Registered Nurse Tapuhi Whai Rēhitatanga

Registered nurses assess, treat and support people who are sick, disabled or injured, in hospitals, clinics, rest homes, and nursing homes.

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Nurses need to be registered with the Nursing Council of New Zealand and have a current Annual Practising Certificate.

Registered nurses may do some or all of the following:

  • assess patients
  • plan and carry out nursing care in partnership with other health professionals
  • monitor patients' conditions and record changes
  • give patients immunisations, medicine and intravenous (IV) drugs
  • advise patients and help them to manage their own health 
  • visit and educate patients, families and community groups about health and preventing accidents and illness
  • delegate work to enrolled nurses and health care assistants
  • give further education to trained nurses and other staff
  • do health-related research and evaluations.

Enrolled nurses care for patients while a registered nurse or nurse practitioner supervises them.

Nurse Practitioner

To become a nurse practitioner you need to:

Plunket Nurse

To become a Plunket nurse working in child health development and community-based nursing you need to:

Practice Nurse

To become a practice nurse you must have a:

Physical Requirements

Registered nurses need to be reasonably fit, as they may have to spend long periods on their feet, and sometimes have to lift patients.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for registered nurses includes:

  • work with children, families, the elderly or people with disabilities
  • social work or counselling
  • community support work
  • work in hospitals or health promotion
  • teaching.

Personal Qualities

Registered nurses need to be:

  • good at communicating
  • skilled at problem solving
  • organised, with excellent time management 
  • able to work well under pressure and stay calm in emergencies
  • able to keep personal information confidential
  • kind, patient, tolerant and helpful
  • able to relate to people from a range of cultures and backgrounds.


Registered nurses need to have knowledge of:

  • how to assess and monitor patients' conditions and symptoms
  • the human body and its diseases and illnesses
  • nursing methods for different illnesses and injuries
  • the effects of different medicines and treatments
  • how to advocate on behalf of patients
  • different cultural beliefs about health and medical treatment.


Registered nurses:

  • usually work eight- to 12-hour shifts, including nights, weekends and public holidays. Nurses who work in the community or at medical centres usually work a set 40 hours a week
  • may work in stressful situations, and be in contact with distressed people, diseases and body fluids
  • may travel locally to visit clients.

Registered Nurses can earn around $60K per year.

Chances of getting a job as a Registered Nurse are good due to a shortage of people interested in this type of work.

Pay for registered nurses varies depending on their qualification, experience, duties and responsibilities.

Enrolled nurses working for district health boards

  • Graduate enrolled nurses working for district health boards usually earn $54,000 a year.
  • Enrolled nurses with one to four years' experience usually earn $57,000 to $63,000.

Enrolled nurses care for patients while a registered nurse or nurse practitioner supervises them.

Registered nurses working for district health boards

  • Graduate registered nurses working for district health boards usually earn $60,000 a year. 
  • Registered nurses with three to seven years' experience usually earn $68,000 to $83,000.
  • Senior registered nurses with more experience and responsibility usually earn $85,000 to $136,000.

Nurses can also earn overtime.

Source: District Health Boards/New Zealand Nurses Organisation, 'Nursing and Midwidery Multi-Employer Collective Agreement: 1 August 2020-31 August 2022', accessed November 2021.

Registered nurses may progress to become:

  • charge nurses, who manage wards
  • clinical nurse educators, who provide further education to trained nurses and staff.

With further training, registered nurses may progress to become nurse practitioners. They diagnose and treat patients, prescribe medicine, and may run their own health clinics.

Nurses usually specialise in a role such as:

Aged Care Nurse
Aged care nurses provide nursing care for elderly people.
Community Health Nurse
Community health nurses provide nursing care and education in fields such as disease control, health promotion, and caring for refugee families or people with low incomes.
Critical Care and Emergency Nurse
Critical care and emergency nurses care for patients after surgery, and when injured or acutely ill, in intensive care units and emergency departments.
Mental Health and Addictions Nurse
Mental health and addictions nurses care for patients with emotional or mental problems and addictions. They may specialise in crisis assessment or telephone triage – assessing patients over the telephone.
Perioperative Nurse
Perioperative nurses care for patients before, during and immediately after surgery, assist surgeons and anaesthetists, and monitor patients' recovery from anaesthetic.
Plunket Nurse
Plunket nurses work with parents and caregivers. They advise on childcare and parenting, and assess the health and development of children under five.
Practice Nurse
Practice nurses work in general practitioners' surgeries and medical clinics. They may assist with immunisations, vaccinations and wound care, and provide general health advice.

Years Of Training

3 years of training required.

Enrolled nurse 

To become an enrolled nurse you need to:

  • complete a Diploma of Enrolled Nursing (Level 5) 
  • pass an assessment by an approved provider
  • pass an examination for enrolled nurses.

Enrolled nurses care for patients while a registered nurse or nurse practitioner supervises them.

Registered nurse

To become a registered nurse you need to :

  • complete a Bachelor of Nursing, or other Level 7 or 8 qualification approved by the Nursing Council of New Zealand
  • pass an assessment by an approved provider
  • pass a Nursing Council of New Zealand examination for registered nurses.

Registered nurses also need to register with the Nursing Council of New Zealand.

The Vulnerable Children Act 2014 means that if you have certain serious convictions, you can’t be employed in a role where you are responsible for, or work alone with, children.

Registered Nurse