Reports and Papers: Nursing education documentation

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation realises that the nursing education sector is in a constant state of change. It is vital that our members can be kept up-to-date with what is happening.

We will use this page to post relevant information that informs and/or affects education across the health sector.

Your suggestions and feedback are welcome. It is our intention to continue to work towards improving health outcomes and reducing disparities in New Zealand. NZNO recognises education as being a vital factor to competent health care.

On this page:

Information that informs competent nursing practice 2018

As health professionals we need to understand what being competent really means and how it is measured. Communication is a key component. 

This diagram provides links to the essential information of competent nursing practice including official documents and policies that support safe nursing practice.

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NZNO-hosted education forums 2011

In 2011 NZNO arranged two forums to explore issues associated with the future of nursing education in Aotearoa New Zealand. 

The first (11th February) focused on the preparation of the registered nurse (RN); the second (8 April) on post registration education of both RNs and enrolled nurses (EN). 

Each day focused on what we think we will need to deliver educationally to achieve effective nursing practice in a decade, and what stepped and robust transitions we will need to make to ensure we can be ready to effectively deliver it.

A number of key strategic issues were examined.  The summary reports are below:

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Clarifying Nursing Education Funding Issues

August 2010

NZNO put forward an abridged version of this document earlier this year so that nurses, and others, could gain insight into the nursing education funding over the past two decades.

This more detailed edition explores the nursing education context further. The aim is to gain perspective on the many decisions that have, or have not, been taken that affect the outcomes for nursing education and, ultimately, patient care.

The accurate assessment of the health needs of our people, and the communities they live in, is central to the success of the health care that patients require. Those needed assessments call for analytical skills to improve the systems and structures which currently stand in the way of bringing to life our innovative plans and synergies to improve health outcomes.

Our professional aim here is to integrate confident and collaborative nursing contributions as significant players within the health care teams through appropriately determined and resourced nursing education. We owe it to our patients, and we owe it to ourselves, to get it right.

We trust this document will add to the ongoing discussions by shedding more light on our forward path. As well, the suggested principled model for nursing education is designed to provide a framework that makes a difference to that process.

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Postgraduate Courses in Clinical Education

NZNO believes that nursing education opportunities should be made available to nurses in order to improve health outcomes. NZNO does not specifically endorse one programme over another but is satisfied in being an information source for nurses to access the details they need to best determine how their learning needs might be met.

Full contact details may be sourced from the Nurse Educators in the Tertiary Sector (NETS) site at

Centre for Medical and Health Sciences Education, University of Auckland:

Courses are designed to enable health professionals in full time work to gain a qualification, specific to clinical teaching. Current students completing programmes (from Certificate, through to Diploma and Masters) come from across Australasia and across the health professions.

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Education Survey Report: Implications for practice

20 November 2008

Professional development is an ongoing requirement of nurses as a result of the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act (HPCAA). The Act’s principal purpose is to protect the health and safety of the public by ensuring health practitioners are fit and competent to practise.

The HPCAA’s legislative mandate for assuring nurses are fit and competent to practise, belongs to the regulatory authority, the Nursing Council of New Zealand (NCNZ). Competence requirements are met through practice hours, professional development hours, and meeting the Council’s competencies for the nurse’s scope of practice, as relevant to the nurse’s area/context of practice. Therefore, in meeting these NCNZ requirements, nurses can choose from a range of professional development opportunities (see that are relevant for their safe and ongoing competent practice.

The Nursing Council supports the Professional Development Recognition Programmes (PDRP), available through district health boards to ensure individual nurses’ competence. The Council has developed standards for programme approval to ensure the relevant competencies are met.

NZNO is very interested in this process of setting competence standards, meeting the competencies, and the many options that are open (but not necessarily accessible) to nurses in maintaining relevant professional development.

Patient safety is the baseline for competent practice. The process of meeting competence requirements embraces actual practice hours, learning and refreshing one’s knowledge and skills. Having the time and resources to achieve these ends is vital to this process.

This survey was designed to explore the avenues nurses have taken, and would prefer to take, for their professional development. It is important that the issues nurses face in trying to meet their professional development requirements are understood.

NZNO is keen to secure ‘competent systems’ that assess and maintain nurses’ competence, too. The drive for safe staffing across and in concert with the 21 district health boards embraces seven elements. One of these seven elements recognises the need for a skilled and knowledgeable workforce.

All NZNO members must have support to acquire and use the knowledge and skills they need to do their jobs safely and well. This requires dedicated time and resources for study and encouragement from management to acquire skills and knowledge. Competencies and qualifications must be established for all health workers to extend and improve their skills and patient care.

Patient safety goes hand-in-hand with competent nursing practice. NZNO hopes this survey report will contribute to the ongoing discussions and planning for nurses’ professional development.

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Collating for Collaboration: Background information for improving nursing education outcomes

22 August 2008

NZNO is committed to supporting and improving Nursing Education in New Zealand. It is well understood that the nursing education environment is complex and varied, and is affected by both the education and health systems.

NZNO has taken the initiative in pulling together a document that backgrounds the funding systems that underwrite the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) processes. The two primary objectives that have guided this collation are:

  • To stimulate awareness and discussion of the issues around funding nursing education in New Zealand.
  • To promote understanding of the complex funding structures currently in place in New Zealand by students, nurses, nurse educators and nurse managers.

It has been a challenging exercise to read the many Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) documents and collate them. In recognising the changing education environment, NZNO has taken the decision to post the document on this website so that it can be updated as required. Some ‘hard copies’ of this document will be placed in the NZNO library for wider access, as needed.

The next step is to write about the mechanisms of the Ministry of Health’s Clinical Training Agency (CTA) as an intrinsic part of nursing education funding. Once completed, the two documents should provide a more accessible and comprehensive overview of the government funding structures from nursing’s perspective. This will then meet the third objective of this project:

  • To examine nurse education funding frameworks from the Ministries of Education and Health in order to provide an overview

NZNO recognises the urgent need for this structural information to be disseminated as significant changes are taking place in both the education and health systems. It is NZNO’s hope that the nursing sector responds in a proactively collaborative way so that more progress can be made in shaping the future of the profession based on individual and population health need. NZNO will support this process to this end.

NZNO hopes that this collation focusing on the TEC will support negotiations around the funding processes which have a significant impact on the education of nurses within the tertiary system. Of course, the wider spin-off of securing better nursing education structures comes with the improvement of health outcomes and the reduction of disparities for all New Zealanders.

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