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Undergraduate students

What qualification will I gain?

A Nursing Council of New Zealand approved Bachelor's degree - either a Bachelor of Nursing (BN) or a Bachelor of Health Science (BSc) depending on the institutional name of the qualification. Following completion of the programme, you will be eligible for registration in New Zealand as a Registered Nurse (RN) which enables you to work in any area of nursing in New Zealand. If you want to become a midwife you will need to enrol directly into a Midwifery degree programme which will enable you to graduate as a practicing midwife at the end of your studies. Alternatively, you could complete a nursing programme prior to entering a midwifery programme, or vice versa. Also refer to the New Zealand College of Midwives.

What are the entry criteria?

Entry criteria will depend on the institution you apply to and will be the similar to entry into any degree programme. There are clear criteria for domestic and international students listsed on each website. You will also be required to give information about your health and any convictions you may have as part of your entry application.

How long is the programme?

Programmes are usually three years, or 3600 hours (1200 per year) however if you have already completed relevant study at a similar educational level you may apply for Recognition of Prior learning (RPL). All institutions have an RPL policy.

What guidelines do schools of nursing have to follow?

Schools of Nursing must meet approval and accreditation requirements of the following organisations:

Why do Bachelor Of Nursing programmes vary?

The curriculum must be based on national health priorities and contemporary health care and practice trends - there may also be some regional variance based on local population needs. The focus of all curricula will be on the profession of nursing, contemporary nursing practice and the Council’s Competencies for the registered nurse scope of practice (December 2007). All undergraduate programmes preparing Registered Nurses must meet the following Standards set by the Nursing Council of New Zealand.

  1. The educational institution and the programme comply with legislated requirements and the Council’s policies and guidelines
  2. The programme has a structured curriculum that enables students to achieve the programme outcomes and the Council’s Competencies for the registered nurse scope of practice (December 2007)
  3. The programme is implemented by staff who are qualified and well prepared for their role
  4. Facilities and resources are available to support the achievement of the expected outcomes of the programme
  5. The environment supports the teaching/learning process
  6. Student performance is assessed against learning outcomes relevant to nursing, and the programme outcomes and assessment processes meet the Council’s policies
  7. The candidate for registration complies with legislated requirements and the Council’s policies and guidelines.

The programme must also specifically require students to demonstrate, in practice at a graduate level, the following:

  • pharmacology knowledge and medicine management
  • comprehensive health consumer assessment skills and clinical decision making skills
  • therapeutic communication with health consumers
  • working within a health care team; providing direction and delegation in practice
  • the use of information technology and health information management.

How does student practicum in Nursing Degree programmes vary?

Institutions vary in their choice of clinical teaching / learning models. Influencing factors include the philosophy of the programme, student / teacher ratios in the institution, and the needs of the specific situation.

Clinical teaching / learning models may include for example:

  • Dedicated Education Units
  • A small group of students learning under direct supervision of teaching staff.
  • Students assigned to learn alongside a registered nurse/health professional (buddy, clinical preceptor) with support/contact from teaching staff to integrate curriculum.
  • Students working with a family or group with distance support via phone, pager and visits from their lecturer.

How much classroom and practical is there in the programme?

Nursing Council regulations require that a minimum of 1100 hours of clinical experience is provided for students in a range of settings with health consumers across the life span.

How will I learn nursing skills?

By being taught in simulated nursing laboratory situations then working in clinical areas with support from lecturers and nursing staff.

How can I transfer from one programme to another?

If you are considering transferring between programmes discuss requirements with your current Head of School in the first instance. Programme differences sometimes impact on students wishing to transfer between programmes. For example:

  • In some programmes, Community health nursing papers/courses may be in year two, in other programmes they are in year three.
  • In some areas of hospitals clinicians will not accept year two students to practice for safety reasons.

In practice, each application for a transfer is assessed individually by the institution to which the student wishes to transfer, and recognition of prior learning (RPL) is granted according to institutional policies.

See NETS policy regarding student transfers.

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