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Nursing Jobs in New Zealand – All You Need To Know

Are you interested in nursing jobs in New Zealand? Read on as you find all you need to know in this guide.

Nursing is in high demand in New Zealand because it is a stable and rewarding profession. Nurses derive a great deal of job satisfaction from the assistance they provide to patients. 

In hospitals, clinics, rest homes, and nursing homes, registered nurses assess, treat, and support people who are sick, disabled, or injured. The three practice areas for nurses are as follows: 

Enrolled Nurse 

To become an enrolled nurse in New Zealand, you must complete the 18-month diploma of enrolled nursing (level 5 on the New Zealand Qualification Authority framework). 

Registered Nurse 

A three-year Bachelor of Nursing degree (level 7 on the New Zealand Qualifications Authority Framework) or a two-year graduate entry master’s degree is required (level 8 on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework). to become a registered nurse in New Zealand. 

Nurse Practitioner 

To become a registered nurse practitioner in New Zealand, you must have the following qualifications:

  • registration with the Nursing Council of New Zealand in the scope of practice of a registered nurse 
  • four years minimum experience in a specific area of practice 
  • completed a clinically-focused master’s degree program approved by the Nursing Council of New Zealand or an equivalent qualification 
  • passed a Nursing Council assessment of nurse practitioner competencies and criteria

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Nursing Jobs in New Zealand

Why work as a nurse in New Zealand? 

What are the job prospects for nurses in New Zealand? 

The number of Registered Nurses has increased dramatically in the last five years. And the New Zealand government expects it to rise even further. In 2013, there were 52,729 nurses, and by 2023, there could be up to 56,650! The chances of getting a job as a registered nurse are average for those just starting but excellent for those with experience

What do nurses earn in New Zealand? 

In New Zealand, graduate registered nurses earn around $54,000 per year. Senior registered nurses typically earn between $79,000 and $130,000 per year. As a result, the more experience you have, the more money you will earn.

Registered nurses are paid differently depending on their qualifications, experience, duties, and responsibilities.

Enrolled nurses working for district health boards

  • Graduate registered nurses working for district health boards typically earn $54,000 annually. 
  • Enrolled nurses with one to four years of experience typically earn between $57,000 and $63,000 per year.

Enrolled nurses care for patients under the supervision of a registered nurse or nurse practitioner.

Nursing Jobs in New Zealand Duties

Registered nurses may do some or all of the following:

  • Assess patients
  • Nursing care is planned and delivered in collaboration with other health professionals. 
  • monitor patients’ conditions and keep track of any changes 
  • Administer immunizations, medications, and intravenous (IV) drugs to patients 
  • Patients are advised and assisted in managing their health. 
  • Visit patients, families, and community groups to educate them about health and how to avoid accidents and illnesses. 
  • assign work to registered nurses and health care assistants, 
  • provide additional training to trained nurses and other personnel 
  • Conduct health-related research and evaluations. 
  • Enrolled nurses care for patients under the supervision of a registered nurse or nurse practitioner.

Skills and knowledge

Registered nurses must be familiar with the following topics: 

  • how to assess and monitor the conditions and symptoms of patients 
  • the human body and its ailments and diseases 
  • Nursing techniques for various illnesses and injuries
  • the effects of various medications 

Work conditions

Registered nurses:

  • Typically, eight- to twelve-hour shifts are worked. This includes during weekends, at night, and on holidays. 
  • Nurses at medical centers typically work 40 hours per week and may be exposed to stressful situations, diseases, and bodily fluids. 
  • They may also travel locally to visit clients.

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Nursing Jobs in New Zealand

Entry requirements

Enrolled nurse 

To become an enrolled nurse, you must first: 

  • Complete an Enrolled Nursing Diploma (Level 5) 
  • Pass an assessment by an approved provider and pass an examination for enrolled nurses. 
  • Enrolled nurses care for patients under the supervision of a registered nurse or nurse practitioner.

Registered nurse

If you are interested in becoming a registered nurse in New Zealand, you must first:  

  • Pass an assessment by an approved provider,
  • Complete a Level 7 or 8 qualification bachelor of Nursing or another 
  •  approved by the Nursing Council of New Zealand
  • Pass a New Zealand examination for registered nurses.

Registered nurses can also register with the New Zealand Nursing Council.

  • Ministry of Health website – nursing qualifications and providers in New Zealand
  • Nursing Council of NZ website – becoming a registered nurse

According to the Vulnerable Children Act of 2014, if you have certain serious convictions, you cannot work in a role where you are responsible for or alone with children.

Other requirements for nursing roles:

Nurse Practitioner

To practice nursing, you need to:

  • Work as a registered nurse for at least four years, 
  • complete a Nursing Council-accredited Master’s degree, 
  • Pass a New Zealand assessment.

Nursing Council of NZ website

Plunket Nurse

To work as a Plunket nurse in child health development and community-based nursing, you must first: 

Practice Nurse

To be able to work as a practice nurse, you must have the following:

Personal requirements

Registered nurses need to be:

  • capable of working well under pressure and remaining calm in emergencies 
  • capable of keeping personal information confidential; 
  • kind, patient, tolerant, and helpful; 
  • Capable of relating to people from a variety of cultures and backgrounds.
  • good at communicating, 
  • good at problem-solving, 
  • good at time management

Useful experience

Useful experience for registered nurses includes:

  • Work with children, families, the elderly, or people with disabilities. 
  • social work or counseling
  • community support work
  • Work in hospitals or health promotion
  • Teaching. 

Physical prerequisites 

Registered nurses must be physically fit because they may be on their feet for long periods and must occasionally lift patients.


Nurses must be registered with the Nursing Council of New Zealand and hold an up-to-date Annual Practising Certificate.

  • Nursing Council of NZ website – information about registration and Annual Practising Certificates

What are my chances of finding work? 

The demand for registered nurses is expected to increase. 

Demand for experienced registered nurses is high and expected to rise further as a result of the following: 

  • growing demand for nursing care as the population ages 
  • Older nurses retiring – According to the New Zealand Nurses Organisation, 50% of nurses will retire by 2035, 
  • The 2019 Wellbeing Budget includes funding for nurses to work in mental health, addictions, child wellbeing, and school-based programs.
  • An international nursing shortage.

Aged care, child and family health, community health, critical care and emergency, developmental delay, disability and rehabilitation, medical practice, medical, mental health, pediatrics, perioperative, surgical, and Registered nurse necessitated roles are all on the Government’s Green List (not elsewhere classified). 

The government actively encourages qualified registered nurses from other countries to work in New Zealand. 

The number of registered nurses in New Zealand increased from 55,000 in 2017 to 57,833 (including 2,500 enrolled nurses) in 2019.

Most registered nurse graduates find work in four months.

Graduates may have to wait longer to find their first job. 

According to the Nursing Education in the Tertiary Sector organization, 85% of nurses who graduated in November 2018 had a job as registered nurses within four months of graduation. 

As a recent graduate, your chances of landing a job are best if you: 

  • Apply for positions through the ACE program or the Ministry of Health’s voluntary bonding scheme. 
  • are willing to relocate to areas of New Zealand where nurses are most needed, 
  • If you are willing to work as a nurse in aged care, mental health, or community organizations such as Plunket.
  • Advanced Choice of Employment website – information on ACE
  • Ministry of Health website – voluntary bonding scheme

Types of employers varied.

District health boards employ roughly half of all nurses. Others are employed by:

  • private hospitals
  • doctors’ practices, family planning clinics, and other community organizations such as Plunket 
  • rest homes and nursing homes
  • private health trusts and providers
  • prisons
  • schools.

Nursing Jobs in New Zealand

Advancement and specializations

Registered nurses may advance to come to be:

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

Registered nurses can advance to become nurse practitioners with additional training. They diagnose and treat patients, prescribe medications, and may own and operate their health clinics. 

Nurses typically specialize in one of the following areas:

Aged Care Nurse 

Aged care nurses provide nursing care for the elderly. 

Community Health Nurse 

Community health nurses offer nursing treatment and instruction in disease prevention, health promotion, and providing care for low-income families and refugees.

Critical Care and Emergency Nursing 

After surgery, when they are injured or seriously ill, and in intensive care units and emergency rooms, patients are cared for by critical care and emergency nurses.

Mental Health and Addictions Nurse 

Patients with emotional or mental problems, as well as addictions, are cared for by mental health and addiction nurses. They may specialize in crisis intervention or telephone triage, which involves assessing patients over the phone. 

Perioperative Nurse 

Perioperative nurses care for patients before, during, and soon following surgery. They also support surgeons and anesthetists and keep an eye on patients while they recover from anesthesia.

Plunket Nurse 

Plunket nurses assist parents and caregivers. They provide childcare and parenting advice and evaluate the health and development of children under five. 

Licensed Practical Nurse 

General practitioners’ offices and medical clinics employ practice nurses. They can help with immunizations, vaccinations, wound care, and general health advice.

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How much money do nurses make in New Zealand?

$71,510 per year in New Zealand 

The average registered nurse’s salary in New Zealand is $71,510 per year or $36.67 per hour. Starting salaries for entry-level positions start at $66,846 per year, with most experienced workers earning up to $78,000 per year.

Can I work as a nurse in New Zealand? 

Nursing or healthcare professionals who wish to work in New Zealand must apply for visas to visit and work in the country and meet the requirements for nursing registration, the Competence Assessment Programme (CAP), and the CAP fund.

Is New Zealand a good place to work as a nurse? 

New Zealand, has a diverse work environment with numerous opportunities. You can also pursue education opportunities in nursing.

How many hours do nurses in New Zealand work? 

In addition to the traditional eight-hour shifts, New Zealand is one of many countries that have implemented twelve-hour hospital shifts for registered nurses. The effects of twelve-hour shifts on registered nurses’ health and well-being and patient safety are widely debated in the literature.

How long does obtaining a nurse’s visa in New Zealand take? 

Around 7 to 10 days. Once you have registered, the NZNC will give you the application forms for the annual practicing certificate. Processing time for this is approximately 7–10 days.

What are my options for a career as a registered nurse in New Zealand? 

Several specializations are available to registered nurses. Examples include nursing for children and adolescents, primary care, mental health and addiction, critical care, and aged care. Additionally, you can pursue jobs in teaching, research, health management, and nursing practice. You can work anywhere in New Zealand if you choose to pursue a career in this area of medicine.


Nursing fields of study are diverse, with nurses assisting patients during difficult times. Compassion, good communication skills, and theoretical and practical medical knowledge are all required. The advantage of studying nursing is that you can easily work in New Zealand and other parts of the world.

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