How To Become A Registered Nurse In New Zealand

If you’re a nursing student, a recent graduate or someone practising nursing already and looking to expand your career, this guide is for you. The following information sets out much of the information you will need when searching for registered nurse jobs in NZ; including the current job market, online courses to build more skills, and more.

Read on or jump right into the information most relevant to you.

Demand for registered nurse jobs in NZ

The nursing shortage in New Zealand is being described as ‘well beyond the critical point” with an estimated shortfall of around 1000 nurses across the country reported as of February 2022. 

As a result, registered nurse jobs are currently among the topmost in-demand healthcare positions in the country appearing on both the long term and regional skill shortage lists. Nursing ranked in the #1 most-needed jobs in New Zealand according to Seek.

Demand for registered nurses is high, especially for the aged care sector. Even before Covid-19 hit New Zealand, staff shortages for registered nurses in aged care were a rising crisis due to the country’s increasing ageing population. The border closures have only exacerbated the long-standing problem as NZ had been relying heavily on migrant workers to fill the shortages. 

As a result, there is an increasing focus on supporting Kiwis to join the nursing force with initiatives such as the MySkill program being launched. Introduced by Geneva Healthcare, MySkill is a free online healthcare training and job placement program aimed at supporting Kiwis to advance their health careers. More on this is explained later here.

Private Registered Nurse Jobs

Registered nurse employment opportunities within the private sector offer a multitude of options as well as benefits. Here’s what working at a private healthcare provider like Geneva would look like.

Reduced Case Load: One of the biggest advantages of working in the private sector is the reduced number of caseloads. Often, nurses working in the public sector experience burnout brought on by the shortage of resources, high volume of patients and an overload of work, rapidly increased by the onslaught of Covid-19 hospitalisation. 

Though nurses are still challenged and pushed daily, those working in the private sector experience lower caseloads on average. Not only does it take away the pressure of a heavy caseload, but it also allows you to dedicate more time to each patient.

Training and Options for Career Growth: If you’re looking to upskill or develop further your career, choosing to work for a private healthcare provider would be a good pathway to do achieve your goals. 

At Geneva Healthcare we provide an enormous amount of training opportunities for our employees when they sign up, and actively support them in progressing their careers. You have more control of what you want to learn and specialise in.

See Geneva Healthcare jobs 

Flexibility in Schedule: Registered nurses working for private healthcare providers get more control over their schedules and the number of hours they work. By not having to depend on a bureaucratic system, the private healthcare sector is more independent than the public counterpart and hence tend to be more responsive and fast-paced in development.

Requirements to be a registered nurse in NZ

To be a registered nurse in New Zealand, you must have the following criteria

  • A Bachelor of Nursing Degree or other qualification of Level 7 or 8 that’s approved by the Nursing Council of New Zealand
  • Have successfully passed the examination for registered nurses by the Nursing Council of New Zealand
  • Have successfully passed an assessment by an approved provider.
  • Be registered with the Nursing Council of New Zealand and have an Annual Practicing Certificate.

For more information visit the Nursing Council of New Zealand website.

Additional Qualifications and employment skills

MySkill FREE Online Healthcare Training & Job Placement

While there is a high demand for registered nurses in the country, finding a job can still become difficult due to high competition, especially if you are quite new to the industry. This is where MySkill can be of immense value. 

MySkill is an NZQA-registered private training establishment offering free dedicated training for the aged care, disability, and home and community health sector. Operating for close to 20 years, MySkill is an initiative by Healthcare NZ, the largest healthcare provider in the country.

To be eligible for the training you must be,

  • An NZ permanent resident or citizen 
  • Have not been working in the health sector within the last 5 years and have not been in permanent full-time work currently.
  • Fully vaccinated against Covid-19

Check out the range of healthcare courses available at the MySkill website.

Check FREE Healthcare Courses

Professional Development with Geneva Healthcare

Already working as a nurse and want to develop your skills? Geneva Healthcare offers professional development programs that are open to anyone who is already employed as a nurse.

Here’s what we offer.

  • Support in completing your PDRP
  • Access to monthly professional development with other nurses
  • Support from our dedicated Clinical Training Manager who is accountable for the development of our nursing workforce

Get in touch with us for more information by calling 0800 GENEVA / 0800 436 382, or emailing PLEASE PROVIDE RELEVANT EMAIL ADDRESS

What are registered nurse responsibilities?

  • Assess patients and monitor their conditions
  • Administer medication, immunizations and IV drugs
  • Plan and carry out nursing care while coordinating with other health professionals
  • Visit and educate patients, families and community groups about health and preventing illness and accidents
  • Advise patients and help them to manage their health
  • Conduct health-related evaluations and research
  • Delegate work to health care assistants and enrolled nurses
  • provide further education to trained nurses and other staff

Source: careers.

Working Conditions of a Registered Nurse

A career as a registered nurse can be quite challenging but highly rewarding. Here are some of the working conditions you’ll experience as a registered nurse.

  • Shifts averaging between eight to 12 hours
  • Working during nights, weekends, and public holidays
  • On average, nurses working at medical centres and within the community will be working a set of 40 hours/ week.
  • Travel locally to visit patients
  • Work under high-pressured situations
  • Be in contact with diseases, body fluids and distressed people.

What’s it like working as a nurse? 

Hear what it’s like to work as a nurse from none other than New Zealand Nurse of the Year, Helen Cohen! Helen has been working as a nurse for 50 years when she was awarded the title in 2020 by Geneva.

This is what Helen had to say,

“It’s still my passion even after all these years. I go home with my hand on heart knowing that I’ve done the best I can do. I love making a difference…It’s not all about putting on bandages or taking blood pressure, it’s about listening and understanding people. Everybody is different”

Sharing advice for those entering the field, Helen says,

“Be an active listener and never stop learning. We never know what’s happening in other people’s lives, so see what difference you can make and make that the best journey it can be”

Read Helen Cohen’s story here or watch testimonials from our Geneva staff as they share their experiences of working in healthcare.

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