Register as a nurse

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The Council is responsible under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 for the registration of nurses in New Zealand. Under the Act the Council must be satisfied that each candidate for registration as a nurse: 

  • is fit for registration
  • has the qualifications prescribed for the scope of practice in which he or she wishes to register
  • is competent to practise within that scope of practice.

Applicants who have successfully completed an approved programme of study in New Zealand can apply for registration as a nurse in the scope of practice for which his or her qualification is prescribed. For enrolled nurse and registered nurse applicants, this will involve passing the state final examination.

Please see the documents in the right hand downloads box on this page.

Fitness for registration

An applicant must satisfy the Council that he or she:

  • is able to communicate effectively in order to practise nursing
  • is able to comprehend and communicate in English sufficiently well to protect the health and safety of the public
  • does not have a physical or mental condition that means he or she is unable to practise
  • does not have a court conviction that may reflect adversely on his or her fitness to practise
  • is not the subject of any investigation, disciplinary proceedings or disciplinary order, in New Zealand or any other country, that reflects adversely on his or her fitness to practise
  • knows of no reason why his or her registration would endanger public health or safety.

Qualifications

New Zealand graduates

New Zealand nursing graduates must have:

    a. A bachelor’s degree in nursing approved by the Nursing Council of New Zealand; or
    b. a graduate nursing qualification at Level 7 on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework approved by the
       Nursing Council of New Zealand; or
    c. a postgraduate nursing qualification at Level 8 on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework approved by
       the Nursing Council of New Zealand; and
    d. a pass in an assessment of Nursing Council Competencies for Registered Nurses by an approved provider;
       and
    e. a pass in an Examination for Registered Nurses set by the Nursing Council of New Zealand.

Registered nurses from overseas

Registered nurses from outside New Zealand must:

    a. Current registration with an overseas regulatory authority; and
    b. successful completion of a nursing programme that is, in the Nursing Council’s opinion, equivalent to or as
        satisfactory as a bachelor’s degree programme in nursing at Level 7 on the New Zealand Qualifications
        Framework; or
    c. successful completion of a graduate pre-registration nursing programme that is, in the Nursing Council’s
        opinion, equivalent to or as satisfactory as an approved New Zealand graduate nursing programme at Level 7
        on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework that leads to registration in the registered nurse scope of
        practice; or
    d. successful completion of a postgraduate pre-registration nursing programme that is, in the Nursing Council’s
        opinion, equivalent to or as satisfactory as an approved New Zealand postgraduate nursing programme at
        Level 8 on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework that leads to registration in the registered nurse scope
        of practice; and
    e. two years’ post-registration nursing practice as a registered nurse of at least 2,500 hours within the five
        years immediately preceding the date of the application; and
    f.  at the direction of the Nursing Council, successful completion of a Nursing Council approved competence
        assessment programme.

New Zealand nurse registration

Applicants who have successfully completed an approved programme of study in New Zealand can apply for registration as a nurse in the scope of practice for which their qualification is prescribed. For enrolled nurse and registered nurse applicants, this will involve passing the state final examination. 

Each applicant is asked to provide evidence of support for registration from the head of school of nursing at the institution at which they studied. 

Each applicant must provide two referees from persons of good standing in the community where he or she lives. These people must have known the applicant during the period of his or her nursing education and must not be a relative, flatmate, fellow student or nursing educator from the applicant's educational institution. 

Each applicant must also sign a declaration that he or she:

  • is able to communicate effectively in order to practise nursing
  • is able to comprehend and communicate in English well enough to protect the health and safety of the public
  • does not have a physical or mental condition that means he or she is unable to practise
  • is not the subject of any investigation, disciplinary proceedings or disciplinary order, in New Zealand or in any other country, that reflects adversely on his or her fitness to practise.
  • knows of no reason why his or her registration would endanger public health or safety. 

The Council considers each application for registration on an individual basis, and require further information to support the application. If an applicant has a court conviction or other issues impacting on fitness to practise, he or she may be asked to provide additional information and/or meet with a committee of the Council. The Nursing Council registers successful applicants as soon as practicable after they pass the examination. Nurses are then required to apply for an annual practising certificate. 

Unsuccessful applicants will have an opportunity to to discuss their application with the Council. An unsuccessful applicant may appeal the decision to the District Court.

For further enquiries please email  registration@nursingcouncil.org.nz

International nurse registration

For international applications, please see the  international registration section.

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