This notice is given pursuant to sections 11 and 12 of the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003, and section 51(a) of the Medicines Amendment Act 2013, and comes into effect on 1 July 2014.
On that date, it replaces Scope of Practice - Nurse Practitioner in section 2 of the Notice of Scopes of Practice and Related Qualifications Prescribed by the Nursing Council of New Zealand* published in 2004, and the Medicines (Designated Prescriber: Nurse Practitioners) Notice 2009Å listed below under Previous Notices.
Under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003, the Nursing Council of New Zealand ("Council") is required to describe the scopes of practice for nursing in New Zealand. The Council's role is to identify the health services and the prescribed qualifications for each scope of practice.
Nurse practitioners seeking to practise in New Zealand must first be registered with the Council as a registered nurse and as a nurse practitioner. To be able to practise nursing in New Zealand, a registered nurse practitioner must hold a current practising certificate. To be eligible for a practising certificate, a nurse practitioner must meet any continuing competence requirements set by the Council.
Further information can be found published on the Council's website at
Changes coming into effect on 1 July 2014
In October 2012, the Council proposed that the prescription of medicines be included in the scope of practice for all nurse practitioners when registered with the Council. Previously prescribing was optional for a registered nurse practitioner. The Council also proposed that the prescribed qualifications be changed so that the education programme and assessment of prescribing competence was no longer optional for registration as a nurse practitioner.
The reason for these changes is to align the scope of practice for nurse practitioners with changes to the Medicines Act 1981 which come into effect on 1 July 2014. Under the Medicines Act 1981, nurse practitioners are defined as having prescribing rights when they register with the Council. The Medicines (Designated Prescriber: Nurse Practitioners) Regulations 2005 will be revoked on 1 July 2014. The Medicines (Designated Prescriber: Nurse Practitioners) Notice 2009Å made under this regulation by the Council is also be revoked from 1 July 2014 (see below under Previous Notices).
From 1 July 2014, prescribing nurse practitioners will no longer have a condition/authorisation included in their scope of practice stating that they may prescribe. Nurse practitioners who do not have prescribing rights will have a condition in their scope of practice indicating that they may not prescribe. All nurse practitioners will continue to have a condition stating their specific area of practice. These conditions will be on their practising certificate and on the online public register available on the Council's website.
The Council consulted with stakeholders including nursing professional organisations, district health boards and other health providers. The consultation was also available on the Council's website for public comment. Thirty submissions were received with the majority in favour of these changes. In December 2012, the Council approved the changes to the nurse practitioner scope of practice and prescribed qualifications and resolved to introduce them at the same time as the amendments to the Medicines Act 1981 came into force.
In February 2013, the Council notified nurse practitioners affected by these changes and placed information on its website.
The Council last published the scope of practice and prescribed qualifications for nurse practitioners in September 2004. The Council also published two notices related to nurse practitioners as designated prescribers under the Medicines (Designated Prescriber: Nurse Practitioners) Regulation 2005. This regulation will be revoked by the amendments to the Medicines Act 1981 that come into force on 1 July 2014.
1. Scope of Practice - Nurse Practitioner in section 2 of the Notice of Scopes of Practice and Related Qualifications Prescribed by the Nursing Council of New Zealand* outlined the scope of practice and prescribed qualifications for nurse practitioners. This notice came into effect on 15 September 2004.
2. Medicines (Designated Prescriber: Nurse Practitioners) Notice 2009Å outlined the requirements (qualifications and experience) for nurse practitioners who wish to prescribe medicines and changed the assessment of competence to prescribe to three yearly. This notice came into effect on 3 November 2009.
Dated at Wellington this 29th day of May 2014.
CAROLYN REED, Registrar, Nursing Council of New Zealand.
Scope of Practice - Nurse Practitioner
Nurse practitioners are expert nurses who work within a specific area of practice incorporating advanced knowledge and skills. They practise both independently and in collaboration with other health care professionals to promote health, prevent disease and to diagnose, assess and manage people's health needs. They provide a wide range of assessment and treatment interventions, including differential diagnoses, ordering, conducting and interpreting diagnostic and laboratory tests, and administering therapies for the management of potential or actual health needs. They work in partnership with individuals, families, whanau and communities across a range of settings. Nurse practitioners prescribe medicines within their specific area of practice. Nurse practitioners also demonstrate leadership as consultants, educators, managers and researchers, and actively participate in professional activities, and in local and national policy development.
(a) Registration with the Nursing Council of New Zealand in the Registered Nurse Scope of Practice; and
(b) a minimum of four years of experience in a specific area of practice; and
(c) the completion of an approved clinical Master's degree programme which includes demonstration of the competencies, for advanced practice and prescribing applied within a defined area of practice of the nurse practitioner. The programme must include relevant theory and concurrent practice; or
(d) the completion of an equivalent overseas clinically focussed Master's degree qualification which meets the requirement specified in (c) above; and
(e) passing an assessment against the nurse practitioner competencies by an approved panel.
* New Zealand Gazette, 15 September 2004, No. 120, page 2958
Å New Zealand Gazette, 15 October 2009, No. 152, page 3704