Registered nurse

To become a registered nurse, you must successfully complete a three-year Bachelor of Nursing degree (level 7 on the New Zealand Qualifications Authority Framework). A list of Council accredited Bachelor of Nursing programmes offered in New Zealand is available in the download section of this page (on the right).

For further details of the Bachelor of Nursing, please see the Schools Handbook . You will find the following sections particularly useful:

  • Section 3: Curriculum framework for the bachelor degree in nursing
  • Section 5: General policies for enrolled nurse and registered nurse
  • Section 6: Registration
  • Section 7: Examination
  • Appendix 4: Education programme standards for the registered nurse scope of practice
  • Appendix 8: Requirements for registration in the registered nurse scope of practice – information for students

The Nursing Council's Competencies for Registered Nurses describe the skills and activities of registered nurses.

See the right hand downloads box on this page for downloads and links.

Entering the workforce: Nurse Entry to Practice (NETP) programmes

The Nursing Council is involved in approving and monitoring the Nurse Entry to Practice (NETP) programmes under an agreement with Health Workforce New Zealand. These year-long programmes focus on supporting new graduates through their first year in the workforce as they make the transition from student nurse to competent registered nurse.

NETP programmes also include the opportunity to work in community-based health services, such as aged care, Primary Health Organisations and Māori health providers, during the first year of practice.

Many NETP programmes now include a postgraduate nursing course enabling new graduates to begin postgraduate study in a supportive environment.

NETP programmes are provided by District Health Boards and there are limited spaces available. NETP programmes are not mandatory for new graduates however they do provide a supportive process to enable the transition to the competent registered nurse.

Please note:While the Nursing Council has a role in approving and monitoring NETP programmes it does not have a role in the number of places available on NETP programmes or decisions about who is accepted onto a programme. These decisions are made by each District Health Board.


1.1. Nurses accepted onto the nurse entry to practice (NETP) programme hold a nursing degree from a New Zealand nursing programme approved by the Council.

1.2. Nurses accepted onto the programme holdNew Zealandregistration within the registered nurse scope of practice.

1.3. Nurses accepted onto the programme hold a current annual practising certificate (APC) with no restrictions on that APC that would negatively impact on their ability to participate in the programme.

1.4. Nurses accepted onto the programme are currently employed as registered nurses (RNs) at a minimum of 0.8 FTE within a district health board (DHB) or a publicly funded organisation that has an agreement with a DHB for the purposes of the programme.

1.5. Nurses accepted onto the programme have graduated within the past year and have not practised as an RN for longer than six months at the time they commence the programme. In exceptional circumstances, a provider may offer a place on the programme to a nurse who has graduated over one year and less than three years ago subject to her/his ability to demonstrate the ability to meet the Council's competencies for the registered nurse scope of practice.

For further information please refer to the NETP programme specifications