Do I need to have a degree to do postgraduate study?
Not necessarily. At one time is was required to have an undergraduate degree or to bridge to one before you embarked on Masters level (NZQA level 8) papers/courses. Now it is possible to gain entry with a commitment to succeed, evidence of other previous study and other clinically related requirements - check the regulations at your tertiary institute of choice.
What are the Postgraduate qualifications available in New Zealand?
The next degree after a Bachelors degree is usually a Masters, however in some places a one-year honours programme is possible. The honours year is usually a fulltime academic year and incorporates a research project. Graduates who complete honours with satisfactory grades gain entry into a PhD. The majority of nurses wanting to undertake further study enter a Masters degree after the undergraduate degree or equivalent, which is usually composed of 8 papers (credits are also a term given to the number of points per paper/course). Postgraduate certificates are usually the equivalent of two masters papers and Postgraduate Diplomas four papers towards a Masters. You can usually change from one institution to another to complete a Masters qualification but take care about these decisions as you usually need to complete at least half the qualification in one place to graduate. The degree following a Masters is the Doctorate degree (PhD) usually accessed after an Honours or Masters degree. In New Zealand Doctorates are obtained by completing a research project however taught PhD degrees (by paper completion) are offered overseas.
How long does it take to complete a Postgraduate degree?
A Masters degree can be completed full time in two years but most nurses study part time and take four years or more - NB You need to check the regulations of the Institution you enrol in to make sure you meet their requirements.
How much does Postgraduate Study cost?
This varies from programme to programme. You may be able to access Health Workforce New Zealand (HWNZ) funding to support your study. This funding is administered by your regional DHB in accordance with the postgraduate funding specifications. Contact your Director of Nursing or the delegated postgraduate funding co-ordinator for details on how to apply. There are also scholarships through the NZNO (for members) or some assistance through your workplace. You maybe eligible for student loans that you can pay back slowly while you continue to work and study.
What skills do I need to succeed in Postgraduate study?
Commitment to success and a considerable amount of regular (weekly) concentrated time, motivation, computer skills, information literacy and writing skills are all required.
All postgraduate study will require you to write and think academically in a manner that includes critically thinking about articles you have accessed, read, understood and can discuss in a logical written form, including using references (correctly formatted) in the writing. This is an art you can learn, as all nurses involved in study have done. Institutions are required to have student support systems to help you get started. You will also need to use a computer so if you have not mastered that skill you can enrol in a free course through a local institution that offers them.
What papers do I have to do complete to become a Nurse Practitioner?
Completion of a Masters degree or equivalent is a requirement for nurses who wish to gain Nurse Practitioner status. You will need to ask the relevant organisation what is required to meet your needs and the competencies for Nurse Practitioner™ Refer to NPAC-NZ for more detailed information.