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Short Course in Competency Assessment for Registered Nurses

Level 7

UCOL’s Short Course in Competency Assessment for Registered Nurses (RN) will allow nurses to apply for registration with the Nursing Council of New Zealand (NCNZ) according to their scope of practice.

Nursing student studies at the Palmerston North campus
Quick info

Level: 7

Locations: Palmerston North

Duration: 12 weeks, full-time

28 Aug 2017 - 10 Nov 2017
9 Oct 2017 - 24 Dec 2017
15 Jan 2018 - 13 Apr 2018
12 Mar 2018 - 8 Jun 2018
8 Oct 2018 - 11 Jan 2019

Domestic Fees:*
$2,290.33 (2017) $2,332.50 (2018)Scholarship info

International Fees:*
$7,180.00 (2017) $7,400.00 (2018)

* Fees are indicative only, and are inclusive of the student services levy and GST (goods and services tax). The fee shown is for one year of study.

The aim of this short course is to provide registered nurses with the opportunity to demonstrate competence against the Nursing Council of New Zealand (NCNZ) Competencies for Registered Nurse Scope of Practice (2007).

Applications are assessed on an individual basis and in accordance with the requirements of the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003.

Career & Study Outcomes

  • Hospitals
  • Community agencies
  • Māori health education
  • Iwi-based
  • Health centres
  • Government departments
  • Employment overseas
To find out more about possible job prospects and salaries, see Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's Occupation Outlook for Registered Nurses.

Course Information

Mandatory theoretical content:
• The Treaty of Waitangi
• Cultural safety
• Legislation impacting upon the practice of nurses in New Zealand. (NCNZ, 2005)

Other content includes:
• Competencies for the registered nurse scope of practice. (NCNZ, 2005)
• Pharmacological revision and drug calculation test
• Clinical core skills
• Introduction to wound care
• Introduction to infection control
• Vital signs
• Effective communication
• Document management and protocols
• Nursing skills specific to the practice setting
• Integration of theory into practice

Learning Facilities

Simulation and Nursing Skills Labs, Science Labs

Domestic Entry Requirements

Candidates must be either:

NCNZ registered nurses who have been out of the nursing workforce for over five years


Nurses who hold a registration from another country and meet the NCNZ requirements to undertake a Competence Assessment Programme.

General Admission Criteria
All New Zealand Registered Nurse applicants who have been out of the nursing workforce for over five years are required to declare any previous criminal convictions prior to admission being confirmed. Convictions of any offence may not necessarily exclude applicants from enrolment. The decision is at the discretion of the Academic Leader. Applicants must also authorise UCOL to obtain a background check from the New Zealand Police Licensing and Vetting Agency, and complete a health declaration form.

International Entry Requirements

Overseas registered nurses or nurse assistants seeking entry to the programme require written notification from the Council of the requirement to complete a competence assessment programme before registration.

English Proficiency Entry Requirements
In addition to the Domestic Entry Requirements, international student applicants whose first language is not English must have an IELTS with a score of 7.0 in reading, listening, writing and speaking, respectively. Alternatively, the Occupational English Test (OET) with a B band in reading, listening, writing and speaking, respectively. Candidates must demonstrate their ability to communicate effectively for the purpose of practising within their scope of practice.

Applicants under 20 years of age:
There are specific academic entry requirements for international students under 20 years of age. Please enquire for details.

Advice & Guidance

UCOL's Short Course in Competency Assessment for Registered Nurses, Level 7 comprises 38 credits.

The programme is aimed at the registered nurse who has been out of practice for over five years or the overseas nurse who is seeking registration with the NCNZ.

At all times both categories of applicant will practice under the direction and close supervision of a preceptor who will take responsibility for the quality of care provided to the clients.  UCOL nursing lecturers assume academic responsibility. 

Work Experience
Clinical placements will be for a maximum of 320 hours. The clinical experience will involve shift work and may be at various clinical agencies throughout New Zealand. The number of places available on the Short Course in Competency Assessment for Registered Nurses, Level 7 may be limited by access to clinical placements.

Recognition of Prior Learning
Not applicable.


The programme is approved by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority under the provisions of the Education Act 1989, and Universal College of Learning (UCOL) Trading as Universal College of Learning (UCOL) is accredited to teach it.