Nursing in Australia

The nursing industry in Australia has a variety of companies and organizations that help set the role and function in the industry as a nurse with obtaining professional skills and knowledge. The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency also known as AHPRA is one of Australia’s biggest organizations in the nursing industry. AHPRA works with 15 Health Practitioner boards around Australia to apply National Registration and Accreditation Schemes. (“Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency – Who We Are”, 2020) To ensure the safety of the public the National Scheme was created so that only health practitioners with certain standards of qualifications would be able to register and keep up to date with the standards and renew yearly.

AHPRA CEO Martin Fletcher said that patients have a right to expect that someone who is purporting to be a nurse has all the necessary academic and professional qualifications to support that claim. (Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency – AHPRA and the NMBA take action to protect patients, 2015) Another major organization is the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia which is known as NMBA.

The NMBA works closely with AHPRA setting professional standards and policies that registered nurses and midwives in must abide by. NMBA develops standards, policies, and guidelines while also handling complaints, notifications, and investigations in the nursing and midwifery industry. It sets standard professional guidelines and policies for nurses and midwives overseas wishing to come and work in Australia.

Health practitioners overseas who wish to work in Australia must meet the NMBA policies and standards. AHPRA and NMBA work together to achieve nurses and midwives who are registered have high-quality standards.

Australian Nursing and Midwifery Accreditation Council (ANMAC) is also a big company in Australia that helps to protect the health and safety of the Australian community by setting high-quality standards of nursing and midwifery education, training, and assessment. (“About | ANMAC | Australian Nursing & Midwifery Accreditation Council”, 2016) ANMAC does not register nurses or midwives their part is to ensure that the education and programs nurses and midwives are receiving are high standards that will protect the community.

The ANMAC’s role is to develop programs that meet the accreditation standards for nursing and midwifery students. ANMAC also determines whether nurses and midwives who which to practice in Australia meet the required education. The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation known as ANMF is a branch in Australia that helps to try and improve the work conditions of nurses and midwives. The ANMF is made up of nurses, midwives, and carers who work in different health services. The members of ANMF have a chance to discuss any professional issues that they are aware of and the ANMF undertakes research in order to improve patient outcomes. Australian College of Nursing (ACN) is a community of passionate nurses who pursue advanced nurse leadership for all Australians to receive better health care. ACN community allows nurses to stay informed and inspired at all levels with events and higher education services.

Working in the nursing industry you must obtain and uphold professional skills and qualities to be successful. Nurses have standards for practice that includes critical thinking, engages in therapeutic and professional relationships, maintains the capability of practice, comprehensively conducts, provide safe quality practice, and evaluates assessments and evaluates outcomes to inform the nursing practice. (“Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia – Professional standards”, 2016). Nurses critically think of the situation and strategies to make the best decision providing the evidence for the safest outcome. Nurses are required to have professional qualities and attuites such as engaging in therapeutic professional relationships. Setting professional boundaries between the nurse and patient is in the NMBA code of conduct to endure safety for both the patient and nurse. (“Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia – Professional standards”, 2020) Professional skill is recognizing when over-involvement is occurring between the nurse and patient and when to set boundaries.

Effective communication and engaging with the patient and being respectful of their beliefs, values, culture, and rights are having a therapeutic relationship. Nurses are responsible for ensuring they are safe and have the capability of practice which includes ongoing self-management and responding when there is a concern about other health practitioners and their professional capability of practice. Nurses provide safe quality practice to achieve agreed goals by using the best available evidence and systematic assessment. The NMBA has a code of conduct that nurses are expected to follow in Australia. The code of conduct is intended that safe practice is in place in the nursing industry. In Australia, there is a National Law that nurses must value and abide by so that safety is met for the patients. Nurses value having to make decisions in tough situations that result in everyone that is involved is safe. They value other health practitioners when a patient is unwell and may need their assistance in making sure that the patient is getting the best help possible. To be a health practitioner in Australia you must meet the standard English language skills requirements under the National Law to enable safe practice. (“Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia – Fact sheet: English language skills registration standard”, 2020)

Medical practitioners who engage in any practice are required to partake in continuing professional development (CPD) regularly. Nurses participate in CPD to maintain, update, and develop and enhance their knowledge and skills. (“Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia – Continuing professional development”, 2020) Although nurses have their own set values and skills, it is expected that by using them they will make a professional decision that also concurs with the code of conduct, standards, and professional skills that is required of them. Nurses obtain certain skills throughout education, courses, assessments, and practice during their careers that make them successful and by already having their own set of skills and learning how to use them in the best way and building on their weaknesses to achieve the best practice for everyone.

Communication and empathy are some personal skills that I have obtained from working as a dental nurse for the past three years. Having worked as a dental nurse I have gained experience and skills communicating with patients, listening to their needs and making sure that they feel comfortable. Being in this health profession I had a duty of care to make sure that patients understood and had full knowledge of the treatment that they were receiving. This not only helped the patient feel more comfortable and at ease but was also beneficial for me in becoming more confident in communicating with people. Empathy was a skill that was introduced to me over the three years of being a dental nurse. Over time identifying different pains helped me to empathize with the patient and their level of discomfort. Throughout my work experience, I discovered that one of my weaknesses is that I take on extra work that is not necessary or not important at the time. Being efficient in trying to complete my tasks plus extra workload may lead to not completing the job or task to the best of my ability. These strengths and weaknesses are something that will help me continue to learn and grow in the nursing industry.

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