Continuing Professional Development (CPD) – are you meeting registration requirements?

All practicing health practitioners are required to participate regularly in CPD relevant to their scope of practice in order to maintain, develop, update and enhance their knowledge, skills and performance to help them deliver appropriate and safe care.

When completing registration as a nurse or midwife, you agree to adhere to the Registration Standard; Continuing Professional Development. The registration standard sets out the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia’s (NMBA) minimum requirements of CPD for enrolled nurses, registered nurses and midwifes.


Who does this registration standard apply to?

The standard applies equally to all enrolled nurses and registered nurses and midwives who work either full-time or part-time in paid or unpaid practice. It also applies to those who are on leave from work, for example, on maternity leave. The only group the standard does not apply to is those with non-practising registration or students of nursing or midwifery.

Please note that each time you renew your registration, you make a declaration that you have (or have not) met the registration standards. Throughout the year, the NMBA selects random samples of health practitioners and conducts audits to ensure that the registration standards have been met. It is imperative that your minimum quota of CPD is complete in accordance with your declaration statement.


What are the NMBAs minimum CPD requirements?

You must complete a minimum of 20 hours of CPD per registration period. If you have held registration for less than 12 months, pro rata CPD hours apply.

If you are a registered nurse, or midwife, who has an endorsement as a nurse practitioner or holds an endorsement for scheduled medicines, you must complete additional CPD requirements. To learn more about these visit the registration standard document here.


Why is CPD important? 

Continuing professional development (CPD) is how nurses and midwives can maintain, improve and broaden their knowledge, expertise and competence, and develop the personal and professional qualities required throughout their professional lives.

Nurses and midwives have an obligation to provide ethical, effective, safe and competent practice. Learning and development occurs throughout a nurse’s and/or midwife’s career and CPD is an important foundation of lifelong learning which helps nurses and midwives maintain their competence to practise.


How can you ensure you are reaching our CPD quota across the year?

A common misconception is if in-service education is completed, then this is sufficient to meet the requirements of CPD. However, CPD should reflect the learning goals identified and these will vary with individual practitioner and their learning needs.

Also, all registered nurses and midwives should be engaged in CPD activities and it is encouraged that these activities are spread across the course of the year. Here are some other useful guidelines to ensure that you are getting the most from your CPD and meeting the necessary requirements.


1. Planning and reflection

Research shows that CPD is more effective when it involves planning and reflection on the standards, skills and knowledge you are trying to achieve. Try planning learning goals and activities to meet them. Record reflections on your learning after completing CPD.

A good idea is to discuss your planning with colleagues, mentors and managers as this may help identify your areas for improvement. Patient feedback should also be considered.

To ensure this process is regular and routine, and if you are currently employed, incorporate planning and reflection about the standards and code of conduct as part of your annual performance review. If you are not currently working, this could also be done with a professional mentor. Do this each year prior to registration, with self-reviews at regular intervals throughout the year to ensure that you are achieving your goals. This will assist you to meet the registration standards when you renew your registration next year.


2. Record-keeping and templates

Records of CPD activities must be kept for a period of five years from the date CPD is completed. All CPD records must be available for audit or if needed by the NMBA or the Council as part of an assessment arising from a notification (complaint). For more information about how exactly you should keep records or what may be asked for during an audit check the CPD guidelines document.

To help you with CPD recordkeeping, the NMBA has developed a self-directed CPD evidence record that can be used for planning and recording CPD.


3. Choosing a range of CPD activities

It is wise to develop a learning plan, undertake CPD activities and maintain a CPD journal and portfolio so that a link between your learning activities and your professional development can be made.

Choosing a range of activities is more effective for improving and developing practice than completing learning activities of just one type or repeating the same activities each year. It may also be useful to take part in both formal and informal activities which are broad and varied. Consider the combined use of multimedia and multiple instruction techniques, e.g. face-to-face, simulation, interactive e-learning and self-directed learning.

Remember that the primary goal of CPD is to develop and improve practice, not only to complete the required CPD hours. CPD activities must be relevant to your area of professional practice, and have clear aims and objectives that meet your self-assessed requirements.

  • Possible activities could include;
  • postgraduate studies
  • attending conferences
  • in-service education
  • workshops and seminars
  • having an article published in a peer-reviewed journal


4. Pro rata CPD

When a nurse or midwife registers part-way through a registration period, pro rata CPD requirements will apply. Check the guidelines to find out more about these.