Recertification audits

Five percent of nurses are randomly selected to compete recertification audit yearly under section 41 of the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 to ensure nurses meet the continuing competence requirements

If you feel you are unable to complete an audit, please email audit@nursingcouncil.org.nz and briefly outline your circumstances and we will work with you to find a solution.

Evidence required

1. Practise hours

Declaration on your APC application: 450 practice hours (or 60 days) in the last three years.

Provide a signed letter from your employer or manager stating your actual practice hours worked in the last year (or three years).

For a definition of practising, see about Annual Practising Certificates.

2. Competence Assessments

Declaration on your APC application: you meet the Council's competencies for your scope of practice.

You must supply two competence assessments:

a. Verified self-assessment

  • Provide an example from your everyday practice to demonstrate how you meet each of the Council's competencies.
  • You must have your assessment signed and dated by a registered nurse with a current practising certificate. You will be asked to provide your registration number and declare that you have completed your assessment and you meet the competencies.

b. Senior nurse assessment/peer assessment

  • You or a peer will be asked to provide your example about how you believe you have met each of the Council's competencies.
  • The assessment must be signed and dated and have the assessor's registration number.

For examples of practice for some of the competencies please see the example on the downloads on this page. You can also refer to the Guidelines for Competence Assessment.     

3. Professional development hours

Declare on your APC application: 60 hours of professional development in the last three years.

  • Please provide a verified summary of professional development courses and hours you have completed in the last three years: the date of the activity, activity name and hours.
  • A signature or endorsement from your employer, manager or nurse educator.
  • The name, status/role and contact details of the employer, manager or nurse educator.

Statement of Learning
You are required to supply statements of learning and how the activity affirmed or influenced your practice.
This could either be:

  • a short statement for each course or activity or
  • a more detailed statement for the three key courses or activities.
You can log onto MyNC and record your professional development activity on the Continuing Competence tab or you can use the template provided below. Professional Development Activities Template (Word, 37 KB)

For more information on professional development, see Continuing Competence requirement.

Guidelines for submitting your evidence

You may use the assessment forms in the downloads on this page. You may use other forms if they include the Council's competencies and will meet the recertification audit requirement outlined above. 
Your evidence must be no more than three years old. Please do not send your complete portfolio to Council, only the relevant documents, usually no more than 20 pages. The documents  you send to the Council will be destroyed at the end of the audit process.

Sending your evidence:

  • Send via MyNC:
    • go to the 'Continuing Competence'scroll down to 'Audit History' then press on the blue 'Upload Audit Documents' button and attach each of your documents.
    • (Please note you will  need to press the 'attach' button after you have uploaded each document.)press the green 'Submit your audit documents' button.
    • You will get a confirmation email within three working days that your recertification audit evidence has been received.

Timeframe of audit process

You will be emailed informing you of your selection for recertification audit at least three months (12 weeks) before your annual practising certificate expires. You will have, approximately, six weeks to supply your evidence. 

The Council will then take, approximately, six weeks to assess your evidence. Your evidence is sent to an auditor (a nurse trained and skilled at assessment) who determines whether your evidence meets the audit requirements. We may request further information and you will be given, approximately, a month to supply this. If you have concerns about these timeframes, please contact audit@nursingcouncil.org.nz

Nurses in expanded practice

Nurses often take responsibility for health care activities or roles that could be considered an expanded practice role. Before undertaking an expanded practice role the nurse may complete further education practice with clinical supervision or complete an assessment. Expanded practice may include areas of practice that are new to the nursing realm or previously the responsibility of other health professionals.

The skills and knowledge required by nurses working in expanded practice roles have been documented as a set of competencies. These competencies are additional to the competencies within the registered nurse scope of practice. A nurse working in an expanded practice role must meet both sets of competencies.

For a recertification audit, nurses in expanded practice must supply additional evidence that they meet the three additional competencies. This could include evidence of a credentialing process, or documents that demonstrate the competencies (for example, education or clinical training, competence assessment, clinical audit activities, etc.).

See 'Expanded practice for registered nurses' on the Registered nurse page.

Nurses in management, education, policy and research

Registered nurses who are not practising in direct client care are exempt from the competencies that apply to clinical practice in Domain 2 (management of nursing care) and Domain 3 (interpersonal relationships). The assessments should still include competencies within Domain 1 and Domain 4.

There are specific competencies in Domain 2 and Domain 3 for nurses who practice in management, education, policy and/or research. Nurses who are assessed against these specific competencies are required to demonstrate how these competencies contribute to their practice.

Registered nurses who practise in direct client care as well as management, education, policy and/or research must meet both sets of competencies.

Please note in the downloads on this page that there are competence assessment forms for each of these areas.

 Frequently asked questions

Q: Why have I been selected for audit?

A: You are one of 5% of nurses randomly selected to complete a recertification audit to ensure you comply with the Nursing Council’s requirements for continuing competence.

It is the professional responsibility of all practising nurses to maintain their competence to practise. The role of the Nursing Council is to protect the health and safety of the public by setting standards and ensuring that nurses are competent to practise under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003.

Every time you apply for an annual practising certificate you are asked to declare whether you meet the continuing competence requirements. Please note that your application for a practising certificate could be declined if you supply false or misleading information. The recertification audit is a process the Council uses to ensure nurses are complying with these requirements.

Q: Can I be exempted from the audit?

A: You may be exempted from the audit if you:

  • have had a portfolio successfully assessed by an approved Professional Development and Recognition Programme (PDRP) or
  • have become registered in the past 12 months (for example, new graduates, nurse practitioners and nurses from overseas) or
  • have completed an approved competence assessment programme in the last 12 months or
  • are undergoing health, professional conduct or competence investigations or
  • have been investigated for a competence concern in the past 12 months or
  • have been audited in the last three years or
  • transitioned to the new Enrolled Nurse Scope of Practice within the last 3 years or
  • have  a practising certificate with conditions because you previously did not meet the continuing competence requirements or
  • have resigned from employment in the last 12 months and had a portfolio successfully assessed on a PDRP programme within two years of resignation.

Q: Can I get an extension of time to complete the audit?

A: You can request an extension by emailing audit@nursingcouncil.org.nz and briefly outlining your circumstances.

Q: Do I have to comply with the Council’s request?

A: Yes. Under section 41 of the Act the Council has set a recertification audit for nurses.

If you do not provide the evidence required and apply for a practising certificate, you may have conditions placed on your scope of practice or in rare cases we may suspend you from practice under section 43 of the Act.

Q: What if I cannot supply the information required, or I am unable to meet the continuing competence requirements?

A: If you are having difficulties providing any audit information, please briefly outline your circumstances in an email to audit@nursingcouncil.org.nz.

If you can only supply part of the evidence required, please email the evidence you do have with a brief explanation for why you have not been able to supply the outstanding evidence.

If the evidence you supply is not correct or evidence is missing, we will email you and give you the opportunity to supply further information. You are given a month to supply this.

If you are not able to supply audit evidence, or the audit due date has passed with no audit evidence received, you may have condition placed in your scope of practice to complete the audit.

If any of this is unclear, please email Council staff at audit@nursingcouncil.org.nz.

Q: What if I am on leave or have had a period of leave during the previous three years?

A: Please note that you do not require a practising certificate if you are not currently practising.

If you are on leave and are wanting to apply for a practising certificate, you are required to complete the audit and all evidence is required. You may wish to request an extension or email the evidence you have and include your circumstances.

Q: What if I am practising overseas?

A: If you are practising overseas, you may choose not to apply for a practising certificate. However, when you apply for a New Zealand practising certificate you will be required to complete the audit and a suitable timeframe will be arranged.

Overseas evidence is accepted. It must be verified by an overseas nurse, whose address and phone number must be supplied. Your competence assessment will need to be assessed against the Nursing Council of New Zealand's competencies.

Please note that if you are practising overseas and you apply for a New Zealand practising certificate you may also be required to organise a letter of good standing from the overseas regulatory body. For more information see Returning to practice.

Q: What if I intend to retire or stop practising?

A: Please email audit@nursingcouncil.org.nz to tell the Council that you are retiring or will not be practising. You will not be required to complete the audit requirements until you return to practise and apply for a practising certificate.

Q: What if I don’t agree with the Council’s decision?

A: You may email audit@nursingcouncil.org.nz to apply for further consideration of the information. You will be offered the opportunity to make a written and/or oral submission to the Council.

Q: What are the requirements for enrolled nurses?

A: Enrolled nurses have the same requirements as registered nurses to demonstrate continuing competence.

Q: What can be included in my professional development hours?

A: You are responsible for seeking opportunities relevant to your nursing practice. These activities may be within the work environment or within an educational context.

Your professional development may be taken as whole days or as hours and can include a variety of learning activities such as degree courses, short courses, seminars, conferences, in-service education, or online learning and internet-based courses.

The level of your professional development should be appropriate to your scope of practice and work context.
Your 60 hours should not just the mandatory or core training required by your employer.

Journal reading may be considered a professional development activity if it takes place in a formal setting, ie. as a journal club, a presentation to colleagues or to inform an educational or quality improvement process.

Meetings may be considered a professional development activity if they have an educational focus and include appropriate documentation (for example, minutes that clearly identify the education topic).

You are also required to reflect on your professional development and supply a statement of learning.

Professional Development Activities Template (Word, 37 KB)

Q: How do I complete a competence assessment?

A: A competence assessment should have an example from your everyday practice to demonstrate how you meet each of the Council's competencies. Please refer to the Guidelines for Competence Assessment.

Guidelines for Competence Assessment August 2019

Q: How can I complete the audit if I do not work with another nurse?

A: The nurse completing your competence assessment for you does not need to be in direct practice with you. A nurse could do an interview with you and/or get feedback from others you may work with.

Please note that more than one nurse can complete your competence assessment. It does need to be clear what nurse is completing what competency.

The Council's guidelines for competence assessment give further information for nurses working in isolation.