Western Australian nurses are also not expected to join up to the national scheme until mid October this year.
Nurses have largely welcomed the transition to the national registration and accreditation scheme, but have expressed some anxiety over the requirement for mandatory professional development.
Registered nurses at or approaching retirement age are most concerned about meeting the compulsory 20 hours and risk leaving the workforce if opportunities are not easily accessible.
“No one is concerned about having to do the training, what they are concerned about is what they have to do and how much they have to do,” said Kim Neilsen from Blue Care Townsville.
Neilsen said if programs are not in place to assist older nurses to get their education points they will walk away from the industry,
Lan Lewis from Southern Cross Care Qld said the ongoing training will strengthen the nursing workforce.
“People shouldn’t be able to practice without maintaining some standards and knowledge. There are lots of opportunities out there that people can get.”
A stronger information campaign prior to implementation would have made some nurses better prepared for the change, she said.
“There was some information out there about it, but you had to go looking for it. Some people were caught out because they didn’t realise that the state board was actually going to close and the other one [the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia] opened.”
In a shaky transition to the national system, Western Australian nurses are also not expected to join up the national scheme until mid October this year, as the new legislation is currently before the WA Legislative Council.
The delay means the Nursing and Midwifery Board WA will continue to operate under existing state standards and systems until the new legislation becomes operational.
“It is unfortunate that there’s been that glitch at the end of it, where there is still someone sitting on the outside of the national system.” said NeIlsen.
However, nurses have embraced the enhanced workforce mobility.
“The big advantages are going to be that it means that nurses are no longer going to have to register in eight different states and territories to be able to work anywhere in the country.
“Australia is the last place really that hasn’t had a system like this in place. It had to happen and it’s about time it did,” said Neilsen.
The national registration and accreditation scheme was introduced on 1 July and established new obligations for mandatory reporting of professional misconduct, professional indemnity insurance, recency of practice requirements and standards for English language skills.
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