Opening of simulation centre marks milestone in new IQN competence exams

The opening of a simulation centre in Christchurch marks a significant milestone in the Nursing Council’s new competence assessment process for internationally qualified nurses (IQNs).

Staff from the Council and Nurse Maude at the centre opening


The Nurse Maude Simulation and Assessment Centre, which will host the IQN clinical examination, contains a series of rooms designed to represent typical clinical, hospital, and community facilities, along with an IT control room.

Applicants will have 10 exam stations to work through in a three-hour objective structured clinical examination (OSCE). The scenarios they are tested on provide a realistic representation of the clinical situations faced by qualified nurses in Aotearoa New Zealand.

There are about 30 staff at the centre, ranging from examiners through to specialist simulation technicians, and there is the capacity to host up to 20 candidates per day.

Nursing Council Chief Executive Catherine Byrne says the opening of the centre is the culmination of months of work, “We are confident that the contract with Nurse Maude, using its purpose-designed facilities, will deliver an objective and robust examination for internationally qualified nurses.”

The Council expressed its deep gratitude to the mana whenua hapū,   Ngāi Tūāhuriri, for the blessing of the facilities at Nurse Maude.

“We acknowledge the importance of engaging with the traditional custodians of the land on which these facilities are built,” says Waikura Kamo, the Council’s Kaiwhakahaere.

“It was an honour to join the blessing of the centre, which was attended by members of Nurse Maude, the University of Canterbury, and mana whenua hapū Ngāi Tūāhuriri. We deeply value the collaborative efforts and contributions of all involved.”

Nurse Maude Chief Executive Jim Magee says it’s exciting the two organisations can work together to provide a service of such importance to the country’s health sector.

“The centre and its staff draw on the fundamental healthcare knowledge and skills developed by our organisation over many years.”

Prior to the clinical exam, applicants will attend a two-day orientation and preparation course at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch.

Its Faculty of Health Executive Dean, Associate Professor Cathy Andrew, says the partnership with Nurse Maude is a welcome development.

“This formal collaboration with Nurse Maude, which is one of Christchurch’s oldest healthcare providers, is great news for Canterbury. The university is really looking forward to providing this course for internationally qualified nurses.”

Those IQNs who applied to the Council before this new competence process was in place will continue undertaking their competence assessment programmes (CAPs).

The Council is planning for an 18-month transition period (all of 2024 into 2025) where the CAPs and the new competence examination process will be in place alongside each other.

You can find further information on the Council’s website page Registration for International Nurses and its FAQs.