Bridging Course or OBA for International Nurses in Australia?

Bridging Course or OBA for International Nurses in Australia?

In October 2019, the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) developed a new assessment model for international nurses seeking to work in Australia. The model was implemented to ensure that Australian healthcare standards would be met by practicing international nurses at the same level of performance as Australian graduate nurses.

Under the new assessment model, nurses and midwives with international qualifications (IQNMs) would be required to undergo either of two options: completing a bridging course, or taking the outcomes-based-assessment (OBA) before being able to practice in Australia.

Prior to the new model, IQNMs arriving in Australia holding relevant qualifications but that are not substantially equivalent to Australian standards were only required to go through the bridging program to attain the requirements for working in the country. But as of October 2019, the new assessment model was introduced, giving IQNMs the option of either taking the bridging course or the OBA to become qualified Australian healthcare professionals.

Further changes were made, however, in January 2020, when the nursing and midwifery board decided that only the OBA would remain as a requirement for IQNMs to attain work.

The outcomes-based-assessment model, which fully replaced the bridging course, consists of two parts. The first part includes a multiple-choice cognitive assessment exam, while the second part is behavioural assessment in the form of an Objective Structured Clinical Exam (OSCE).

The OSCE, according to the board, is used for assessing whether an IQMN possessed the knowledge, skills and competence of an Australian graduate nurse or midwife. “OSCE implemented in many countries including the United Kingdom is basically to assess how a nurse or midwife can handle the patients in different scenarios in a simulation environment,” says Kunnumpurathu Bijo, the CEO of Melbourne based Institute of Health and Management.

Under OSCE, IQNMs will need to demonstrate their skills in handling a patient from the country of work, while under the observation of a clinical educator. The assessment would also cover communication with the patient, clinical decision-making and practice standards.

Once the two-step assessment has been completed, IQNMs will then move on to the orientation program, which consists of three stages. Stage one is an online program that introduces the IQNM to Australia and its healthcare system. Stage two covers the diversity of Australian culture. And finally, stage three of the program is provided by the IQNM’s employer based on NMBA guidelines.

The new model is expected to benefit SQNMs financially, since the adaptation program in Australia is more expensive than in other countries.

These then, are the new Australian healthcare requirements for nurses and midwives with international qualifications but did not graduate from an Australian educational institution, to be able to work as professional healthcare providers in the country.

If you aspire to become a professional nurse or other type of healthcare provider in Australia, Education Training and Employment Australia (ETEA) offers such courses as Diploma of Nursing and other Health and Allied Services courses that are at par with the country’s high standards. Our reputable institution is able to provide quality classroom instruction as well as practical training in a fun, safe and conducive environment, to get you on your way to a fruitful career in Australian and international healthcare. Enquire with us today.

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