As nurses and midwives are aware, they must be registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Board (NMBA) of Australia through Ahpra, and meet the NMBA’s registration standards, in order to practise in Australia. The Board also has the power to ‘audit’ nurses and midwives, but what does this mean.
Questions may arise about Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and Recency of Practice. What happens if your details change before or during the auditing process? What kind of communication options are available to a nurse or midwife while an audit is performed?
To answer some of the questions nurses and midwives may have, a spokesperson from the NMBA has explained to the ANMJ how auditing works, the areas of practice that are covered, and how to negotiate some of the issues that might arise during the process.
ANMJ: What is an audit and why is it important?
NMBA: Audits are an important part of the way the NMBA and Ahpra (Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency) work with nurses and midwives to keep the public safe. Audits are check-ins with individual practitioners, to ensure that the professions’ standards are being met.
We have a nationally consistent approach to auditing nurses, midwives and other health practitioners’ compliance with mandatory registration standards. These audits help to ensure that nurses and midwives are meeting the mandatory registration standards and provide important assurance to the community.
ANMJ: What areas of my professional certification and registration as a nurse and/or midwife are being audited?
NMBA: If you are audited, your audit notice letter will identify which standard/standards you are being audited against. One or more of the following four mandatory registration standards may be audited:
- Criminal History Registration Standard
- Continuing Professional Development Standard
- Recency of Practice Registration Standard
- Professional Indemnity Insurance Arrangements Registration Standard
ANMJ: How will I know I am being audited?
NMBA: A random sample of nurses and midwives are selected for audits which occur periodically throughout the year.
If you are selected for audit, you will receive an audit notice in the mail from Ahpra. It includes a checklist that outlines what supporting documentation is required to demonstrate that you meet the standard(s) being audited.
ANMJ: What am I required to do when I am audited?
NMBA: Each time you apply to renew your registration, you make a declaration that you have (or have not) met the registration standards for your profession. The audit requires that you provide further information to support your declarations.
You will have 28 days from when you receive the notice, to provide evidence that you meet the standards, as declared in your previous annual statement.
To help you fulfil the requirements of the audit a number of guidance documents and templates are available. You can complete these, then submit them as part of your audit response.
ANMJ: What if my circumstances as signed off on in the corresponding annual statement differ from what is revealed during an audit of the matching time period?
NMBA: If the information you provide at audit is different from the information you provided at renewal you will be contacted by Ahpra and asked to provide additional information. Following a review of the information the matter may be referred to the NMBA for consideration.
ANMJ: If such an inconsistency arises between my circumstances and my statement before I am audited, how can I correct that?
NMBA: It is important that you answer all the renewal questions honestly and accurately, if you find that information you have provided is not accurate you can contact Ahpra on 1300 419 495 or submit a web enquiry form.
ANMJ: When will I know I have successfully met the requirements of my audit?
NMBA: You will receive a letter from Ahpra letting you know the result of your audit.
ANMJ: What happens if I don’t meet those requirements?
NMBA: If you do not meet the audit requirements you will be contacted by Ahpra and the information you have provided may be considered by the NMBA.