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Registration Pathways - Nurses

To practice as a Nurse a person must hold current applicable registration (refer specific categories below).

The core categories of nurses are as follows:

  • Registered General Nurse (and Midwife)
  • Enrolled Nurse
  • Nurse Practitioner.


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Registered General Nurse/Midwife

Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia

Nurses are nationally registered through the Australian Health Practitioner Regulatory Agency (AHPRA) via the Nursing & Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA)

The functions of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia include:

  • Registering nursing and midwifery practitioners and students
  • Developing standards, codes and guidelines for the nursing and midwifery profession
  • Handling notifications, complaints, investigations and disciplinary hearings
  • Assessing overseas trained practitioners who wish to practice in Australia  
  • Approving accreditation standards and accredited courses of study.

State and Territory Boards support the work of the National Board within the national scheme. The National Board sets policy and professional standards while the State and Territory Boards make individual notification and registration decisions affecting individual nurses.

More information.

Accreditation Standards

The NMBA has developed accreditation standards to guide the assessment of nursing qualifications.  These standards and criteria apply to courses leading to registration, enrolment, endorsement and authorisation in Australia for the core categories of nurses (e.g. registered, enrolled and Nurse Practitioner).

More information.

Australian Nursing and Midwifery Accreditation Council

This body was formerly known as the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Council.  From July 1 2010 they changed their name to the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Accreditation Council (ANMAC).  This was done to clearly distinguish between the registration regulatory functions of the NMBA and the accreditation regulatory functions of the ANMAC as separate parts of the national regulatory scheme.  It is considered important to signal this in the organisation’s name for clarity both within Australia and for overseas inquirers.

The ANMAC is the independent accrediting authority for nursing and midwifery under the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme. It sets standards for accreditation and accredits nursing and midwifery courses and providers.

The ANMAC is also the authorised assessing authority for the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) and undertakes skills assessments of internationally qualified nurses and midwives seeking permanent migration in Australia. This means that even if you are registered as a nurse with AHPRA, you still require evidence of ANMAC’s skills assessment.

More information.

Registered General Nurses and Midwives

You must have a minimum qualification of a Bachelor degree or, where relevant, a postgraduate qualification.

“Under the new model (since July 2014), in order to qualify for registration under section 53(b) of the National Law, an Internationally Qualified Nurse or Midwife’s (IQNM) qualification must meet eight qualification assessment criteria.

The criteria establish whether an international qualification is substantially equivalent to a Board-approved Australian nursing or midwifery qualification for registration.

The National Law requires consideration of the qualification(s) only. This means the Board does not consider nursing or midwifery work experience when assessing your qualifications. However, they do consider work experience when assessing whether you meet the requirements of the National Board’s Recency of practice registration standard (see page 7 for more information).

Applicants must show that your qualification(s) meet all eight qualification assessment criteria to achieve eligibility for registration under the National Law. This means you must provide all documentation as detailed on the National Board website for your qualification(s) that are relevant to your nursing or midwifery registration.

More information.

To make sure that the new model for assessing the qualifications of IQNMs is fair and consistent to all applicants, the National Board has established a national panel of nursing and midwifery education experts (panel of experts) to review evidence of qualifications against the eight qualification assessment criteria. These experts are external to AHPRA, and convene from all over Australia on a fortnightly basis.” Source.

“The model will guide the National Board’s assessment of international applicants to decide if they have educational qualifications that are ‘substantially equivalent’ to a Board-approved Australian qualification. This is critical information to help the National Board decide if an international applicant is qualified to provide safe care to patients in Australia.

This model is consistent with the requirements of the National Law. It applies a set of clear expectations about the educational standards to be met by all international applicants for registration, regardless of where the study was undertaken.” Source.


The International Confederation of Midwives’ (ICM) states that a midwife is a person who:

  • “Has successfully completed a midwifery education program that is recognised in the country where it is located and is based on the ICM Essential Competencies for Basic Midwifery Practice and the framework of the ICM Global Standards for Midwifery Education and 
  • has acquired the requisite qualifications to be registered and/or legally licensed to practice midwifery and use the title ‘midwife’ and 
  • demonstrates competency in the practice of midwifery.” Source.

Endorsement for scheduled medicines for Midwives

“To be eligible for endorsement, an applicant must be able to demonstrate, under s94 of the National Law, they meet all the following requirements:

  • Currently registered midwife in Australia
  • Equivalent of three years full time post initial registration experience as a midwife and evidence of current competence to provide pregnancy, labour, birth and post natal care, through  professional practice review; and
  • Have an approved qualification to prescribe scheduled medicines required for practice across that continuum of midwifery care in accordance with relevant State and Territory legislation.” Source.

Endorsement for scheduled medicines standard for Registered Nurse (rural and isolated practice)

The standard sets out the qualifications and other requirements that must be met in order for a registered nurse to be granted an endorsement. Similarly to midwives, the registered nurse must have completed an approved program of study for prescribing scheduled medicines determined by the NMBA.

More information.

Mental Health Nurse Credentialing

“The Mental Health Nurse Credential recognises the qualifications, skills, expertise and experience of nurses who are practicing as specialist mental health nurses. It demonstrates to employers, professional colleagues, consumers and carers that an individual nurse has achieved the professional standard for practice in mental health nursing. The Credential also increases awareness of the contribution mental health nurses make to the mental health of the community.

Credentialing is a core component of clinical/professional governance or self regulation where members of a profession set standards for practice and establish a minimum requirement for entry, continuing professional development, endorsement and recognition.

Registered nurses working in specialised fields and other disciplines have developed credentialing as a means to ensure standards of practice and competence within their specialist domain beyond entry to practice.

The Credential for Practice Program is an initiative of the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses and has established the only national consistent recognition for specialist mental health nurses.” Source.

“In order to meet the requirements and standards for a credential, you must provide evidence of the following:

  • Current registration as a Registered Nurse (Division 1) with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia.
  • A specialist or post-graduate mental health nursing/psychiatric nursing qualification
  • 12 months experience since having undertaken a specialist/postgraduate qualification; or a minimum of 3 years experience as a registered nurse in mental health
  • Recent practice in mental health
  • Continuing professional education and practice development in the preceding 3 years.
  • Support from two referees who are familiar with your practice and your credentialing application." Source.


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Enrolled Nurse

An applicant must demonstrate that their education preparation meets the current minimum educational standards for enrolled nurses in Australia. Before 1 July 2014 this was a Certificate IV-based program.  Since that date it is now a Diploma level course. See approved programs of study within Australia.


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Nurse Practitioner

"Nurse practitioner means a nurse whose registration has been endorsed by the Board as a nurse practitioner under section 95 of the National Law. A nurse practitioner is a registered nurse who is educated and endorsed to function autonomously and collaboratively in an advanced and extended clinical role. The nurse practitioner role includes assessment and management using nursing knowledge and skills. The role may include, but is not limited to, the direct referral of patients to other healthcare professionals, prescribing medications and ordering diagnostic investigations. The role is grounded in the nursing profession’s values, knowledge, theories and practice, and provides innovative and flexible health care delivery that complements other health care providers (National Competency Standards for the Nursing Practitioner, ANMC 2006).

An applicant seeking to be endorsed as a nurse practitioner must be able to demonstrate:

  • general registration as a nurse with no conditions on registration relating to unsatisfactory professional performance or unprofessional conduct 
  • the requisite amount of experience in advanced practice nursing and 
  • a Board-approved nurse practitioner qualification at Master’s level or education equivalence as determined by the Board." Source.


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Registration Standards

Registration standards define the requirements that all applicants, registrants or students need to meet to maintain their registration. Read more.

Continuing Professional Development Registration Standard

All nurses and midwives must meet the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) standards. As a minimum, nurses and midwives must participate in at least 20 hours of continuing professional development per year.

Criminal History Registration Standard

In deciding whether a health practitioner’s criminal history is relevant, the board considers 10 factors which are outlined in the link below.

English Language Skills Registration Standard

All applicants, including internationally qualified applicants who seek initial registration in Australia, must demonstrate that they have the necessary English language skills.

“An applicant for registration as a registered nurse and/or a registered midwife who has provided evidence of completion of five (5) years* (full time equivalent) of education taught and assessed in English, in any of the recognized countries listed in this registration standard, is considered to have demonstrated English language proficiency and has met the requirements of this standard;

An applicant for registration as a registered nurse and/or a registered midwife who has not completed five (5) years* (full time equivalent) of education taught and assessed in English, in any of the recognized countries listed in this registration standard will be required to demonstrate English language proficiency in accordance with the Board-approved English language tests.

*The completion of five (5) years (full-time equivalent) education taught and assessed in English means five (5) years full-time equivalent of either:

  1. Tertiary and secondary; or
  2. Tertiary and vocational; or
  3. Combined tertiary, secondary and vocational education

Taught and assessed in English in any of the recognized countries listed in this registration standard.  These five (5) years must include evidence of a minimum of two (2) years full-time equivalent pre-registration program of study approved by the recognized nursing and/or midwifery regulatory body in any of the countries listed in this registration standard.”

List of recognised countries:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • New Zealand
  • Republic of Ireland
  • South Africa
  • United Kingdom
  • United States of America.

Source (PDF document on English language registration standard).

Professional Indemnity Insurance Standard

Nurses and midwives must not practice their respective profession unless they are covered by appropriate professional indemnity insurance (PII) arrangements. Different levels of practice will require different levels of PII cover.

Recency of Practice Registration Standard

Nurses and midwives must have undertaken sufficient practice to demonstrate competence in their professions within the preceding five years. Nurses and midwives who are returning to practice after a break of more than five years must satisfactorily complete a program or assessment process that is approved by the Board.

All sources and more information about Registration Standards.


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New Zealand Registered Nurses and Midwives

Applicants with NZ registration under the Trans Tasman Mutual Recognition must apply using form ATMR-40.


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