From 1 October 2021 new legal arrangements will come into effect for becoming a rural and isolated practice registered nurse (RIPRN) in Victoria.
Under the changes aspiring RIPRNs will no longer apply to the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) for endorsement.
Future RIPRNs will be subject to new Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Regulations and Victorian Health Secretary approval.
Prior to the changes, to work as a rural and isolated practice endorsed registered nurse (RIPERN), nurses were required to complete a course in rural scheduled medicines practice. Practice was limited to rural/bush nursing centres and hospital emergency departments. RIPERNs referred to the Primary Clinical Care Manual to inform their scheduled medicines practice.
From October 2021, existing RIPERNs will have their qualification ‘grandfathered’ and will be referred to as a rural and isolated practice registered nurse (RIPRN). Existing RIPRNs do not have to requalify or prove their experience but nurses, and the employing health service, must maintain records regarding the RIPERN’s completion of course, experience and employment.
After October 2021 registered nurses wanting to become a RIPRN must demonstrate clinical experience of:
- working as a registered nurse, for a minimum of one year, in a three-year period, at two days per week (0.42 FTE) or more
- at least one year working in an urgent, emergency or critical care setting, or one year working in a rural or rural isolated practice setting.
Health services employing RIPRNs must keep records of experience and employment that demonstrate:
- assessment of the competence of the registered nurse
- an organisational list or register of each RIPRN is kept current
- RIPRN practices are in accordance with the approval of the Department of Health Secretary and in accordance with local policy and relevant professional standards.
The changes come after NMBA consultations with the nursing profession since 2016 about the removal of RIPRN endorsement.