Competence assessment

The Council expects nurses to complete competence assessments against the competencies for their scope of practice at least every three years. 

These assessments are carried out by an experienced registered nurse who has recognised nursing knowledge and skills in the area of practice being assessed. This experienced registered nurse will either work with the nurse or will have observed his or her practice for the purpose of making an assessment.

The assessment should be based on a combination of strategies that include:

  • direct observation of the nurse's practice
  • an interview to ascertain nursing care in different scenarios
  • evidence provided by the nurse (including self-assessments, exemplars or examples of practice, documentation, and reports from other nurses and other health professionals).

Assessments should be comprehensive and not based solely on observation of clinical procedures. The assessor is required to provide detailed comments for each competency, giving examples of the nurse’s practice that support the assessment. 

Under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003, New Zealand registered and enrolled nurses who have been out of practice for five years or more are required to complete a competence assessment programme before they can be issued with a practising certificate. Competency assessment programmes are offered by accredited service providers or jointly by an accredited service provider and a school of nursing. 

For the competence assessment forms, see the right hand downloads box on this page.

Assessment by a Council-approved assessor

The Council sometimes requires an assessment to be completed by a Council-approved assessor. In these cases the Council needs to be assured that the person completing the assessment is qualified to assess performance and skilled in the analysis, interpretation and evaluation of the assessment process.

 The Council requires in an assessor to:

  • be a registered nurse in good standing with the Council and have a current practising certificate
  • have at least three years' post-registration clinical experience in the area in which the assessment is to take place

 and have completed at least one of the following:

  • an adult teaching certificate or diploma
  • experience as a nurse lecturer in an approved undergraduate nursing programme
  • a preceptor programme or clinical teaching programme that includes learning on assessment
  • unit standards from the New Zealand Qualifications Authority on workplace assessor training
  • demonstrated equivalency of any of the above.

To become an approved assessor, the person will need to submit his or her curriculum vitae and evidence to the Council for approval before the assessment takes place.

Criteria and application form to become an approved assessor (Word, 221 KB)

For the Guidelines for Competence Assessment document see the right hand downloads box on this page.

Asking peers to complete assessments

A peer who completes an assessment for you must be an experienced registered nurse who has recognised skill in your area of practice.  You must inform them of the purpose of the assessment and make sure they have the appropriate competence assessment form (you can find the forms in the downloads box on the right of this page). 

Your peer assessor may wish to observe your practice, question you about nursing care and get feedback from other professionals. It would also be appropriate for them to look at documentation related to your practice, such as clinical records or your portfolio.

If you are working in isolation, you may need to participate in peer review activities. For further information on this, see Recertification audit FAQs.

Return to top ^