Australian Standards For Neonatal Nurses


Download ACNN Standards for Practice Fourth Edition, issued on 30 April 2019.   

These standards are available in electronic format only. ACNN invites you to share them and make available to your neonatal nursing colleagues within your workplaces by downloading the PDF document to print and/or save as a desktop icon on your work computers.

Why standards are needed

Professional standards define the practice and behaviour of neonatal nurses. The Australian College of Neonatal Nurses continues to provide standards within the context of the Australian healthcare system. Neonatal nursing practice includes direct clinical care and various other roles in which neonatal nurses use their professional skills and knowledge. This fourth edition reflects elements that should be evident in the current practice of neonatal nurses in Australia.

ACNN acknowledges that the Australian community is culturally rich and diverse. Neonatal nurses have a professional responsibility to provide care that is culturally safe and respectful of all peoples, especially our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and communities.

These Neonatal Nurses Standards for Practice apply specifically to registered nurses and/or registered midwives, who work in a clinical or non-clinical capacity to contribute to the care of neonates and their families within inpatient and post-discharge contexts. They inform professional practice, professional development and capability for all neonatal nurses in the provision of safe, high quality clinical care and are inclusive, but not limited to, direct clinical care, education, leadership, management and research.

The format of the standards

ACNN acknowledges that there are Australian standards for practice for registered nurses, registered midwives, nurse practitioners and enrolled nurses. The standards applying to registered nurses (RNs) were selected as the foundation for this fourth edition of the ACNN Neonatal Nurses Standards for Practice due to their broader applicability. The current Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia Registered Nurses Standards for Practice recognise that RNs work within professional relationships to provide health care that involves individuals, families, groups and communities.

Each standard has criteria that aid individual neonatal nurses to develop their scope of practice in the context of current roles and responsibilities. Utilised for the advancement of clinical practice based assessment, or as a self reflective tool for all levels of neonatal nurses in the clinical practice, or educational practice setting, the standards encourage the neonatal nurse to incorporate the  standards into their nursing care, thereby enhancing nursing care to infants and their families.

The standards may be used for beginning neonatal nurses and throughout the continuum from novice to expert. The standards may also be used as a framework for curriculum development and assessment of postgraduate speciality programs.

Updated 30 April  2019