Accreditation is the formal recognition, by an institution, attesting to the required ability and performance of an individual in an area of practice.
A number of New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) Sections and Colleges (speciality practice groups) have voluntary professional credentialing systems.
These recognise that a nurse:
- Has attained a set of predetermined standards within the specialty area of practice
- Demonstrates continued maintenance and development of professional standards through a systematic and regular review process.
The accreditation process uses the section or college standards of practice and the Nursing Council's competencies for registration as the basis for establishing the criteria and requirements for accreditation.
The level at which accreditation is targeted is proficiency within the parameters described by Benner (1984). Some accreditation processes may recognise an expert level as well.
The accreditation process
Accreditation is run as a cost-neutral process and so application fees cover the costs of the assessment processes.
- Booklets stipulating the requirements are available for applicants.
- Nurses are required to submit written evidence demonstrating that the stipulated criteria have been met.
- An accreditation board of peers reviews the application and determines whether the criteria have been reached. Boards generally sit once or twice a year.
- A certificate of accreditation is provided to successful applicants. It is valid for a period of 5 years.
Specialties with accreditation in place
As of October 2010 the following credentialing processes were in place:
The Perioperative Nurses College were in the process of reviewing their Standards. Please contact the college for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Professional Development and Recognition Programme (PDRP) for Primary Health Care Nurses
The Professional Development and Recognition Programme (PDRP) for Primary Health Care Nurses has been approved by the Nursing Council of NZ for the purpose of competence based practicing certificates.
Those accredited through approved accreditation programmes will have been deemed to have met the requirements for an annual practising certificate and will not be required to provide further audit information to Council for this purpose.
Nurses are able to apply for recognition of practice at three levels – competent, proficient, and expert.
Current programmes under review
The NZNO Diabetes Accreditation Programme is currently being review. Prelimiary discussions have occurred at its 2011 AGM. The draft programme will be available for review Oct-Nov 2011.