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New Zealand Nursing Council Implements Internationally Qualified Nurses Competence Assessment Changes

New Zealand Nursing Council Implements Internationally Qualified Nurses Competence Assessment Changes

Are you an aspiring nurse, a healthcare professional, or someone looking to switch careers to nursing? If you’re eyeing New Zealand as your destination to practice Nursing in New Zealand, you must know about the NEW Competence Assessment Process for nurse registration. The Nursing Council NZ has made changes to the competence assessment for Internationally Qualified Nurses (IQN).

The NCNZ has introduced a new process for those IQNs who require a test of competence before being registered. IQNs applying now to the Council will, at the direction of the Council, undertake the following tests of competence:

  • Online IQN Theoretical Examination
  • Clinical Competence Assessment, which includes a two-day Orientation and Preparation course followed by an Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE).

IQN Theoretical Examination

The IQN theoretical examination is an online multiple-choice test that evaluates nursing knowledge. It can be taken at an accredited examination center either overseas or within New Zealand.

Candidates appearing in this exam are required to answer 120 questions in 180 minutes. The exam consists of two parts:

  • Part A focuses on Medication Safety, and
  • Part B covers Nursing Knowledge.

Candidates have up to three attempts to pass both parts of the examination. If a candidate fails one part, they only need to re-take that specific section. The examination is administered exclusively at Pearson VUE test centers available in various countries.

Clinical Competence Assessment Process

The clinical competence assessment process involves a two-day orientation and preparation program, followed by a three-hour clinical examination called an Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE). This assessment occurs in person at a Nursing Council-approved simulation and assessment center located in Christchurch, New Zealand.

The OSCE evaluates the candidate’s practical nursing knowledge, communication skills, and safe clinical practices equivalent to those of a registered nurse in New Zealand. Candidates must complete 10 OSCE scenarios within 120 minutes, with each scenario requiring 12 minutes, including two minutes for instructions, eight minutes for the scenario, and two minutes for transitioning between stations. If a candidate does not pass the OSCE, they have two additional opportunities to retake the exam. Both the orientation program and the OSCE are conducted by the Nurse Maude Simulation & Assessment Centre in Christchurch.

IQNs can only apply to the Nursing Council once their documents are verified by an external agency, CGFNS.


Navigating the new Nurse Registration Process in New Zealand may seem daunting, but it can be a smooth and rewarding experience with the right preparation and resources. Contact Immigration Advisors New Zealand Ltd for more detailed information and personalized advice; consider booking a call with one of our experts. We are here to support you every step of the way. Contact us at contact@nzimmigration.info  or call +64 09 3790219 to learn all there is to know about the procedures involved.

If you are looking for a Nursing Visa in NZ, you can contact Immigration Advisers NZ Ltd.

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