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. 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). 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. 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 settings.
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.
As a registered nurse, these core competency standards provide you with the framework for assessing your competence, and are used by the National Board to assess competence as part of the annual renewal of registration, to assess nurses:
? 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 performance.
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 understand.
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.
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.
The registered nurse assesses, plans, implements and evaluates nursing care in collaboration with individuals and the multidisciplinary health care team so as to achieve goals and health outcomes. The registered nurse recognises that ethnicity, culture, gender, spiritual values, sexuality, age, disability and economic and social factors have an impact