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Your questions about registration and changing clinical specialties

Your questions about registration and changing clinical specialties

Starting your career as a professional nurse or midwife can be challenging and daunting. If you have a general question for our Graduate and Final Year Student Support Officer go to

Grad question

I was wondering how easy or difficult is it to change specialties throughout your career as a nurse. For example, go from NICU to general or adult emergency after a few years in one area? Are there courses we would need to complete to transition back to adult acute care or vice versa? – Amelia

Dear Amelia,

The beauty of nursing is its varied opportunities for you to diversify your skills and knowledge.

As a registered nurse, you can work in all settings unless otherwise stipulated by your registration, the job advertisement or position description. Many employers will offer support for your transition.
Attending study days or CPD relevant to your desired specialised field can be beneficial (and would count towards your CPD hours for registration). For instance, if you’re interested in a cardiac medical/surgical ward then try an ECG course.

As an ANMF member, you can undertake in-person CPD seminars and workshops and use your $400 annual credit for the online CPD Portal. We have Special Interest Groups which offer CPD and networking opportunities, and you can access journals and books through our library to refresh your knowledge in that area.

If necessary, you could consider undertaking post-graduate courses if they offer a course in the area you’d like to move into.

Another tip is to ask the nurse unit managers or educators in the area you’d like to move into for advice. You can also research current job advertisements, so you can work towards ensuring you have the experience listed in the selection criteria. Good luck!

Student question

I’m in the final stages of my nursing course, when should I start the application process for Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) registration? – Thanh

Dear Thanh,

You should start your NMBA registration application four to six weeks before finishing your course. Don’t forget to have all your supporting documentation ready and pay your application fee.

It is important to read the registration standards to be aware of the types of evidence required, and the way they want it provided e.g. certification of documents. The National Board has 90 days to finalise a registration.

If you are requested to provide more evidence or documentation within a certain timeframe you can request an extension.

You won’t be able to start working as a nurse or midwife until your name is published on the public register.

If you have any issues with your application that you’d like further advice you can contact me via