National competency standards
for the registered nurse
National competency standards for registered nurses were
first adopted by the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Council (ANMC) in the early 1990s. The ANMC was a peak national
and midwifery organisation established in 1992 to develop a
national approach to nursing and midwifery regulation. The
ANMC worked in conjunction with the state and territory
nursing and midwifery authorities (NMRAs) to produce national standards – an integral component of the regulatory framework – to help nurses and midwives deliver safe and competent care.
educated overseas seeking to work in Australia
returning to work after breaks in service, or
involved in professional conduct matters.
The National Board may also apply the competency standards
in order to communicate to consumers the standards that they can expect from nurses.
Universities also use the standards when developing
nursing curricula, and to assess student and new graduate
The ANMC officially became the Australian Nursing and
Midwifery Accreditation Council (ANMAC) on 24 November
2010. The name change reflected ANMC’s appointment as
the independent accrediting authority for the nursing and
midwifery professions under the new National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (the National Scheme) that came into
effect on 1 July 2010 (18 October 2010 in Western Australia).
These are YOUR standards — developed using the best
possible evidence, and using information and feedback
provided by nurses in a variety of settings. Included also
are the principles of assessment to help you understand
how these standards may be used to assess performance.
We believe you will find them user-friendly and easy to
With the onset of the National Scheme, the Nursing
and Midwifery Board of Australia (National Board), took
responsibility for the regulation of nurses and midwives in
Australia, thus taking ownership of the national competency
standards for registered nurses.
Description of the registered
nurse on entry to practice
The registered nurse demonstrates competence in the
provision of nursing care as specified by registration
requirements, National Board standards and codes,
educational preparation, relevant legislation and context
of care. The registered nurse practises independently and
interdependently, assuming accountability and responsibility for their own actions and delegation of care to enrolled
nurses and health care workers. Delegation takes into
consideration the education and training of enrolled nurses
and health care workers and the context of care.
Since creation, these national competency standards have
undergone periodic review and revision, which included
extensive consultation with nurses around Australia. This
helped to make sure the competency standards remained
contemporary and congruent with legislative requirements.
The resulting standards, while different in some areas
from the previous competency standards, remain broad
and principle-based so that they are sufficiently dynamic
for practising nurses and the nurse regulators to use as a
benchmark to assess competence to practise in a range of
The registered nurse provides evidence-based nursing care to people of all ages and cultural groups, including individuals, families and communities. The role of the registered nurse
includes promotion and maintenance of health and prevention
of illness for individuals with physical or mental illness,
disabilities and/or rehabilitation needs, as well as alleviation of pain and suffering at the end stage of life.
What are the standards used for?
The national competency standards for the registered
nurse are the core competency standards by which your
performance is assessed to obtain and retain your registration as a registered nurse in Australia.
The registered nurse assesses,...
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