A pathway to a healthier you

Notifications, regulations and your health

No nurse/midwife wants to get notified. It is upsetting and disruptive in our already busy and stressful working lives.

A notification to the regulator may cause stigma, shame, and distress including anxiety, and fear. A complaint made against you may affect your professional identity, impact your personal life, and the life of your family members. Being notified to the regulator is one of the most stressful professional events that can occur for a nurse/midwife. 

Understand notifications 

If you have a regulatory issue (this includes registration or concerns about your practise), it can be stressful and may affect your health. 

You can minimise the chance of a notification and come through the process with less stress if you understand your professional responsibilities. 

Strategies for reducing the chance of, or coming through a notification

  1. Stay registered – re-register every year, meet the standards and requirements Read our registration tips
  2. Maintain your physical and mental health to meet the code
  3. Ask for help to get through a notification process 
  4. Understand the notification process

Worried about a notification?

We are here to support your health through the process. 

Stay well, perform well

Our code of conduct requires that you maintain your physical and mental health to ensure that you are able to practise safely and effectively. By managing and prioritising your own health you can provide safe care to patients and clients. It also means that you are better able to come through a notification process.

Inform Aphra if you have a health concern

When a health concern is raised this usually relates to an unmanaged health condition which the notifier believes has an impact on your ability to provide safe clinical care. If you aren’t sure if you have a notifiable health concern, contact the regulator: 

Call Ahpra on 1300 419 495 
Mon to Fri 9am – 5pm (AEDT) 

Ask for help during the notification process

If you are stressed, anxious or feeling suicidal about a notification to the regulator please contact Nurse and Midwife Health Program Australia 1800 001 060 we are here to support your health through the process.  

Drawn out investigations or poor communications can contribute to your distress and a negative health outcome. 

If the complaint or notification is about your health, there may be concerns about your ability to continue to practise the profession until your health is adequately managed. This may cause considerable stress for you particularly if there is a loss of income.   

Help yourself during the notification process

Ensure you have support networks – both personal (your family and friends) and professional (your work colleagues). 

Many nurses and midwives do not want to tell anyone that they have received a notification and often feel alone. Good networks and supports are known to be very protective and helpful when you are managing distress. 

Consider contacting your union, insurer or legal advisor when you become aware of the notification. Open communication with the person who is handling your complaint both at the regulator and your union assist a shared understanding of the:

  • notification that has been made
  • process that you are going through 
  • things you need to do to manage the notification in a timely way. 

Likelihood that a notification will be made against you

The probability of receiving a notification overall is extremely small. In 2022/23, our population of:

  • 441,891 nurses received a total of 2,365 notifications. This represents 0.5% of nurses
  • 34,238 midwives received a total of 135 notifications. This represents 0.4% of midwives.

Process when a notification is made 

Assessment of the concern

To determine if you pose a risk to people in your care, the regulator the concern is assessed. This mostly takes about 60 days. You may be contacted for more information to help determine the level of risk you may pose to the public. Your responses help decision makers understand your circumstances and what, if anything, has changed since the concerns or events were initially raised with the regulator.  

The focus will be on the conduct, behaviour and/or performance that is below the accepted standard and any health concerns that mean your decision making is not safe for the patients in your care. 

They will also consider:

  • reflections that you have or actions that you have taken since the event / concern
  • how your workplace has supported you to remain in 
  • what your workplace might be willing to do to ensure that any risk that you might pose is being managed or mitigated.   

Assessment decision 

Most complaints are considered low risk. They are closed quickly with no further action (NFA) or have a condition, such as requiring you to undertake education or for you to be supervised during certain clinical processes such as managing medications.  

You may be required to have a health or performance assessment.   

Investigations – complex matters

If the matter is complex and there is a higher risk posed to those you care for, there will be an investigation. Complex investigations can take more than 12 months to complete. The decision makers may:

  • determine that you have no case to answer 
  • issue a caution
  • impose conditions to help you improve your performance, conduct or health
  • send you for a health or performance assessment
  • take immediate action against you

Taking immediate action usually restricts your ability to continue to practice by suspending your registration, imposing conditions on your registration, or asking you to surrender your registration. Restrictions on your registration are visible on the public register. 

An immediate action process will occur very quickly. It is important to speak with the union or any other legal representative immediately after being notified.