Strong response on proposed EN and RN competencies

The Nursing Council has received a strong response to, and feedback from many nurses on, the proposed EN and RN competencies.

More than 1,000 nurses have made submissions or completed the survey to date with the consultation remaining open until 12th February 2024.

A preliminary review of the responses so far reveals that nurses:

  1. believe the pou/domains generally look good but there are too many competencies, and they could be condensed
  2. consider these new competencies will add to their burden with PDRP and continuing competence requirements.

The first step in this work is to define the competencies to ensure they reflect nursing practice now and into the future. Nursing is a complex profession and, as such, the competencies do need to reflect the breadth of knowledge, skills, and attributes required to provide safe care.

Following the consultation period, the Council will review all feedback with a likely outcome leading to a reduction in the number of competencies.

Once the competencies are defined, work will then begin on reviewing the continuing competence requirements (recertification audit). The Council recognises the need for a review of the requirements, including the peer review process, and that nurses are concerned that additional competencies could result in an additional compliance burden. The review will take this into account and the Council will work with the nursing profession, educators, and employers to consider how new competencies could be implemented in practice, including the processes for maintaining continuing competence.

There have also been a number of comments about the Professional Development and Recognition Programmes (PDRPs) and the impact of more competencies on this process. These programmes are developed by employers, however, the Council recognises the impact changes could have. The PDRP programmes are accredited but not required by the Council.

Under the HPCA Act, the Nursing Council is responsible for setting standards to help ensure that nurses are competent and fit to practise. Competencies describe the skills, knowledge, and attributes expected of nurses registered in each scope of practice. They are used for multiple purposes including the development of nursing education curriculums, competence assessments, continuing competence, and evidence of safety to practise as a nurse.

The consultation remains open until 12th February and the Council welcomes further responses from nurses which will contribute to work to strengthen and support nursing practice in Aotearoa, New Zealand. A link to the consultation can be found here.