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So, you want to become a Nurse Practitioner – now what?

August 19 2022

Cassandra Dickens, Thoracic Malignancies Clinical Nurse Consultant, Sunshine Coast University Hospital

QLD State Representative, ANZ-LCNF Steering Committee

Recently endorsed Nurse Practitioner

Nurse Practitioners are registered nurses with the experience, knowledge and authority to diagnose and treat people of all ages with a variety of acute or chronic health conditions.1 A nurse practitioner is an advanced practice nurse, endorsed by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA), who has direct clinical contact and practises within their scope under the legislatively protected title, ‘nurse practitioner’, under the National Law.2 The nurse practitioner scope of practice is built on the platform of the registered nurse scope of practice and must meet the regulatory and professional requirements for Australia including the; NMBA Registered Nurse Standards for Practice, Safety and Quality Guidelines for Nurse Practitioners, Code of Conduct for Nurses and International Council of Nurses’ Code of Ethics for Nurses.3 Australian oncology nurse practitioners can practice across a variety of settings including;

  • Public or private services.
  • Across rural, regional, and/or metropolitan areas. 
  • Inpatient and outpatient settings.
  • Managing adult and paediatric patients.
  • Medical oncology, radiation oncology, surgical oncology, malignant haematology and palliative care settings and specialities.

To be endorsed as a nurse practitioner, each individual must demonstrate all of the following:2

1. Current general registration as a registered nurse in Australia with no conditions or undertakings on registration relating to unsatisfactory professional performance or unprofessional conduct.

2. The equivalent of three years’ (5,000 hours) full-time experience in the advanced clinical nursing practice level, within the past six years, from the date when the complete application seeking endorsement as a nurse practitioner is received by the NMBA.

3. Successful completion of:

  • an NMBA-approved program of study leading to endorsement as a nurse practitioner, or
  • a program that is substantially equivalent to an NMBA-approved program of study leading to endorsement as a nurse practitioner as determined by the NMBA.

4. Compliance with the NMBA’s Nurse Practitioner Standards for Practice.

The following universities have current NMBA approved post-graduate nurse practitioner programs of study:1


State/TerritoryUniversityCourse
NT                                           Charles Darwin UniversityMaster of Clinical Nursing (Nurse Practitioner)
NSWUniversity of SydneyMaster of Nursing (Nurse Practitioner)
NSWUniversity of NewcastleMaster of Nurse Practitioner
NSWUniversity of Technology SydneyMaster of Nurse Practitioner
NSWWestern Sydney UniversityMaster of Nurse Practitioner (Mental Health)
QLDQueensland University of Technology Master of Nurse Practitioner
QLDUniversity of QueenslandMaster of Nurse Practitioner
SA          Flinders UniversityMaster of Nursing (Nurse Practitioner)
SAUniversity of South AustraliaMaster of Nursing (Nurse Practitioner)
VICLa Trobe UniversityMaster of Nursing (Nurse Practitioner)
VICMonash UniversityMaster of Advanced Clinical Nursing (Nurse Practitioner)
VICUniversity of Melbourne     Master of Advanced Nursing Practice (Nurse Practitioner)
WAEdith Cowan UniversityMaster of Nursing (Nurse Practitioner)

For a current list of all levels of nursing approved courses, please visit AHPRA at https://www.ahpra.gov.au/Accreditation/Approved-Programs-of-Study.aspx

The Cancer Nurses Society of Australia (CNSA) also has a Cancer Nurse Practitioners Specialist Practice Network (CNP SPN) that aims to bring together Endorsed NPs, NP Candidates, and those undertaking study towards NP Endorsement.4

For further information and to hear from experienced nurse practitioners, please watch our on demand ANZ-LCNF July webinar on nurse practitioners at: https://anzlcnf.lungfoundation.com.au/events/

References:

1. Australian College of Nurse Practitioners. (2022). What is a nurse practitioner? https://www.acnp.org.au/aboutnursepractitioners

2. Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA). (2019). Guidelines: For nurses applying for endorsement as a nurse practitioner. https://www.nursingmidwiferyboard.gov.au/Codes-Guidelines-Statements/Codes-Guidelines/Guidelines-on-endorsement-as-a-nurse-practitioner.aspx

3. Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA). (2020).  Nurse practitioner standards for practice. https://www.ahpra.gov.au/documents/default.aspx?record=WD21%2f30761&dbid=AP&chksum=xdi7RHeXbB7YyopbEfd6ag%3d%3d

4. Cancer Nurses Society of Australia (CNSA). (2022). Cancer Nurse Practitioners. https://www.cnsa.org.au/memberbenefitsandservices/specialist-practice-networks-spns/cancer-nurse-practitioner-specialist-practice-network-spn

Acknowledgment of Country

ANZ-LCNF acknowledges and respects traditional owners and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders past and present, on whose land we work to support the provision of safe and quality thoracic oncology nursing care.

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