State final examinations

At the completion of a programme leading to registration as a registered nurse or enrolled nurse, students are required to sit and pass the Nursing Council State Final Examination (the examination).

2017 State Final Examinations

The 2017 State Final Examinations will be held on:

  • Tuesday 21 March 2017 (Estimated date for results to be released 13 April 2017)
  • Tuesday 18 July 2017 (Estimated date for results to be released 11 August 2017)
  • Tuesday 21 November 2017 (Estimated date for results to be released 15 December 2017)

Applying for the State Final Examination

Institutes will provide candidates with website address, login and password details for the online application 12 weeks prior to the examination date. Applications close 6 weeks before the examination. 

To complete the application candidates will need the following:

  • 2x Referees and their contact details (criteria apply see below *)
  • A personal email address - not one issued by the institute
  • If already registered with the Council will need to enter their registration number.
  • Examination / registration fee for candidates who pay individually – either credit card or direct credit – see fees page of the website. 

* Referee criteria – candidates are required to submit the names, addresses, contact numbers and email addresses of two persons of good standing in the community where you live who have known you during the period of your nursing education. These people can not be relatives, flatmates, fellow students, or educators from your nursing department and must be willing to verify this declaration in support of your application for registration. 

Candidates will receive a confirmation email at the end of the application process.

Police Vetting Service and Convictions

Note: From July 2015, the Council is moving from Ministry of Justice Criminal checks to Police Vetting Service checks.

All candidates are required to complete a Police Vetting Service Request and Consent form. These forms are generally issued by your school, who will collect it from you and send it to the Nursing Council, if your school is unable to sent your form to the Council on your behalf you must arrange getting it sent to the Council in hard copy. See the right hand downloads box to download one should you require it. Students should make sure they take care when completing the form i.e. check expiry dates of passports / drivers licence and check their signature on the form matches the signature on their identification before submitting. 

All forms should be sent to:

Nursing Council of New Zealand

Education and Standards Department

PO Box 9644

Wellington 6141

Important:  If the Nursing Council receives a criminal conviction report for a student who has more than one drink driving conviction, the student may be required to obtain a medical assessment by their General Practitioner (at their own expense). The assessment may also need to include CDT (Carbohydrate Deficient Transferrin) and Liver Function tests which can cost $100 - $200 approximately.  The purpose of this requirement is to satisfy Nursing Council that the student is able to perform the functions required for the practice of nursing, and that the student is not unfit to practise because of an alcohol dependency or abuse

Criminal Convictions

  • If you have any conviction(s), please provide to the Nursing Council a separate email or letter from your perspective with the details of each charge upon which you were convicted, the date of each conviction, the penalty provided by law for each conviction and the penalty actually handed down to you by the Court (if any) for each conviction. You are welcome to provide a report or submission regarding any mitigating circumstances in respect of the conviction(s).
  • Please note that you are not required to provide all convictions under the Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act 2004. Information about this Act is available on the Police Vetting Service website
  • You are also required to declare any convictions that you may receive from when you complete this form until such time as you are considered for registration.
  • The Head of Nursing from your school will be required to submit a letter acknowledging that you declared your conviction(s) and that they support your registration.
  • The information that you provide will be considered by the Registrar / Registration Committee of the Nursing Council in order to determine whether the offence reflects adversely on your fitness to practise as a registered nurse/enrolled nurse. This information will be held by the Nursing Council and used for purposes related to its registration functions.
  • The Registration Committee may also wish to meet with you to discuss your conviction(s).

The State Final Examinations Structure

The State Final Examinations are set up and marked in the following manner: 

Registered nurse

The questions in the examinations are allocated to one of four key categories, of which 60% is the required pass rate for each key category: 

Key categories
  • safe / effective environment
  • physiological integrity
  • psychosocial integrity
  • health promotion / maintenance 

and to one of six subcategories, of which 50% is the required pass rate for each subcategory: 

  • ethical / legal safety
  • community health nursing
  • maternal and child health nursing
  • medical nursing
  • surgical nursing
  • mental health / psychiatric nursing 

Enrolled nurse 

The questions in the examinations are allocated to one of four key categories, of which 60% is the required pass rate: 

Key categories 
  • physiological knowledge
  • psychosocial / communication
  • clinical skills / knowledge
  • ethical / legal safety 

State Final Examination Results

Please note that the exam results process will change from the July 2017 Examination.  The Council will stop publishing the unofficial list containing the numbers of those candidates who passed the Examination on the Council website.  

Results for all candidates will be emailed directly from the Nursing Council to candidates’ email addresses as supplied on the online application form on the morning of the day the results are released.

Examination results are issued on a pass or fail basis and a percentage mark is not provided. 

Results are not available over the phone.

Successful candidates

Successful candidates who have met all other requirements are registered by the Nursing Council and will receive an email regarding their results. The email will also include a link to apply for an Annual Practising Certificate (APC) online.  Successful candidates will receive a registration certificate in the post.

Successful candidates who have not met all other requirements will have their results issued as Passed/Requirements Not Met.

Candidates will have their registration delayed if Police vetting request and consent forms/results have not been received by the Nursing Council prior to the release of the Examination results.

Candidates with criminal convictions may also have their registration delayed while further information is sought from candidates and candidate referees for consideration by the Nursing Council Registration Committee. 

Unsuccessful candidates

Unsuccessful candidates will receive an email regarding their results. These results will also include State Final Examination resit information where applicable. Results will also be posted out to unsuccessful candidates including resit information where applicable.



Q Why do I only get a pass or fail result rather than the actual percentage result for my exam?

A The Council state final examinations are assessed on a pass / fail basis, thus an overall percentage is not allocated.  The purpose of the state final examination is to determine competence and safety to practise. Therefore those candidates who pass are considered safe to practice. 

Q I have passed the examination, can I get percentage results if I really want to?

A Yes, you will need to contact the education team for a ‘request for analysis’ form and pay the $79.00 processing fee.

Q Can I work as a Healthcare Assistant (HCA) once I am registered as a Registered Nurse  or Enrolled Nurse?

A Yes you can work as a Healthcare Assistant once you have passed the State Final Examination, you are registered and have an Annual Practising Certificate.   A Registered or Enrolled Nurse who wants to work as Healthcare Assistant is an employment matter and not something that the Nursing Council needs to be notified of.

The Nursing Council does have some words of caution for Registered or Enrolled Nurses taking on a Healthcare Assistant role.

As a Registered or Enrolled Nurse you need to be very careful that you only take on the Healthcare Assistant role if that is what you are employed as. This means ensuring that you are not taking on additional responsibilities that would ordinarily be part of the role of a Registered or Enrolled Nurse. The Registered Nurse or Enrolled Nurse needs to ensure that he/she is not using his/her nursing knowledge in the role as a Healthcare Assistant.

The Registered Nurse or Enrolled Nurse also needs to be aware that they may be held accountable under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 (the Act), because he/she is still on the nursing register. It is not a requirement that a Registered Nurse or Enrolled Nurse holds a current Annual Practising Certificate for charges of professional misconduct to be brought under the Act. 

It is also important to note that Registered Nurses or Enrolled Nurses working as Healthcare Assistants are not maintaining competence through professional development and are not being measured against the Nursing Council competencies for the Registered Nurse or Enrolled Nurse scope of practice . This also means for example, that Healthcare Assistant ‘clinical’ hours do not count towards practice hours when applying for a practising certificate as a Registered or Enrolled Nurse and similarly professional development is unlikely to count either.

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