Register as a nurse

The Council is responsible under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 for the registration of nurses in New Zealand. Under the Act the Council must be satisfied that each candidate for registration as a nurse:

  • is fit for registration
  • has the qualifications prescribed for the scope of practice in which they wish to register
  • is competent to practise within that scope of practice.

Applicants who have successfully completed an approved programme of study in New Zealand can apply for registration as a nurse in the scope of practice for which their qualification is prescribed. For enrolled nurse and registered nurse applicants this will involve passing the state final examination. Please see the documents in the downloads box on this page.

Fitness for registration

An applicant must satisfy the Council that they:

  • are able to communicate effectively in order to practise nursing
  • are able to comprehend and communicate in English sufficiently well to protect the health and safety of the public
  • do not have a physical or mental condition that means they are unable to practise
  • do not have a court conviction that may reflect adversely on their fitness to practise
  • are not the subject of any investigation, disciplinary proceedings or disciplinary order, in New Zealand or any other country, that reflects adversely on their fitness to practise
  • knows of no reason why their registration would endanger public health or safety.







Qualifications

New Zealand graduates

New Zealand nursing graduates must have:

a. a bachelor’s degree in nursing approved by the Nursing Council of New Zealand or

b. a graduate nursing qualification at Level 7 on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework approved by the Nursing Council of New Zealand or

c. a postgraduate nursing qualification at Level 8 on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework approved by the Nursing Council of New Zealand and

d. a pass in an assessment of Nursing Council Competencies for Registered Nurses by an approved provider and

e. a pass in an Examination for Registered Nurses set by the Nursing Council of New Zealand.

Registered nurses from overseas

Registered nurses from outside New Zealand must have:

a. a current registration with an overseas regulatory authority and

b. successfully completed a nursing programme that is, in the Nursing Council’s opinion, equivalent to or as satisfactory as a bachelor’s degree programme in nursing at Level 7 on the New Zealand Qualifications

Framework or

c. successfully completed a graduate pre-registration nursing programme that is, in the Nursing Council’s opinion, equivalent to or as satisfactory as an approved New Zealand graduate nursing programme at Level 7

on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework that leads to registration in the registered nurse scope of practice or

d. successfully completed a postgraduate pre-registration nursing programme that is, in the Nursing Council’s opinion, equivalent to or as satisfactory as an approved New Zealand postgraduate nursing programme at

Level 8 on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework that leads to registration in the registered nurse scope of practice and

e. two years’ post-registration nursing practice as a registered nurse with at least 2,500 hours within the five years immediately preceding the date of the application and

f. at the direction of the Nursing Council, successfully completed a Nursing Council approved competence assessment programme.

New Zealand nurse registration

Applicants who have successfully completed an approved programme of study in New Zealand can apply for registration as a nurse in the scope of practice for which their qualification is prescribed. For enrolled nurse and registered nurse applicants this will involve passing the state final examination.

Each applicant is asked to provide evidence of support for registration from the head of the school of nursing at the institution at which they studied.

Each applicant must provide two referees from persons of good standing in the community where they live. These people must have been known to the applicant during the period of their nursing education and must not be a relative, flatmate, fellow student or nursing educator from the applicant's educational institution.

Each applicant must also sign a declaration that they:

  • are able to communicate effectively in order to practise nursing
  • are able to comprehend and communicate in English well enough to protect the health and safety of the public
  • do not have a physical or mental condition that means they are unable to practise
  • are not the subject of any investigation, disciplinary proceedings or disciplinary order, in New Zealand or in any other country, that reflects adversely on their fitness to practise.
  • knows of no reason why their registration would endanger public health or safety.

The Council considers each application for registration on an individual basis, and may require further information to support the application. If an applicant has a court conviction or other issues impacting on fitness to practise, they may be asked to provide additional information and/or meet with a committee of the Council. The Nursing Council registers successful applicants as soon as practicable after they pass the examination. Nurses are then required to apply for an annual practising certificate.

Unsuccessful applicants will have an opportunity to to discuss their application with the Council. An unsuccessful applicant may appeal the decision to the District Court.

For further enquiries please email nznurse@nursingcouncil.org.nz.

International nurse registration

For international applications, please see the international registration section.