The assessment of clinical skills for overseas trained nurses and midwives aiming to join the Australian health workforce will now be speedier following the establishment of a second facility dedicated to carrying out examinations.
Until now, internationally trained overseas nurses and midwives assessed as holding relevant but not equivalent qualifications had to travel to South Australia to take the Objective Structured Clinical Examinations test before they could gain registration. The launch of a new purpose-built centre in Melbourne to conduct the assessments is expected to help streamline entry into Australia’s health workforce.
The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra) and the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) have partnered with the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) to use their Assessment, Learning and Examination Centre in Melbourne for the assessment of internationally qualified nurses and midwives.
This year, Ahpra and the NMBA registered 273 internationally qualified midwives and 11,188 internationally qualified nurses, an increase of 127.5% and 148.1%, respectively. As the number of nurses and midwives hoping to get registered in Australia grows, they say the second site will enable the delivery more OSCEs per year with the capacity to increase availability dependent on demand and lower wait times for candidates.
The partnership comes after Ahpra and the National Boards made a commitment to National Cabinet to develop options to streamline and accelerate the recognition of health practitioners’ skills and qualifications to support a sustainable health workforce for the future. One area of the commitment focussed on improved assessment capacity and support.
NMBA Chair, Adjunct Professor Veronica Casey, said establishing a second examination site was a significant step in safely expanding the national health workforce.
“Supporting the Australian health workforce with safe and capable internationally qualified nurses and midwives is one of the NMBA’s highest priorities and with the opening of RANZCOG’s facilities we will be able to deliver more OSCEs, more frequently, getting more internationally qualified nurses and midwives into the workforce sooner,” she said.
RANZCOG’s Assessment, Learning and Examination Centre is expected to deliver its first round of OSCEs in early 2024.