The Nursing Council's primary mission is to protect public safety. To support this function, the Council, under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003, is responsible for prescribing nursing qualifications and setting education standards for nursing programmes and the institutions that provide these programmes.

The three scopes of practice that the Council sets education standards for are:

  • enrolled nurse
  • registered nurse
  • mātanga tapuhi nurse practitioner.

Source: North Tec

The Council also sets standards for Competence Assessment Programmes (for New Zealand registered nurses returning to practice and internationally qualified nurses).

Along with setting education standards, the Council has an important role in accrediting and monitoring nursing programmes and institutions to ensure that standards are maintained.

The Council ensures nursing education programmes are aware of the legislative requirements for registration in a scope of practice and current Council policies to protect public safety. The Council also provides information and guidance on a range of issues related to nursing education.

The Council also works closely with external quality assurance agencies such as the Committee on University Academic Programmes, (CUAP) and New Zealand Qualifications (NZQA).

To help maintain and monitor the quality of nursing education programmes, the Council, in a reciprocal arrangement with these agencies, shares information it has obtained through its accreditation and/or monitoring processes.