Council releases analysis and decisions on review of nurse practitioner scope

07 December 2016

The change, which follows extensive consultation, is a major change to the scope of practice that was established in 2001.

New nurse practitioners will no longer be restricted to a specific area of practice.  As advanced clinicians new nurse practitioners will be expected to self-regulate and practise within their areas of competence, skills and experience.

The new scope of practice will come into effect with the publication of a new statement in the New Zealand Gazette in March 2017. It will be accompanied by changes to education programme standards for Masters degrees leading to registration as a nurse practitioner. A review of accrediting and monitoring policies for tertiary education institutions delivering these qualifications will follow.

The changes, designed to bring about greater consistency and breadth in nurse practitioner preparation, are the culmination of three years of work and two rounds of consultation.

The first consultation showed that 77% of respondents supported a broadening of the scope of practice to provide greater flexibility for nurse practitioners to be able to meet current and future health needs.

It also showed strong support (75%) for a more generic, streamlined nurse practitioner programme with greater clinical content and more emphasis on mentor support and clinical learning time.

To fine tune proposals, the Council embarked on a second round of consultation in November 2015. 54 submissions were received from a wide range of organisations and individuals.

New education programme standards that support the broader scope of practice by requiring students to develop advanced skills across more than one setting received support from 78% of respondents. The consultation also showed a high level of support for proposed new competencies and a requirement that new nurse practitioners practise under supervision for one year.

While new nurse practitioners will no longer be restricted to specific areas of practice, those already registered will be able to continue to practice with a condition placed in their scope of practice indicating that they work in a particular area or do not prescribe.

More detail about the consultation findings can be found here

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