Concerns about a nurse

The Council’s role is to protect the health and safety of members of the public by ensuring that nurses are competent and fit to practise. The Council carries out this role by considering the competence (performance), health or conduct of a nurse and deciding whether the nurse should have to comply with certain conditions in order to practise. In serious cases where there is a public safety risk, the nurse may be suspended from practice. 

For more information, see the documents in the Downloads box on this page, or contact us.

If you want to discuss your concerns further before deciding about completing a Concerns about a Nurse Form, please call us on (04) 385-9589.

Competence

Nurses are required to meet all competencies for their scope of practice.

If you have reason to believe that a nurse may pose a risk of harm to the public by practising below the required standard of competence, you may be required to notify the Council.

If you are an employer, you must promptly notify the Nursing Council if a nurse resigns or is dismissed from their employment for reasons relating to competence.

If you are a health practitioner and you believe that a nurse may pose a risk of harm to the public by practising below the required standard of competence, you may notify the Council of your concerns.

A notification must be in writing to the Registrar and include the reasons why you believe that the nurse poses a risk of harm to the public. You will find the Concerns about a Nurse Form in the Downloads box on this page.

For more information on Competence.

Health

It is important that you notify Nursing Council if you have reason to believe that a nurse is unable to practise safely due to a health condition. A health condition can be a mental or physical impairment and may include a condition or impairment caused by alcohol or substance use disorders.


You must notify the Nursing Council if you have reason to believe that a nurse is unable to perform the functions of a nurse, due to a health condition, and you are:

  • someone in charge of an organisation that provides health services
  • a health practitioner
  • an employer of health practitioners
  • a medical officer of health.

Every nurse is asked to declare whether they have a health condition when applying for an annual practising certificate (APC). If you are a nurse with a health condition and believe that this may affect your ability to practise, you must inform the Nursing Council. You do not have to declare health conditions that are temporary or do not affect your ability to practise.

You must also notify the Council if you are in charge of a nursing educational programme in New Zealand and you have reason to believe that a student would be unable to perform the functions of a nurse due to a health condition.

Any other person, with reason to believe that a nurse is unable to perform the functions of a nurse due to health issues, may notify the Nursing Council of their concerns.

All notifications must be in writing. You will find the Health Notification Form on this page.

If you are contemplating notifying the Council, you may seek medical advice to assist you in forming an opinion. You must inform the Council of any medical advice obtained.

Please note that although the Council's primary responsibility is public safety, it recognises that a nurse may have or develop a health condition for which they may need some support to practise safely.

For further information on the Health process please see the information booklet The Health Process in the Downloads on this page.

For more information on Health.

Conduct

Health and Disability Commissioner

If you are a health consumer (patient) and wish to make a complaint about a nurse you may prefer to contact the Health and Disability Commissioner. The Commissioner may decide to investigate the complaint or may refer the complaint to the Council to investigate.

If you choose to complain directly to the Council, please use the Concerns about a Nurse Form in the Downloads on this page.

If you want to discuss your concerns further before deciding about completing a Concern about a Nurse Form, please call our Fitness to Practise Manager on 04 802 0255.

For more information on the Complaints Process, Court Convictions, Practising without a Practising Certificate, Practising outside scope of practice,  Breaching conditions, and the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal .