Scopes of practice

Under the HPCA Act, every nurse has a scope of practice. The scopes of practice and qualifications are listed below. The three scopes of practice are:

  • Enrolled Nurse
  • Registered Nurse
  • Nurse Practitioner.

Conditions placed in scope of practice

The Act allows the Council to include conditions in a nurse’s scope of practice describing the specific area of practice he or she may work in. These conditions may apply to nurse practitioners, registered nurses or enrolled nurses. The common class conditions applied to nurses registered under the Nurses Act 1977 are included in the table below.
The Council can also place other conditions in a nurse's scope of practice to ensure competence or safety of the public. Examples of these conditions include the requirement to complete professional development hours or to practice under supervision. All conditions are shown on a nurse's practising certificate. Not all conditions are displayed on the public register and employers can contact the Council for more information.

How nurses were transferred into the new scopes

The following table outlines how registration under the Nurses Act translated to the new scopes of practice.

Registration - (Under the Nurses Act 1977) Scope of Practice - (Effective: 18 Sept. 2004) Conditions
Registered Comprehensive Nurse Registered Nurse
Registered General & Obstetric Nurse Registered Nurse May practise only in general and obstetric nursing
Registered Psychiatric Nurse Registered Nurse May practise only in mental health nursing
Registered Psychopaedic Nurse Registered Nurse May practise only in settings which provide services for consumers with intellectual disabilities
Registered General Nurse Registered Nurse May practise only in general nursing
Registered Obstetric Nurse Registered Nurse May practise only within a maternity setting under the direction of a midwife or a medical practitioner
Nurse Practitioner Nurse Practitioner May practise (and prescribe) only within a specific designated area of practice


See each section for relevant downloads
Enrolled nurse
Registered nurse
Nurse practitioner  
Change of condition