Interim Practising Certificate for the COVID-19 Pandemic

The condition for an Interim Practising Certificate for the COVID-19 pandemic is as follows:

• Restricted practice for duration of COVID-19 pandemic.

There have been some questions about what “restricted practice” means for nurses/employers?
The guidance from the Nursing Council is that the restriction on practise under an Interim Practising Certificate is not one about where they can practise nursing. It is the restriction of the time period in which they can practise (i.e only for the period of the pandemic and time period specified in the Interim Practising Certificate).

We are not seeking to limit nurses working in a variety of areas to support the health sector's response to COVID-19. Nurses working under an Interim Practising Certificate will be limited to practising for the duration of the pandemic.

There are no restrictions on where a nurse can practise. The Nursing Council’s guidance is that nurses and their employers will need to apply common sense about where a nurse seeks to work that is appropriate and safe in terms of their competence, previous work experience, and consistent with the nurse's skills and capabilities.

For example, if a nurse previously practised in aged care, it is not recommended that they now practise in an ICU. 

In the current situation (regardless of the COVID-19 situation) a nurse with an Interim Practising Certificate will need to assess their skills, training, prior experience and competence for the role or areas they seek to safely practise in. Employers will also need to make that assessment before employing a nurse with an Interim Practising Certificate. 

It is also the Nursing Council’s expectation that nurses who were out of practice for more than 5 years would practise in a less acute area, such as Healthline, CBACs, contact tracing or vaccination with the appropriate orientation, but that this is an expectation and is not a requirement.