Return to Practice for RN and EN


Before applying, please read the information below. Then, download the specific form at the bottom of this page.

Welcome to the Australian Centre of Further Education (ACFE) Return to Practice (RTP) and Initial Registration for Overseas Nurses (IRON) program. for AHPRA approved applicants seeking registration as Registered Nurse, Enrolled Nurse.

We acknowledge the experience that you bring and are committed to anticipating and responding to your educational and development needs to ensure best practice patient care.

Course Philosophy

The Australian Centre of Further Education (ACFE) embraces the value of providing opportunities to individuals from various cultural backgrounds to be able to practice their chosen profession and to achieve a relatively smooth integration into the Australian culture, lifestyle, and economy, and for those previously practicing in Australia a smooth return to the workforce.

The organisation recognises that education is a continuous and lifelong process. Through education, individuals are able to build on and modify, previously acquired knowledge, skills and attitudes. The goal is to equip participants with the knowledge and skills to maximise their full potential.

The aim of the organisation is to provide individuals with an education that: (a) strengthens their existing knowledge and skills, (b) orient them to best practise methods in their field, and (c) make them aware of their conduct and legal responsibilities in the practise their profession in Australia.

ACFE course philosophy is based on Australian Nursing and Midwifery Council (ANMC) – rebranded as the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) statements for the RN, EN.

Expectations for the registered nurse on entry to practice are as follows:

  • The registered nurse assesses, plans, implements and evaluates nursing care in collaboration with individual/s and the multidisciplinary health care team so as to achieve goals and health outcomes. The registered nurse recognises that ethnicity, culture, gender, spiritual values, sexuality, age, disability and economic and social factors have an impact on an individual‟s responses to, and beliefs about, health and illness, and plans and modifies nursing care appropriately. The registered nurse provides care in a range of settings that may include acute, community, residential and extended care settings, homes, educational institutions or other work settings and modifies practice according to the model/s of care delivery.
  • The registered nurse demonstrates competence in the provision of nursing care as specified by the registering authority‟s licence to practice, educational preparation, relevant legislation, standards and codes, and context of care. The registered nurse practices independently and interdependently assuming accountability and responsibility for their own actions and delegation of care to enrolled nurses and health care workers. Delegation takes into consideration the education and training of enrolled nurses and health care workers and the context of care.
  • The registered nurse provides evidence–based nursing care to people of all ages and cultural groups, including individuals, families and communities. The role of the registered nurse includes promotion and maintenance of health and prevention of illness for individual/s with physical or mental illness, disabilities and/or rehabilitation needs, as well as alleviation of pain and suffering at the end stage of life.
  • The registered nurse takes a leadership role in the coordination of nursing and health care within and across different care contexts to facilitate optimal health outcomes. This includes appropriate referral to, and consultation with, other relevant health professionals, service providers, and community and support services.
  • The registered nurse contributes to quality health care through lifelong learning and professional development of herself/himself and others, research data generation, clinical supervision and development of policy and clinical practice guidelines. The registered nurse develops their professional practice in accordance with the health needs of the population/society and changing patterns of disease and illness.

(ANMC National Competency Standards for the registered nurse, 2006)

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    Program Aims
    co Nursing, M.Ed)

    The RTP and IRON programs aim to prepare course participants to be eligible for registration as a nurse. At the completion of this program, it is expected that participants will be able to:


    Provide safe, competent and comprehensive nursing or midwifery care in contemporary Australian health care settings

    Demonstrate critical reasoning, by working both autonomously and as a member of the health care team and be able to use their skills and knowledge in all clinical situations Use clinical skills based on current research and evidence

    Practice with the knowledge, attitudes and skills of the ANMC competencies Understand the professional, legal and ethical responsibilities of nurse and midwives in the Australian health care setting

    Competently use information technologies including basic computer skills and retrieving information

    Demonstrate and understand therapeutic communication skills

    Work, communicate and interact effectively and professionally within the multidisciplinary health care team

    Understand the importance of continued study and life-long learning

    Take responsibility for the development of nursing and/or midwifery as a profession

    Midwives will embrace the philosophy of woman-centred midwifery care.

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    Course Description
    • This program is based on the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Competencies (ANMC) (which have been rebranded as the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) Competencies) and is intended to assist those eligible applicants to become safe and competent practitioners in the Australian health care environment.
    • The theoretical and clinical laboratory component of this program is delivered at Level 5, 341 Queen St Melbourne.
    • This course will only be offered on a full-time basis. Participants will be required to attend Monday to Friday.
    • The course delivery includes; lectures and tutorials, journal/ book reviews, online research, audiovisual resources, self-directed learning and case studies based on current evidence based best practice.
    • The course offered is to be undertaken within a maximum of 480 hours on a full time basis (12 weeks). Course participants must successfully complete the theoretical component of the program and be assessed as having the required clinical skills before progressing to their supervised clinical placement Should participants require further theoretical support prior to undertaking their clinical placement, additional tutorials will be programmed.
    • The course length will be no more than 480 hours in length including the 160 hours of theoretical component. The 160 hours theoretical component will be conducted as a block in the first 4 weeks of the program.

Clinical Placement

Clinical Placement will be undertaken at an approved and accredited acute health care facility. Our industry partners who provide opportunity for clinical placement of ACFE students are located throughout Australia including Melbourne Metropolitan, Regional Victoria and Interstate. Clinical placement for each group in a year is pre-booked by October of the year prior to course commencement

  • Each course participant will be responsible for their own transport and accommodation arrangements and any associated costs
  • Supervised clinical practice is conducted in Australian Nursing and Midwifery Accreditation Council (ANMAC) approved and appropriately accredited acute medical/surgical facility.
  • The clinical component of the program includes 240 hours of clinical placement. If the participant is not able to demonstrate practice to the required standard within this time they will be referred to the course coordinator and education manager to discuss options and pathways
  • Course participants unable to demonstrate the required level of competency prior to their clinical placement, will not be able to progress further in the course. The participant may contact the NMBA to request an extension of time to complete the program or may be asked to withdraw from the program.
  • Should a participant demonstrate ANMC competency in all domains prior to completing the maximum 480 hours allowable, but after completing the minimum 160 hours RTP or 240 hours IRON of clinical practice, the Course Coordinator may recommend the participant for registration. (Refer to ACFE Clinical Placement Policy)
  • Should a participant be assessed as unable to meet the required competency standard and following discussion between the course particpant, course coordinator, clinical coordinator and education manager the NMBA will be notified.
  • On successful completion of this program, participants will be recommended by the education manager to the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) under the umbrella of the Australian Health Practitioner Regulatory Authority (AHPRA) for registration in the appropriate register of the NMBA.

Program Structure, Hurdles and Assessment Criteria

The theoretical component of the program consists of 4 weeks of study. This includes lectures, discussion, workshops and self-directed material. Simulated workshops form part of the theory component, which allows the nurse to practice a variety of common nursing interventions in a safe and non-threatening environment.

Both the 4 weeks theory and 6 weeks clinical practice component of the program need to be completed within 12 weeks from the date of commencement.

There are a number of assessment tasks and hurdles which must be completed throughout the program to ensure the participant is able to progress through the course. If the participant is unsuccessful at any stage, they will have one further opportunity to show competency. Failure to show competence at any hurdle/assessment task will result in the participant being unable to progress to the next stage of the program. Please see the course flow chart (above) for further detail

Assessment consists of:

  • Successful completion of all Self Directed Learning Packages
  • A pass of 100% for the drug calculations test
  • Deemed Competent in all competency assessments
  • A pass in classroom presentations
  • A pass in all other Laboratory Assessments:

All assessments are based on the following principles:

  • Working within Scope of Practice
  • Provision of safe and effective nursing care
  • Demonstrate appropriate Medical Terminology/Documentation/Privacy and Confidentiality
  • Demonstrated understanding of knowledge/skill being assessed

If any one of the above is NOT demonstrated, the participant will be deemed not yet competent (NYC) for that assessment and will need to resubmit or be reassessed. If still NYC the participant will be unable to continue with the current group in the program.

If all the above assessments are successfully completed then the participant progresses to demonstrate competence against the ANMC competencies for the Registered Nurse, Enrolled Nurse or Registered Midwife in an acute health care environment.

In the event a participant is deemed not yet competent (NYC) at any stage, they will be given learning support and further opportunity to demonstrate competence.

Any participant who is still assessed as not yet competent (NYC) in the theoretical component of the program will not be able to progress to their clinical placement. Course participants will be counselled about their options and may be advised to re-enrol. If the participant wishes to continue with the program they will need to seek an extension from AHPRA for extra time in which to complete all requirements before being eligible to be recommended for registration. This will incur further cost to the course participant.

Any participant who is not showing evidence of satisfactory progression in meeting the ANMC competencies whilst on clinical placement will be given further learning support, and placed on a learning contract. If the participant is still unable to demonstrate satisfactory progression and is not likely to meet the requirements in the allocated time, they may be offered the opportunity to extend their placement (subject to availability and permission from AHPRA) The course participant will be required to pay an additional fee for this extension to placement. Alternatively, the participant may be required to reapply to the NMBA/AHPRA for entry into another group to complete the program or an approved pre-registration tertiary delivered program or other program as recommended by AHPRA. Assessment decisions of the education provider are final.

Application Requirements

Documents Required to Submit the ACFE Application Form

  • Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) Course participant must provide an original certified true copy of the AHPRA Letter indicating which course they have permission to complete. This letter must be Valid. (A valid letter is 12 months from the date of issue)
  • English Language proficiency International English language Testing System (IELTS) a score of at least 7.0 in each component OR Occupational English Test (OET) a score of at least B in each component. Requirements much be achieved in a single sitting and results a valid for two years. Course participant need to provide a certified copy for enrolment.
  • Supporting documents Please attach an up to date resume and a letter explaining the reason why you wish to enrol into the course
  • Applicant must pass a selection interview.

Additional Documents Required when accepted in the Program

  • Applicants must provide certified copies of all relevant information of nursing registration, and other nursing courses.
  • Police Clearance: Course Participants must provide a certified copy of a Police clearance certificate from country of origin.
  • On shore applicants must have a current working with children check (Victoria) or interstate equivalent.
  • Immunisation : Course Participants need to provide evidence of Immunisation for
    • Hepatitis B
    • Pertussis, Diphtheria
    • Tetanus, Measles
    • Mumps
    • Rubella
    • Annual Influenza vaccination and swine flu,
    • Mantoux
    • Clear X ray for Tuberculosis
  • Overseas Health Insurance: Course Participants must provide evidence of having Overseas Health Insurance prior to staring course.
  • 2x passport-size certified photos taken within the last six (6) months

Fees, Refund and and Cancellation Policy

  • Application Fee: AUD $250 (non-refundable) this fee is required together with a completed ACFE Application Form
  • Course Fee: (refer to the specific application form for the actual amount in AUD)
    • An Initial Fee (refer to the specific application form for the actual amount in AUD) is required within 7 days of receiving the Letter of Offer and Invoice from ACFE. This fee will confirm your place in the IRON Program and your Clinical Placement.
    • The balance is required not later than one month prior to the start of the Course or as soon as the Applicant has been granted Visa by the Australian government.
  • Additional Fees and Charges
    • Students are responsible for all transport and accommodation arrangements and costs associated with undertaking a program of study with ACFE. This includes costs incurred for clinical placement, such as airfares, bus, train fares and transport between accommodation and health care facility and costs for accommodation
    • Text books and other reference materials may be purchased by course participants. Please refer to the appropriate book list
    • Students may ask to print out from the computer. A fee may be applied for this service
  • Refunds
    • Full Refund is applicable if the enrolment is withdrawn 30 days or more prior to the intake date as stated in the Confirmation of Enrolment (COE).
    • Half of the total fee is refundable if the course participant cancels less than 30 days prior to the intake date as stated in the Confirmation of Enrolment.
    • No refund is applicable if the course participant withdraws on or after the commencement date of the course intake as stated in the Confirmation of Enrolment.