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OBA for International Nurse and Midwife

Navigating Your Nursing Career in Australia: Pioneer Global's Comprehensive Guidance

Exploring a Nursing Journey in Australia? Pioneer Global Walks Alongside: Whether you're already here or planning your move, Pioneer Global Education and Migration Services offers the compass for your registration and practice launch. If Aussie shores are not your current harbor, a visa from the Australian Department of Home Affairs might be your next navigational step.

For those envisioning nursing or midwifery roles Down Under, anchoring your journey involves registering with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA).

At the heart of healthcare, with medical centers as their canvas, nurses create a portrait of care and compassion. In Australia, this canvas stretches wide, inviting aspirants to weave their professional tapestry while touching lives.

Yet, every masterpiece has its brushstrokes: enter the Outcomes-Based Assessment (OBA), a pathway designed for globally-trained nurses and midwives (IQNMs). This framework unfurls a fresh route, leading internationally registered nurses and midwives toward their Australian Nursing Registration. The journey involves scrutinizing overseas nursing qualifications and experiences. Worth noting, only those bearing foreign nursing registrations can venture down the OBA avenue.


Introduction: The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) operates under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, which is applicable in various states and territories. Its primary responsibility is to regulate nursing and midwifery practices within Australia, ensuring public safety. The NMBA, in conjunction with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra), assesses the qualifications of internationally qualified nurses and midwives (IQNMs) to ascertain their suitability for Australian registration. This fact sheet addresses common queries about the updated assessment model for IQNMs seeking registration in Australia.

Background: Before the initiation of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme in 2010, state and territory boards handled the assessment of IQNMs. In 2010, Ahpra introduced a national assessment model for IQNMs. The NMBA subsequently established an interim assessment model in 2014, featuring eight qualification assessment criteria, which led to a more uniform and fair evaluation of IQNM applications.

Transition to the New Assessment Model: The NMBA has transitioned to a permanent assessment approach for IQNMs, reducing the criteria from eight to three in January 2019. This modification simplifies the assessment process while maintaining the same outcomes as the previous model. As of March 2020, an outcomes-based assessment (OBA) was adopted for IQNMs possessing relevant qualifications but not substantially equivalent or similarly competent to approved Australian qualifications. This obviated the requirement for new referrals to bridging programs. Extensive research led to the development of the OBA, which incorporates both cognitive and behavioral components, mandates the passage of the cognitive assessment before the behavioral component, and introduces an orientation program familiarizing IQNMs with Australian healthcare practices.

Key Features of the New Assessment Model: The updated assessment model encompasses:

  • A self-check for all IQNMs.
  • An orientation program for eligible IQNMs.
  • An OBA for specific IQNMs.

Self-Check: The assessment evaluates qualifications against three criteria. IQNMs must submit their qualification information for the self-check. Subsequent steps and assessment stages are communicated to IQNMs who qualify for registration or OBA. There are three candidate streams: Stream A for substantially equivalent qualifications, Stream B for relevant but not substantially equivalent qualifications, and Stream C for those necessitating qualification upgrading in Australia or another country.

Orientation Program: IQNMs progressing through the assessment process are required to complete an orientation program before Australian registration. More details are provided in the Orientation Part 1 and Part 2 fact sheetsheetsmes-Based Assessment (OBA): The OBA, a two-stage process, consists of a computer-based multiple-choice question exam followed by an objective structured clinical examination (OSCE). Passing the first stage is a prerequisite for the second. The OSCE assesses IQNMs' knowledge, skills, and competence in accordance with Australian standards.

For more information:

  • Visit the NMBA website sections on internationally qualified nurses and midwives and registration standards.
  • Contact the Pioneer Global Team to get more information.

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