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Approval ‘too slow’

A nurse practitioner - who prefers to remain anonymous - rails against endorsement delays.

The endorsement process by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) for nurse practitioners needs to be reviewed. There was a call for a review in 2010, but nothing appears to have happened. Prior to AHPRA existing, the process was far quicker and efficiently streamlined. So what happened?

I am sure I am not alone in finding the endorsement hoops that we must jump through excessive, with the potential to cost us jobs: employers cannot wait for months before they can use us to our full extent.

Local AHPRA personnel tell me the process to endorse takes months rather than weeks because often the case is sent for assessment by another state or territory's board; the board's recommendation is then returned to the state/territory of origin, where it is presented to the board for recommendation for endorsement.

The potential NP is not allowed to know the outcome of the interstate assessment/recommendation in case the local board disagrees with it. Why bother sending it off, then? It seems like double dipping to me, at a cost to the waiting candidate.

Nurse practitioners have already had to prove (at least in my case) that we are suitably qualified to be accepted into the Master of Nurse Practitioner course, then our portfolio backs this up.

I simply do not understand why we are subjected to this abject misery if I am already registered unconditionally for both general nursing and midwifery, have completed a qualification approved by AHPRA, and have submitted the required evidence to the university of my advanced practice status prior to commencing the masters, in order to be allowed to study it. It is terribly frustrating.

I realise every state/territory has its own timings, but a friend and colleague in Victoria (which is not my state) is going through the same pain, potentially losing a position because of the lack of urgency by the respective boards. They are quick to take our money off us (non-refundable) for the costly application, but less so in seeing the process through.

I am fully aware that endorsing a nurse to prescribe, dispense and refer as well as provide ongoing nurse-led care is a serious business. However, if nurse practitioners were not up to the challenge of the work, we would never have embarked on the journey to qualification in the first place. And as more and more nurses see the light and decide to go along the NP pathway, surely the final stage after the hard work is over should be less painful.

I thank you for reading and hope that I can shine the torch for all those NPs who come behind me - if I ever make it through the tortuous endorsement process!

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