Speedier assessment for internationally trained nurses

Wednesday, 22 November, 2023

Speedier assessment for internationally trained nurses

Internationally trained nurses and midwives looking to qualify in Australia will soon have access to a new assessment facility, speeding up the registration process and helping to bolster Australia’s healthcare workforce.

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists’ (RANZCOG) new purpose-built Assessment, Learning and Examination Centre (ALEC) in Melbourne will allow the clinical skills of internationally qualified nurses and midwives to be assessed sooner as a critical requirement for their safe entry to practise in Australia.

Set up in partnership with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra) and the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA), ALEC’s opening comes after the number of internationally qualified nurses and midwives who were registered to work in Australia last year more than doubled.

The partnership follows a commitment made by Ahpra and the National Boards 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 this commitment focused on improved assessment capacity and support.

Previously, overseas-trained nurses and midwives who were assessed as holding relevant but not equivalent qualifications had to travel to South Australia to undertake the Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs) before they could be registered.

The new facility is designed for a range of internal and external services, with its individual assessment rooms reflecting the clinical settings required for the delivery of OSCEs. There are also potential opportunities in the future to expand its testing capabilities for other regulated health professions in Australia.

NMBA Chair Adjunct Professor Veronica Casey AM said identifying 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,” she said.

RANZCOG’s ALEC is expected to deliver its first round of OSCEs in early 2024.

Image credit: iStock.com/SDI Productions

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