Enrolled Nurse

Enrolled nurses practise under the direction and delegation of a registered nurse or nurse practitioner to deliver nursing care and health education across the life span to health consumers in community, residential or hospital settings.

Enrolled nurses contribute to nursing assessments, care planning, implementation and evaluation of care for health consumers and/or families/whanau. The registered nurse maintains overall responsibility for the plan of care.

Enrolled nurses assist health consumers with the activities of daily living, observe changes in health consumers’ conditions and report these to the registered nurse, administer medicines and undertake other nursing care responsibilities appropriate to their assessed competence.

In acute settings, enrolled nurses must work in a team with a registered nurse who is responsible for directing and delegating nursing interventions.

In some settings, enrolled nurses may coordinate a team of health care assistants under the direction and delegation of a registered nurse.

In some settings, enrolled nurses may work under the direction and delegation of a registered health practitioner.* In these situations, the enrolled nurse must have registered nurse supervision and must not assume overall responsibility for nursing assessment or care planning.

Enrolled nurses are accountable for their nursing actions and practise competently in accordance with legislation, to their level of knowledge and experience. They work in partnership with health consumers, families/whanau and multidisciplinary teams.

The Nursing Council's  Competencies for Enrolled Nurses describe the skills, knowledge and activities of enrolled nurses.

For more information, see the documents in the right hand downloads column on this page.

*A health practitioner is a person who is registered under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 – for example, a midwife, medical practitioner, or occupational therapist. 


Enrolled nurses graduating in New Zealand

Enrolled nurses who qualify in New Zealand must:
1. successfully complete an 18-month programme in enrolled nursing at level 5 on the National Qualifications Framework and accredited by the Nursing Council; and

2. pass an assessment by an approved provider of the Nursing Council's competencies for enrolled nurses; and

3. pass an examination for enrolled nurses.

Nurses from outside New Zealand

To practise in New Zealand, nurses from outside New Zealand must:

1. be registered with an overseas regulatory authority; and
2. have an international qualification that is equivalent to a qualification prescribed by the Nursing Council of New Zealand.

Overseas applicants may also be required to:

  • pass an assessment of the Nursing Council competencies for enrolled nurses by an approved provider; and/or
  • successfully complete a programme approved by the Nursing Council for the purpose of assessing competencies for enrolled nurses.
  • Enrolled nurse restricted scope of practice

    The scope of practice for enrolled nurses and nurse assistants changed on 31 May 2010.The broader scope of practice was introduced to allow enrolled nurses to make a broader contribution to health service and give greater support to registered nurses.
    Enrolled nurses (except New Zealand-educated nurses previously titled nurse assistants) who have not completed a transition have had the following condition included in their scope of practice: "may only work with health consumers with stable and predictable health predictable health outcomes".

    For continuing competence purposes, an enrolled nurse with this condition should be assessed against the competencies for nurse in the enrolled nurse scope of practice but will not be expected to meet the seven 'new' EN competencies (2.2, 2.3, 2.6, 3.2, 4.2, and 4.3).

    Transition to broader enrolled nurse scope of practice

    This condition can be removed at any time subject to a satisfactory competence assessment for enrolled nurse by a Council-approved assessor against all 18 competencies.

    Enrolled nurses who were previously New Zealand-educated nurse assistants

    Enrolled nurses who were previously New Zealand-educated nurse assistants have a condition on their scope of practice specifying their area of practice.

  • Must practise only in surgical/medical
  • Must practise only in perioperative care
  • Must practise only in long term care and rehabilitation.

  • For continuing competence purposes these enrolled nurses will not be expected to meet the 7 ;new' EN competencies (2.2, 2.3, 2.6, 3.2, 3.3, 4.2, 4.3).
    Enrolled nurses with these conditions should practise to reflect their scope condition.
    Enrolled nurses who were previously New Zealand-educated nurse assistants are required to complete an education programme at a School of Nursing.
    For more information contact the eduction@nursingcouncil.org.nz.