interesting to hear if they do. I agree refreshing your knowledge is pertinent to being a great practitioner but this is a bit rich.

  68. I am another frustrated ex-nurse in the same boat! Have been refused registration after missing my annual reg payment & they won’t accept my hours as enough to be re registered. I have done loads of hours CPD whilst working so am really cranky I have to pay these extreme fees to continue working. Ready & wanting to work all shifts however am held back due to the high cost of re-entry course!
    Do I leave the profession I love or borrow monies to do the course?

  69. Wow, just got excited by previous link on a new round of scholarships for re-entry program opening up today 3rd March 2014!
    Hoping to get in first.
    Tried midwifery re-entry for NSW first….click response 0 courses
    Tried nursing re-entry for NSW second…..click response 0 courses.
    I’m sorry Victor. I really want to be upgraded to my profession’s standard for my own and my patients’ peace of mind and safety.
    Either way if I was able to win a scholarship (or pay the 10k) there’s nowhere close to home for me to do re-entry anyway.

  70. The scholarship road is well and good for the few that get accepted. Scholarships are highly competitive and not very easily accessible. For me, the closest university that offers this course is 2hrs from home. I have two children and am trying to work in another field to bring in some sort of income to help support my family and contribute to society. A scholarship unfortunately isn’t the magic answer for everyone.

    Furthermore, I have yet to meet a nurse who feels as though they shouldn’t have to pay some sort of fee, as Marnie states, or that thinks they shouldn’t do some sort of retraining because they are “privileged”, as you insinuate Danielle. Your comments make me wonder why you are personally so invested in this issue as they are completely inaccurate.

  71. I’m an independent consultant specialising in nurse education and this whole situation intrigues me.

    Personally, I can’t find any other medical/allied health/paramedical profession anywhere in the UK, USA, Australia or NZ that has to pay a fee like this (indeed, if any fee at all). Given virtually all hospitals and aged care facilities carry indemnity insurance for learner professionals (undergraduate and postgraduate in any discipline) and bearing in mind AHPRA’s requirements for continuing registration and minimum clinical practice hours, I can’t see any costs at all that would be associated with the following proposal of mine that I think is far more sensible:

    1. Re-entry candidate presents a PD portfolio showing 20 hours of learning (in accordance with AHPRA’s very liberal guidelines) relevant to the area they wish to be employed. In most cases, this would be fairly general content and must contain best-practice and contemporary material accessed within the last 12 months.

    2. Candidate does a 5-day (at once or broken up over a period up to 12 weeks) unpaid, mentored and assessed work placement and be assessed as competent to practice by their mentor.

    Candidates would be required to negotiate their own placement for point 2, but it would immediately set them up for potential employment by that institution.

    Submission of the portfolio and sucessful assessment to AHPRA should get you back on the register. Unsuccessful assessments would require the mentoring institution to develop a learning plan with the applicant, then a new period of assessment negotiated.

    AHPRA could develop the assessment tool in about a day and this whole proposal would cost the applicant nothing at all other than 20 hours of study time and 5 days on the job.

    AHPRA requires that nurses have practiced for at least 60 days in the last five years to maintain registration, but I think this is an arbitrary figure and nothing to do with skills retention or knowledge retention (studies show that knowledge not applied slips away pretty quickly within a few weeks of stopping practice. So as a professional educator, I would suggest that if you can’t determine if someone is competent in a week, then they probably aren’t (yet) competent to be re-registered. At that point, as I mentioned above, the candidate could negotiate a program of training with the institution to address any shortfalls and then be re-assessed again.

    In absolute terms, this would determine if candidates are fit to practice, would make sure they are just as up to date as other nurses in terms of their PD and best of all would cost nobody anything at all.

    Any comments?

    • Well said! We require hospital-based refreshers, that will cost next to nothing… like the old days! This is what I’m actually waiting for. I’m hoping this current model will fall apart and they will reintroduce a new refresher system. How long will I have to wait?

  72. Darren, of course AHPRA and the College of nursing would not like your program. It is too sensible, practical and shorn of bureaucracy for them. Their main interest is making and keeping highly paid jobs for themselves.

    Good luck with deveoping and marketing your program though. There is a real niche there.

  73. I am, and still consider myself to be, an Enrolled Nurse for over 25 years, had a break for 7 years whilst running my own business, kept my name on the roll, to be knocked back last year! I have no intention of working on wards or doing shift work, but love working in a Doctor’s practice and am at the moment doing Doctor’s receptionist. My employer would love me to do nursing duties! I live in rural NSW and have gone through the lengthy process of applying for my registration, even had it taken to the Board. Paid the huge fee to apply, only to be knocked back again! I am not going to do my enrolment over again, I know I can still perform my duties – I feel very lost and am trying to find a refresher course so I can re apply. It’s extremely frustrating and insulting to any nurse after all the years we’ve worked and just wanting to do some part time work as we get older, to be told “No”!

  74. Why isn’t the union taking up this issue? If nurses are the only group of heath care professionals under AHPRA’s umbrella having these restrictions forced upon them, then they have a clear case to mount a claim for discrimination.

    • Xenon672@hotmail.com
      On the question of whether other allied health professionals face imilar problems…Other professions in AHPRA face the same predicament. I am a Radiation Therapist (RT) and after falling short of the 3 months in 5 years rule, I would not be eligible to re-enter the practicing arena. Presently I am still registered under a non-practising category. I also hold special registry certification in USA in Medical dosimetry, within radiation therapy, which is a difficult area to qualify in…passing the registry exam and yearly CE requirements to hold on.
      No known training and assessment centre for RT. I hold continuing education units in equivalent registered professional body in the USA. I had to become non pracitising because the insurance component was also irrelevant as there was no way to hold on to registration under the practicing category as the only coverage was provided by the hospital one works in or if you maintain membership in tbe union. There is no known program for retraining in the universities and without re- entry courses/ assessment one cannot get back to work. So I guess many people who go overseas will also face great difficulties in coming back to work….so may not return to work…or even back to Australia.

  75. Kay, the NSWNMA, which runs this blog, has continued to campaign on this issue for the past 2-3 years. In fact we have a case in the Federal Magistrates Court at the moment.

  76. I too completed my degree, worked and then took time off when I had my kids. I was prepared, ready and willing to do the time for the refresher course and to go back to shift work. I was absolutely floored when I was told firstly the fees of the 7 week course, then that my application to re-register will be rejected on the basis that I hadn’t worked, but I still had to send through the payment to the registration board for them to tell me that in writing! One of the appealing attributes of nursing was I always believed it was a career where I could return after a hiatus of “Stay at home Mum” and more importantly my degree (UTS degree!) would always be valid. I was prepared to do any refresher course necessary. I was completely disheartened by the whole process. It’s sad to think there are many “tourist” RN’,y et those who are educated and trained here have no avenue to return, other than if you are wealthy … which clearly I’m not, considering my need to return to work 🙁

  77. It breaks my heart reading all these posts, knowing there are others out there, like me, wanting to return to nursing, carrying a diploma, with invaluable 15 years of skills and experience under our belt, to be told “It’s not good enough”.
    I too can’t afford the $10,000 refresher and quite frankly am insulted that this is my only option.
    There are so many facets of this situation that I’m angry about, it would take me forever to explain, I have been fighting this battle for over 5 years now and have now just simply given up. I’m unemployed trying to find another avenue to walk down, might have to try another person’s suggestion (on a post here) as a medical receptionist. I’m sure that won’t cost me $10,000 to complete the course 🙂

  78. Reading the update from AHPRA recently, I realised why this is the case and that we will not change the situation without extreme measures. The reason is, the nursing board of AHPRA is full of people from the College Of Nursing. No way are they going to dismantle that cash cow, even though the theoretical education could be delivered through some of the platforms already available, such as CIAP or HETI, at very little cost.

  79. I am an ex registered nurse/ midwife/ lactation consultant and worked in the community for post-natal mums. I was registered for 20 years. I was in charge of a ward at times and had student nurses to teach. I tried to re-enter to get back to midwifery and was accepted, only to be told there were 7 applicants and the uni required 20 students mandatory, so the course was cancelled! I have called 3 institutions in Victoria to see if the re-entry program advertised online is still available and it now is not being offered. ( I live in Adelaide and there are no re-entry programs available in this state!) I cannot believe this re-entry is made so complicated. For god’s sake, allow Hospitals to take it over and work with a registered nurse and get signed off as competent once you’ve achieved that level. Give me a month and let me out there. Stop all the red tape and let nurses get back to work!

  80. An RN girlfriend sent me this link and I just had to respond. I saw this rego nonsense coming years ago and changed professions completely. The pay is FAR better. The hours FAR better. Best thing I ever did. Nurses always have been their own worst enemies inside the workplace and now, outside of the workplace. Nurses have always hen-pecked each other (these changes just take hen pecking to a whole new level); take so much nonsense from so called ‘superiors’ whose job description must include ‘hands on clueless’. I do hope, whoever the numpty toss pots are that brought these changes in, spend their last admission to a hospital/respite facility with a nurse that just can’t quite navigate the English language, heh heh. On another note, I doff my hat to the nurse who took the toss pots on, just to go work at err…Young!?! You go girl!

  81. I am an ex Div 1 with general and paediatric experience but haven’t practiced since 2007 and stopped paying my registration in 2009. I have submitted my application to Ahpra this week but don’t like my chances based on all of your comments above and don’t know how I will come up with the $10k for a re-entry course, nor do I know how I will take 6 weeks out of paid employment in an attempt to re-register. There is such a long list here of talented individuals who deserve better treatment from Ahpra and more reasonable and manageable options to return to the workforce and I hope for all of our sakes there is some change to this ludicrous process. I feel for the single mothers and those who have dedicated their lives to others in their own own home and now just want to return to the profession but have no means of doing so. To ‘just me’ the postee above, what profession did you change into? I would like some hints/tips as I’m thinking of doing the same.

  82. Hi Emipie. I’ve become a fully qualifiedd financial planner, including real estate. This helped me no end to become an investor myself. During my time off now that I’m not a shift worker, I can again (yay! I have a life!) be a musician in a couple of bands (hardly call that work but is lots of fun and a bit of extra dough). I wish you well in your to return to nursing or better still a career change. Me? Should I ever have a lapse of sanity and consider a nursing return, I’ve left strict instructions to roll me in a rug and throw me off the M1. On career comparisons and just my opinion of course, nursing as a life career is about as riveting as a tampon ad 🙂

  83. Hello all,
    So glad that I found this page, I was beginning to think I was the only one going through this ridiculous process! In fact, I found it so ridiculous that I thought I must have misunderstood the requirements to get back into nursing! I too, like many others, have taken what seems like too much time off looking after my children. I feel like I am being punished for what I thought was the best decision for my family. I am currently in the process of collecting all the information I need to re-register as an RN, but high school records? REALLY?! I was previously registered as an RN for 15 years and have a degree, so why do they need my high school records! Trying to retrieve all this information is both time consuming and very expensive – and that even before paying the $10,000 for the re-entry program. So so angry!

    Nurse Uncut responds: Nancy, please read all the info on our site as you’ll see that there are scholarships which can help reduce the cost of re-entry programs. Good luck.

  84. I received an AHPRA letter of approval to do a midwifery reentry program (no program exists and to my knowledge never has in NSW). OR I could do an AHPRA approved Midwifery Supervised Practice Experience requiring 3 months full-time equivalent undertaken as a student registrant under the supervision of a midwife.
    I thought I had been thrown a lifeline!
    As further background, the Supervised Practice placement must be accredited for clinical experience by education providers delivering pre-registration board approved programs of study (ie hospitals with clinical supervisors capable of delivering supervision for midwifery students and new post grads).
    I must also demonstrate competence across prenatal, birthing and postnatal and complete it within 12 months.
    While my return to work confidence is low… with supervision it sounds simple enough! Right??
    Problem is I cant find a placement position.
    All those have been awarded to student midwives currently undergoing their qualification training or post graduates on rotational programs or allocations to medical students and hospital financial funding doesn’t have the extra capacity to accommodate midwifery return to practice supervision programs.
    Return to Practice Midwives are at the bottom of the pile.
    Its so frustrating.
    Iv’e lost almost 3 months of my 12 month allotted time frame communicating with my LHD, trying to obtain a NSW dept. of health scholarship, ( I’ve been told they “don’t see me as a good candidate for a return on their investment”), asking for placements in every possible private hospital in my area, discussing the problem with the College of Midwives, ANMAC etc. trying to find a solution. Fruitless.
    AND according to most people I’ve asked my situation is unlikely to change soon, if at all and “just keep trying”.
    Why does AHPRA provide this false hope of granting Supervised Practice Experience when they are impossible to achieve on top of STILL not providing midwives in NSW (or currently all of Australia) a return to practice program.

    Has anyone else been in in this same situation and can help with options?
    Do you know anyone that has a possible solution?
    Can anyone give me fresh hope this is all about to change?

    We really should all band together and pressure government change on this unfair condition.

  85. Hi Linda

    The same thing happened to me and I am no longer a midwife I couldn’t get into our hospital to do the 3 months either but I chose not to pursue it further as am happy to have my nursing work. Have you spoken to the union they can speak to the hospital on your behalf and may be able to make a difference. TThat is what the Union was going to do for me and they sounded pretty positive about success. Also have you tried places like Rockhampton hospital?
    All the best…it will be a battle.

  86. I was a registered nurse and midwife and loved the profession. I am in the same predicament – I left the industry in 2006 as my daughter had anorexia and I needed to care for her. She became more unwell and I became her carer for 3 years and then after that I could only work small amounts of hours as she still needed to have people with her a lot – so I worked in cafes and places like that until she was well. When I made enquiries to return to nursing I was advised that I would have to do re entry – that was 3 years ago and now it’s 10 years since I left – it’s a start over. There are shortages and not enough staff and there are nurses and midwives wanting to work who are great with people and really know how to care! Yes there will be technical stuff to catch up on etc but the important parts, the caring and being able to advocate for your patient – well they are part of a good nurse that can’t be learnt through the hospital or university system. Why don’t they make it like an apprenticeship or hospital training again – that would sort it for everyone. I would definitely return but am not at this stage considering another 3+ year degree to be midwife, when I have already done 4.5 years, raised two children and cared for one for 4 years through anorexia. Make it easier and these issues won’t happen.

  87. I am in a slightly different situation. I am a Registered Nurse. I am still registered with AHPRA. I am working as a registered nurse in a non-clinical setting. I thought I could work one or two shifts a week at my local hospital to pick up extra money and I was told I need to do a refresher course. This course is $4000 on the other side of Sydney! I rang that Nurse Connect number and they were not helpful. I told the hospital that if I can be buddied up for a couple of weeks I’m sure I will be fine after that, but she said that I must do this course. If they can have new grad programs for first year nurses, surely there can be a similar arrangement for far more experienced nurses who have taken time away from a clinical environment!

  88. Formation of AHPRA, professional and responsible as it may sound, has unleashed a whole lot of inefficient management. Schools that conduct courses do so because they get funding … students undergo internships to get jobs … which is preferred … as employers get lower paid skilled staff. The skill level is never questioned as everyone trusts the system that qualifies the students… and the system also has AHPRA which should be mindful if the trained unemployed healthcare workers mean a waste of resources spent training them at some point … and now a social and economic problem if not addressed.

    I think AHPRA and the system has become irrelevant to society and healthcare in general, by virtue of not being in touch with healthcare needs and ready supply. It is doomed to fail and will live only if it changes the way the world needs to change. If quality and good care is the fundamental aim then adequate workplace training assessment for retuning practitioners and ensuring that such places are available in hospitals and universities must be within AHPRA’s control. There is no point is stating return to practise rules if it cannot ensure places and information on the availability of such avenues.

  89. I’m a registered nurse and I worked overseas for more than 15 years and did three years nursing tutoring. I moved to Australia to live with my husband. I have been trying to register with AHPRA several times in the last 7 years and wasn’t successful. I hold Bachelor of Nursing and Master of Nursing Science and am currently doing a PhD hoping this could help. Recently my application was rejected because some assessor forgot to update me with some information I needed to provide, even though this wasn’t my problem. They told me I have to apply again for registry and pay another fee, when I complained they said OK we could accept your old application but you need to provide so and so, and they sent me email with weird requests asking for many things such as a letter to prove I did nursing courses in English and face to face, and new criminal report which I have paid a fortune to do because they reckon the first one passed 3 months. Note that I took all my quals in Australia and I have been living here for almost ten years with no job. Your stories give me some support though they were sad ones. Hopefully the assessment in AHPRA will change to be more reasonable and I wish they would take nurses’ comments into consideration. If they need nurses then why make it so difficult for nurses to get registered so they could find jobs. Bless you all.

  90. I am trying to transfer from mental health to general. I originally general trained for ten years, however have been for over 10 years a mental health nurse. Can’t seem to get a shoe in to general. Have applied for 20 odd general positions and have not been successful in any of my applications. I did a non-nursing job for two years and have only just a job as a mental health nurse. You really have to hassle like the devil to get through. It is so stressful waiting for the bureaucracy. Then when you get back in it’s a nightmare. Colleagues burnt out and jaded. I am so exhausted after a short period back in trying to relearn and remember how to be a nurse and learn all the computer stuff. I just have to think I have to keep going to get where I want to be.
    Any ideas how I get into acute nursing in a general nursing area?

  91. I’ve been penalised for having children early in my career in various ways. Including physically having a permanent contract snatched out of my hand by an NUM. And being uncomfortably interrogated at a job interview about my children and potential carers’ leave absences. I have decided to study postgrad while working casually and even then have trouble getting hours because of límited availability. Nursing and midwifery need solutions for these circumstances so that more people can stay in the profession and not burn out or feel forced to give it up as early as 5 years!

  92. I really feel for all the people on here who obviously have a real passion for nursing and midwifery and can’t imagine doing anything else (expect one poster @justme!) I haven’t been denied my registration renewal by AHPRA but I feel it’s on its way!

    I did my degree in NSW in the ’90s and worked over the next 10 years in Australia before moving and working as an RN in the UK – but I didn’t maintain my Australian registration during this time. I had my first child in the UK and moved back to Australia soon after which was bang on five years ago. AHPRA are now questioning my clinical hours in the past five years and want SO much information on my last position of eight years as it was not a ‘typical’ nursing role – I was employed as a registered nurse in a corporate setting so I think they’re questioning if it was ‘real’ nursing.

    I completed a Graduate Certificate in Diabetes Education and Management (UTS) last year but they’re not considering that as ‘practice hours’ even though they say in their Recency to Practice Guidelines that “Practice hours are recognised if evidence is provided to demonstrate: c) the time was spent undertaking postgraduate education leading to an award or qualification that is relevant to the practice of nursing and/or midwifery”. I feel that the course was very relevant to nursing as I want to eventually work towards becoming a Credentialed Diabetes Educator and that requires me to be registered.

    So I’m in a bit of a stew and although I haven’t yet had a response saying it’s a definite NO, after reading through the above posts, I’m not feeling terribly positive.

    Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you!

  93. I recently returned to work as an RN in theatres. I last worked in 2006 before having 9 years off to be at home with my four children. I kept my registration and went non practicing so I didn’t think it would be so hard to get back into the workforce! After a marriage breakdown I needed to return to work sooner than planned. It’s taken 18 months to be able to work… I was able to avoid the $10000 course by being given the option of a fulltime 3 month practice which I organised through my local base hospital. That took 7 months to organise and once I’d finished it I had to wait another 4 months for AHPRA to assess the practice! I had to put my start date back several times because of the delay with AHPRA.
    I’m very happy to be back in the workforce, but it does seem there should be an easier way. I don’t know of any other professions where after 10 years you are back to square one as if you have never worked in the profession.

  94. I am also just over five years non practising registration as an RN due to illness and a transplant. Applied to APHRA back in Jan this year, same silly requests for evidence of English language (qualifications done in Australia). APHRA have ‘lost’ registered mail certified documents, do not reply to requests for updates etc. I should have taken the advice of colleagues way back when and never ticked the non-clinical practice box…

  95. I have read comments re the ‘only training organisation’ to provide refresher re-entry courses in NSW is the Burwood College at 11k now. So I have e-mailed a request for HETI to take a good hard look at this. I would like competition in the trainer provider and a fair and equal access to education and training across the country, not the AHPRA monopoly with one college in the metropolitan. You can’t even apply for the course without AHPRA’s approval…

  96. Nicole, I too wish I was dis-honest on my renewal. In September I was “granted” lols, a provisional RN1 registration. Sounds good. I only need to complete 90 hrs of level 1 supervised practice. No refresher course or re-entry course needed. Now, I have phoned and emailed 10 hospitals in my state. Only one director of education replied out of the 10. I am unable to have supervised hours in a hospital setting because I am not enrolled in a university unit/s to allow me entry into the hospital. How are we nurses supposed to complete our obligation of supervised hours if it is not possible? I have contacted AHPRA on numerous occasions regarding this and I am reprimanded, to the fact that I am NOT required to complete any course. Omg like I am stupid? I know this. I am lacking some confidence in skills, not theory, but I know this will quickly shift once I am able to work again.
    If I enrol in a university unit, it is at undergraduate level to be able to have the clinical hours, which is against AHPRA’s requirements as having the hours supervised as a registered nurse not an undergraduate.
    I did managed to have an RN1 in aged care, but her nursing skills where fairly much non-existent. I made a request to the DDON for another RN and was told that there is no RN in the facility that is up to the required nursing standard. Wow! So I left.

      • Thank you for your reply,
        I was told that it is an insurance issue and that they only take nurses that are enrolled in an education course. This was explained in email by a Bachelor of Nursing co-ordinator. I phoned the education directors and HR in the hospitals in my area. I am a member of the ANMF. I thought the same thing, that I have insurance.
        The date I started phoning was late September/November. The persons I spoke with replied with “they don’t take on nurses re-entering into practice unless they are enrolled into a university unit with the clinical hours”. If I left a message, I never received the courtesy of a return phone call. I even offered to pay for any expenses incurred on my behalf.
        What happened to the government funding for nurses re-entering practice? I thought it was an ongoing resource with the provisions in the teaching hospitals for nurses to enter into?

        • Sue, we think you should directly contact your ANMF branch and ask them to take this up. It sounds like you are not in NSW (where we are based so we know about how it works here.)

  97. I am only recently going through this nightmare !!
    I had an advanced diploma in enrolled nursing. I too loved my job but my husband and I’m moved to a rural area i had noone to help with my little girl, my husband is slso a shift worker so I found a job in a different field working from 8.30 till 4. I am trying to find a
    re entry to enrolled nursing but the name of two organisations that ahpra provided with one doesnt run it anymore and the other wants $10,000 dollars to do a refresher course! Which i cant afford. When rang ahpra regarding the diificulties with finding a place to do the course the response i recieved was that it isnt their job to find me somewhere to do just to approve me to do it!!! this isnt explained when you start the process and they take your money to
    re register and an application payment. So i have nowhere to go to do my refresher/ re entry course!!thanks for that AHPRA!!!!!


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