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Applying with overseas registration

Competence assessment process

The Nursing Council will require some internationally qualified nurses to successfully complete a competence assessment. That includes the following:

1. The IQN theoretical examination

This is an online multi-choice examination that tests nursing knowledge, and it is taken at an accredited examination centre overseas or in New Zealand.

  • Candidates complete 120 questions within 180 minutes.
  • This examination is in two parts:
    • Part A: Medication Safety and
    • Part B: Nursing Knowledge
  • You can have three attempts to successfully complete Parts A and B of the examination. On your first attempt, you must complete both Parts A and B.
  • If you fail one part of the exam, you are only required to re-sit that part.

The examination can only be taken at Pearson VUE test centres which are available in many countries.

2. The clinical competence assessment process

This is a two-day orientation and preparation course followed on a separate day by a three-hour clinical examination known as an Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE).

The orientation and preparation course and the OSCE take place in person at a Nursing Council-approved simulation centre in Christchurch, New Zealand.

  • The OSCE assesses the candidate's applied nursing knowledge, communication, and safe clinical practice at the level of a New Zealand-registered nurse.
  • You must complete 10 OSCE scenarios (stations) in 120 minutes. Twelve minutes are allocated per station with two minutes for reading the instructions, eight minutes to complete each scenario and two minutes for movement between stations (2+8+2 minutes per station).
  • If you do not pass the OSCE, you can re-sit the exam two more times.

The orientation and preparation course and the OSCE are delivered by the Nurse Maude Simulation Centre in Christchurch. 

Read our FAQs here.

Find out about the registration and exam costs here.