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Nursing in New Zealand

Nursing is highly sought after in New Zealand because it offers a stable and rewarding profession. Nurses experience strong job satisfaction from the help they provide patients.

The fields of study in nursing are diverse with nurses helping patients through the more difficult times of their lives. Skills needed are compassion, good communication, as well as theoretical and medical practical knowledge. The benefit of studying nursing is that you can work in New Zealand and other parts of the world easily.

Every nurse in New Zealand has a scope of practice. The three scopes of practice are:

Enrolled Nurse

You must successfully complete the 18-month diploma of enrolled nursing (level 5 on the New Zealand Qualification Authority framework) to become an enrolled nurse in New Zealand.

Registered Nurse

You must successfully complete a three-year Bachelor of Nursing degree (level 7 on the New Zealand Qualifications Authority Framework) or a two-year graduate entry master's degree (level 8 on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework). to become a registered nurse in New Zealand.

Nurse Practitioner

You must have the following to become a registered nurse practitioner in New Zealand:

  • registration with the Nursing Council of New Zealand in the registered nurse scope of practice

  • four years minimum experience in a specific area of practice

  • successfully completed a clinically-focused master’s degree programme approved by the Nursing Council of New Zealand or equivalent qualification

  • passed a Nursing Council assessment of nurse practitioner competencies and criteria

Find out more about the nursing scopes of practice on the Nursing Council website

Working as a Nurse in New Zealand

To work as a nurse in New Zealand, you must be registered through The Nursing Council of New Zealand. But for registration, you need to have a recognised New Zealand or overseas qualification. You also need to meet the English requirement for nurses.

Recognised Overseas Nursing Qualifications in New Zealand

Applicants with current nursing registration in Australia can apply under the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Act.

If you're a qualified nurse from another country, your nursing qualification must be equivalent to a Bachelor of Nursing degree in New Zealand. Before you register, apply to The Credentials Verification Service for the Nursing Council of New Zealand (CVS-NCNZ) at CGFNS International, Inc.

This process is to verify who you are, ensure your education and work experience are accurate and fulfill the requirements of the NCNZ.

Once your report is ready, request CGFNS to send it to the Nursing Council. After a few days, you'll receive an email inviting you to complete the application process for registration.

Your application will be assessed by the Nursing Council against the seven registration standards. Once a decision is made about your registration, you'll be asked to make a declaration of fitness for registration and to complete a criminal history check.

You may be required to complete a Competence Assessment Programme (CAP) before you register.

Study Nursing in New Zealand

English Requirements

You will also need to show The Nursing Council of New Zealand that you meet the English language requirement.

Usually, you need to complete an English language test. The Nursing Council of New Zealand accepts the IELTS and some other tests. For IELTS, you must achieve a minimum score of 7 in each band of the IELTS Academic test.

Also, when you do IELTS for nursing, it is possible to use 2 different test sittings to meet the English requirement. But, these need to be done within 12 months of each other and must be less than three years old when your CGFNS report is submitted to Nursing Council.

Exemptions from English testing apply if your initial qualifications, schooling, or tertiary qualifications were done in certain English-speaking countries. These include:

  • United Kingdom

  • Ireland

  • Canada

  • United States of America

Nursing Courses in New Zealand

Registered Nurse (Aged Care) added to New Zealand’s Skill Shortage List

Registered Nurse (Aged Care) are in demand and expected to grow. As a result, the occupation appears on Immigration New Zealand's Long Term Skill Shortage List.

The demand for registered nurses is expected to grow because:

  • There are growing demands for aged care in New Zealand

  • According to the New Zealand Nurses Organisation, 50% of nurses will retire by 2035

  • There's an international shortage of nurses

Check if your nursing skills are needed in New Zealand

Why work in New Zealand as a nurse?

What is the job outlook for nurses in New Zealand?

In the last five years, the number of Registered Nurses has increased tremendously. And the New Zealand government expects it to increase even more. We're looking at 52,729 nurses in 2013 and up to 56,650 jobs in 2023! Chances of getting a job as a registered nurse are average for those wanting to enter the role, but good for those with experience.

How much do nurses make in New Zealand?

Graduate registered nurses in New Zealand earn roughly $54,000 a year. Senior registered nurses usually earn $79,000-$130,000 per year. So, the more experience you have, the more you earn.

Source: DHB/NZNO, 2019

What are the career opportunities as a registered nurse in New Zealand?

There are many areas for registered nurses to specialise in. For example, aged care, primary care, mental health and addiction, intensive care, and child and adolescent nursing. Alternatively, you can choose to develop careers in nursing practice, health management, research, and teaching. A career in this area of healthcare also allows you to work across New Zealand.

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