Using contemporary research and data to inform nursing and midwifery policy

Ms Petrina Halloran1

1Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, Melbourne, Australia

The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) regulates nurses and midwives who are registered to practise in Australia.  The Code of conduct for nurses and the Code of conduct for midwives (the Codes) are part of the professional practice framework developed by the NMBA. The Codes set out the principles of professional behaviour that guide practice, and clearly outline the conduct expected of nurses and midwives by their colleagues and the broader community.

This presentation shares the outcomes of the project the NMBA undertook in its first full review of the Codes since 2008.  The project maximised the opportunity to contemporise the Codes using research led strategies and risk-based regulatory approaches.

The research led strategies to inform the review of the Codes included a comprehensive review and analysis of national and international literature, interrogation of the internal database of notifications (complaints) made with respect to nurses and midwives on conduct, behaviour and boundaries, and a qualitative study using a series of focus groups with nurses, midwives and health consumers.

The outcomes from the research led strategies identified practice, conduct and behaviours that needed to be included in the Codes which reflect the dynamic change in the roles, contexts and scope of nursing and midwifery practice.


The revised Codes set out the legal requirements, contemporary professional behaviour and conduct expectations of nurses and midwives, with a focus on the identification of good conduct and professional behaviour exemplars, and also articulate specific aspects of conduct that is not acceptable.