The Australian Nursing regulatory board has started accepting NCLEX-RN exam and OBA as part of the Nursing registration requirements. Below is all you have to know about the Australia Nurse registration process including OSCE:
Prior to the start of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme in 2010, the assessment of IQNMs was undertaken by the state and territory boards. In 2010, Ahpra developed a national model for the assessment for IQNMs. Following a review of assessment processes, the NMBA developed an interim model of assessment for IQNMs which has been in place since 2014. The interim model was based on eight qualification assessment criteria and resulted in a more equitable and consistent assessment of IQNM applications.
sment of IQNM applications.Transition to a new model of assessment for IQNMs
The NMBA is moving to a permanent approach in the assessment of IQNMs. Changes under the new model include a reduction in the assessment criteria from eight to three, which took effect in January 2019.
This change streamlines the assessment process; however, the outcomes from assessments remain the same as under the previous eight criteria.
In early 2020, the NMBA will also transition to an outcomes-based assessment (OBA) for IQNMs who hold a qualification that is relevant but not substantially equivalent or based on similar competencies to an Australian approved qualification (and who demontrate they meet the mandatory registration standards). This will replace the current need for bridging programs.
The NMBA undertook an extensive research project to explore the factors and requirements to establish an OBA which made recommendations that:
- the overall assessment process includes both a cognitive and behavioural component
- the cognitive assessment must be passed before the behavioural component is attempted, and
- an orientation program is established to orientate nurses and midwives to working in the Australian healthcare context.
The new model of assessment includes:
- the online Self-check for all IQNMs
- an orientation program for all IQNMs who are advised to continue with the assessment process, and
- an OBA for some IQNMs.
The assessment of qualifications will continue to be against the current three criteria.
All IQNMs will need to submit their qualification information at Self-check. IQNMs will then be advised of the steps (assessment stages) they must successfully complete before being eligible to apply for registration.
After Self-check, IQNMs who are assessed as holding a qualification that is substantially equivalent or based on similar competencies to an Australian approved qualification (and who can demonstrate they meet the mandatory registration standards), will be eligible to apply for registration following completion of Orientation Part 1. (See Orientation program below for more information).
IQNMs who are assessed as holding a qualification that is relevant but not substantially equivalent or based on similar competencies to an Australian approved qualification (and who can demonstrate they meet the mandatory registration standards), will be required to successfully complete an outcomes-based assessment (OBA) prior to being eligible to apply for registration.
IQNMs that do not hold a relevant qualification (under section 53 of the National Law) or do not meet the required assessment criteria will need to upgrade their qualification in Australia before being eligible to apply for registration. Their qualification can be upgraded in Australia (through completion of an NMBA approved program of study) or any other country of choice providing the qualification meets the qualification assessment criteria.
All IQNMs who are advised to proceed in the IQNM assessment process will need to complete the orientation program in order to be registered in Australia. There are two parts to the orientation program.
Part 1 is an online learning course to introduce IQNMs to Australia and the Australian healthcare context.
Part 2 is a more in-depth online introduction, including content on the diversity of Australian culture. Part 2 must be completed once registered with the NMBA and will be a requirement of registration until it is completed.
In addition to completing the orientation program, the NMBA expects that all nurses and midwives in Australia seek out and be part of the workplace induction and/or local orientation provided by their employers. Guidance for employers on the content to include in their workplace induction and/or orientation will be provided. When will the new model of assessment for IQNMs start
Applications via the Application for general registration as an enrolled nurse, registered nurse or midwife (for internationally qualified nurses and midwives) – AGOS-40 form will be accepted if posted to Ahpra on or before Friday 21 February 2020. Applications posted after this date will not be accepted.
IQNMs will be able to start the new model of assessment in March 2020.Do all IQNM’s still need to meet the NMBA’s mandatory registration standards?
Yes. All IQNM’s will need to provide evidence of meeting the NMBA mandatory registration standards.What are the fees for IQNMs?
There is no fee to use the Self-check.
After completing the Self-check, all IQNMs who are advised to proceed in the IQNM assessment process will need to pay a non-refundable assessment fee of $640 AUD. This fee contributes towards Ahpra’s costs in checking IQNM documentation provided, and for the IQNM to undertake their orientation.
IQNMs who are referred to the OBA will need to pay specific OBA fees which are outlined below. (See question ‘How much are the fees for the OBA and where can I sit the exams?’).
All IQNMs who are eligible for registration and meet the mandatory registration standards will need to pay a registration fee and application fee in order to be registered. The current application fee of $300 AUD and registration fee of $175 AUD will continue to apply. What is the OBA?
The OBA is a two-stage assessment process: a multiple-choice question exam (MCQ) and an objective structured clinical exam. IQNMs must pass the first stage before moving to the next stage.
Stage one is a cognitive assessment, which is a computer-based MCQ exam. IQNMs must pass the exam to move to part two of the OBA.
Stage two is a behavioural assessment in the form of an objective structured clinical examination (OSCE). The OSCE has been developed to assess that an IQNM demonstrates the knowledge, skills and competence of a graduate level Australian nurse or midwife. Who is the OBA for?
The OBA is the assessment process for IQNMs who wish to register in Australia and who are assessed as holding relevant but not substantially equivalent qualifications (and who demonstrate they meet the mandatory registration standards).When will the OBA for IQNMs start?
There are two phases for the transition to the OBA:
- From 1 October 2019, IQNMs who have posted to Ahpra an application for registration (AGOS-40) on or before 21 February 2020 and who hold relevant but not substantially equivalent qualifications (and who demonstrate they meet the mandatory registration standards) will have the choice to be referred to a bridging program or to the OBA, regardless of when the outcome of their application is decided.
- The new model of assessment will start in March 2020, and all IQNMs with relevant but not substantially equivalent qualifications (and who demonstrate they meet the mandatory registration standards) will be referred to the OBA and will no longer be referred to bridging courses.
IQNMs with a referral to the OBA will be able to begin the OBA process in March 2020.
IQNMs undertaking the OBA must pass each assessment stage before undertaking the next. The time taken to complete the OBA is dependent on how quickly the IQNM can progress through the assessments. What if I already have a referral to a bridging course, but I want to do the OBA instead?
IQNMs who hold a current referral to a bridging program have been able to contact Ahpra since 1 October 2019 to request a referral to the OBA instead. IQNMs should contact the Registration Officer named in their referral letter. Please note that IQNMs will not be able to start the OBA process until March 2020.What if I have already started a bridging course?
IQNMs who have already started a bridging course should continue to complete the program.How much are the fees for the OBA and where can I set the exams?
Cost and locations for the MCQ exam
The MCQ exam is computer-based and will be delivered at test centres in most countries. There will be separate exams for IQNMs seeking registration as a registered nurse, enrolled nurse or midwife:
- Registered nurses will sit the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) develops and administers the NCLEX-RN through Pearson VUE test centres.
- Midwives will sit an MCQ exam managed by the NMBA, which will be delivered through Aspeq test centres.
- Information for on the enrolled nurse MCQ exam will be published soon.
Note: IQNMs must be authorized by Ahpra to sit the MCQ exams.
Fees for the MCQ exams are set by the providers and paid directly to them. At the time of publishing, the following fees apply:
- For registered nurses, the NCLEX-RN registration fee is $200 USD, plus an additional international scheduling fee of $150 USD ($350 USD in total).
- For midwives, the fee is $165 NZD, plus a possible fee for overseas venues.
- Enrolled nurse exam fees will be published soon.
Cost and locations for the OSCE
IQNMs who have been referred to the OBA must pass the MCQ exam before they can attempt the OSCE.
The OSCE is managed by Ahpra and will be delivered at Adelaide Health Simulation in Adelaide, South Australia.
The fee for sitting the OSCE is $4,000 AUD. The OSCE fee replaces previous bridging program fees from private providers. This fee pays for Ahpra’s costs in running and maintaining the OSCE. Ahpra and the NMBA are funded only by fees, which must cover all costs of assessing IQNMs for registration in Australia.Are there still bridging programs available for IQNMs?
Bridging programs are expected to continue into 2021 for IQNMs who hold a referral to bridging. A referral to bridging does not guarantee a place in a program.For more information
- Visit the Internationally qualified nurses and midwives section of the NMBA website
- Visit the Registration standards section of the NMBA website
- Visit www.nursingmidwiferyboard.gov.au under Contact us to lodge an online enquiry form
- For registration enquiries: 1300 419 495 (in Australia) +61 3 9275 9009 (overseas callers)