Approved professional development and recognition programmes (PDRPs)

The Nursing Council approves PDRP as recertification programmes under section 41 of the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003.

Nurses who demonstrate continuing competence by successfully having a portfolio assessed via PDRP are exempt from recertification audit.

PDRPs have been developed by employers to recognise and support individual nurses to meet continuing competence requirements and to develop practice. 

PDRP requirements are different from recertification audit requirements in that they look at more than competence to practice. Programmes support individual nurses to develop their practice and also to recognise additional contributions made by nurses to the workplace. 

The criteria for advancement through these programmes are determined by the programme and not by the Nursing Council.

Council approval means that the programme has met the Nursing Council standards for PDRPs and nurses are assessed to meet the Council's continuing competence requirements.

For more information, see the documents in the downloads on this page.

Differences between recertification audit and PDRPs

Recertification audit

Professional development and recognition programmes (PDRPs)


To ensure nurses meet continuing competence requirements

Recognition of the expertise of nurses in clinical practice

Legal basis

Set by the Nursing Council under section 41 of the HPCA Act.

May be voluntary or compulsory, depending on the organisation and employment agreement

Developed by

The Nursing Council after extensive consultation with nurses and the health sector

The organisation in consultation with its employees/members

Evidence requirements

Evidence is limited to practice hours, professional development hours and two competence assessments 

Additional evidence may be required – this is determined by the organisation


The Nursing Council provides information and assessment tools

Provides information and tools/workbooks. Education and support are provided by the programme coordinator, educators/assessors and other senior nurses


Completed by auditors and assessed as met/not met

Completed by assessors who give individual feedback on practice/evidence


There is no link to remuneration

Some levels of achievement may be linked to remuneration

Recognition of skill level

Levels are not included in the Council’s requirements

Levels of increasing expertise may be demonstrated and recognised

Timeframe for completion

Nurses selected for audit have 6 weeks to send their evidence to Council

Participants usually have several months or longer to complete a portfolio


Approximately 1000 nurses complete the recertification audit every year

Around, 13,000 nurses participate in PDRPs (source: Council database)