This new registration system has been enacted through relevant education in each State. This new law oversees the administrative aspects of several health professional groups into one national entity. There are many good reasons to make the change and yet there are also many issues that need to be resolved. Nursing in Australia has been mostly a two tiered structure in which there are level one nurses who have a bachelor degree and level two nurses who have extended their education to receive certificate or diploma. Nurses have been the driving force of the healthcare system in Australia. The system is changing with the needs that have been created with the shortage of nurses and the ageing of the present nursing population. This paper will discuss that change.
In 1984, the Commonwealth government made a decision to transfer nursing education to tertiary education with level one nurses prepared at the diploma level. In 1992, it became necessary to have a bachelor’s degree (Kenny &. Duckett, 2004). The Project 2000 report resulted in the change of second level RN training everywhere but Australia. Australia chose not to do this based on the fact that Australia has stronger unions and different strategies for their professional nurses, such as viewing the second level RN as an associate to the RN. This nurse is called the Enrolled Nurse. These EN’s are meant to practice under the direction of the level one nurse or RN (professional nurse). They report to the level one nurse but are still responsible for their own practice (Kenny et.al. 2004).
Core competencies for the EN have been difficult to monitor as they have been different according to where one works. In some states they have been able to administer medicines and in some states not. The new law which took place July 1, 2010 creates the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme for health care practitioners, including nurses and midwives. This new law will create many changes in the way that healthcare is delivered in Australia, in particular, in the rural areas (Forsythe, 2009). It also creates standardization in licensing and in competency levels. It assures the understanding of the RN level of nursing which is University level, the EN which is diploma level and the NP or nurse practitioner level.
iii.i Scope of Practice
There are three essential criteria that are noted for defining scope of practice. Those are education, competency, and authorization to practice. These guidelines are published under the ANMB-codes and guidelines in Australia. These guidelines give the nurse and organized process in determining whether something that needs to be done is within her scope of practice. Failure to understand these guidelines can lead the new RN to