The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) has issued a statement making “its expectations about providing advice on vaccinations clear to registered nurses, enrolled nurses and midwives”.
This is in response to recent reports of nurses who have publically espoused anti-vaccination stances in social media and elsewhere.
“The NMBA has become aware that there are a small number of registered nurses, enrolled nurses and midwives who are promoting anti-vaccination statements to patients and the public … which contradict the best available scientific evidence,” the statement says.
The NMBA is responsible for the regulation of the nursing and midwifery professions, and has approved registration standards, codes and guidelines and competency standards that define the Board’s expectations while guiding the professional practice of nurses and midwives in Australia.
The Board says those standards include recognising the Australian National Immunisation Handbook as providing “evidence-based advice to health professionals about the safe and effective use of vaccines and the public health benefits associated with vaccination”.
The NMBA says it supports the use of the handbook by registered nurses, enrolled nurses and midwives who are giving vaccines, and “expects all registered nurses, enrolled nurses and midwives to use the best available evidence in making practice decisions. This includes providing information to the public about public health issues.”
This particularly refers to its social media policy and guidelines for advertising regulated health services.
The statement asks “What should I do if I notice a nurse or midwife is promoting anti-vaccination material?” and suggests that “If you have concerns about a nurse or midwife you can make a complaint to AHPRA.”
“The NMBA will consider whether the nurse or midwife has breached their professional obligations and will treat these matters seriously. Any published anti-vaccination material and/or advice which is false, misleading or deceptive which is being distributed by a registered nurse, enrolled nurse or midwife (including via social media) may also constitute a summary offence under the National Law and could result in prosecution by Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency.”