Otago Polytechnic

Competency Assessment Programme (CAP) for Overseas Registered Nurses



Eight-twelve weeks, full-time

Face-to-face and online learning, 10 days in theoretical skill-based study, plus a minimum of 240 hours in clinical practice at a clinical provider arranged by Otago Polytechnic predominantly in Dunedin or the Otago region

April, July & September 2020
Until two weeks before start date
  • Location
    Study breaks
  • Competency Assessment Programme
    17 April 2020
  • Competency Assessment Programme
    10 July 2020
  • Competency Assessment Programme
    25 September 2020

Are you an internationally-registered nurse who has met the initial Nursing Council of New Zealand criteria and has been directed to complete a Competency Assessment Programme to obtain your nursing registration in New Zealand?

Complete this programme and become educated to the highest professional standards. Learn curriculum content specific to practice as part of a healthcare team in the New Zealand system.

Entry requirements
  • You must provide the original written notification from the Nursing Council of the requirement to complete a Competence Assessment Programme before registration.
  • You must have a recognised degree in Nursing.
  • You must have at least two years' experience as a registered nurse.
  • You must be computer literate and preferably have access to a laptop.
  • You must provide a Criminal Conviction History Report.
  • You must provide your immunity status - please see this document for requirements. 
  • If English is not your first language, you must provide:

If you need to improve your English Language skills, we offer a wide range of English programmes.

Please note: Scores higher than 7.0 (IELTS) and a B band/score (OET) are preferred and will facilitate achievement in the programme. Clubbed IELTS and OET will not be accepted. 

For enquiries about requirements for obtaining an Annual Practising Certificate contact the Nursing Council of New Zealand (Te Kaunihera Tapuhi o Aotearoa).

Telephone +64 4 385 9589
Fax +64 4 801 8502
Email nzreg@nursingcouncil.org.nz

Postal Address

PO Box 9644, Wellington,
6141, New Zealand

Street Address

Level 12 Mid City Tower, 139-143 Willis Street,
Wellington, NEW ZEALAND

Completing your application

You must provide certified copies of proof of identity, academic records and proof of residency (where appropriate).

Applications will only be considered complete when the following documents are also received by the School of Nursing:

  • Application form completed
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Transcript of previous study and copy of award
  • Written notification from Nursing Council of the requirement to complete a Competency Assessment Programme before registration
  • Health declaration form
  • Two referee reports
  • Criminal conviction history
  • Immunity status
  • Certified copies of your passport and visa
  • If English is not your first language, you must also demonstrate English language skills equivalent to an IELTS overall band score (academic) of 7.0, with no band score less than 7.0, OR Occupational English Test (OET) with a B band/score of in each section.

Upon acceptance into the programme, you may be required to provide a fit2work report and/or consent to police vetting.

Selection procedure

All internationally-registered nurses who meet the English language requirements and provide the correct documentation will be considered for entry into this programme. However, acceptance is dependent on the availability of places in the requested intake. Preference is given to nurses with higher IELTS scores and degree preparation. There are a maximum number of applicants accepted, per intake. Once each intake has been filled, qualified applicants will be placed on a waitlist and notified of their status.

Additional costs

You will be required to pay a compulsory insurance fee of approximately NZD $162 and an administration fee of approximately NZD $300. If you choose the homestay option, you will have to pay an additional NZD $1,000. You are also responsible for all additional costs related to the clinical courses/placement such as accommodation, transport, uniforms and meals.

You will study

You will need to demonstrate the ability to meet Registered Nurse Competencies (Nursing Council of New Zealand, 2007) at the completion of this programme.


Theory: BN 714: Professional Nursing Practice (5 Credits) (Level 7)

Learn about the legal, ethical, cultural and evidence-based professional aspects of nursing in New Zealand. This course provides the basis for developing knowledge and skills for meeting some of the Registered Nurse Competencies and runs over four days; your learning will be assessed at the completion of the theoretical component.

Theory: BN 713: Health Assessment (Adult) and Nursing Skills (10 Credits) (Level 7)

Ensure that your knowledge and skills in adult health assessment and practical nursing skills are evidence-based and current for the New Zealand health system environment. This course runs over six days and has assessed components, all of these must be passed before commencing clinical.

Clinical: BN 712 Nursing Practice (15 Credits) (Level 7)

This clinical course commences immediately after the two theory courses. Through experiential learning, orientate yourself to nursing practice in New Zealand and demonstrate your ability to meet the Nursing Council Registered Nurses Competencies. Successful completion of this course, as well as the theory courses, will mean you are able to apply for registration with the Nursing Council. If you do not achieve the competencies by the end of the clinical course, you may re-enrol. This course involves at least 240 hours of full-time rostered duties at an approved clinical provider.

Information on approved clinical providers is available from the Programme Coordinator for this Competency Assessment Programme.

Your workload

This programme includes ten days of theory followed by 240 hours (six weeks) in clinical practice. Eight weeks is the minimum duration, ten weeks the maximum, for successful completion of the theory and clinical courses. The Nursing Council allows one re-enrolment for the clinical course if you do not pass, which would then extend the duration of the programme to twelve weeks and would incur an additional fee.


While every effort is made to ensure that this sheet is accurate, Otago Polytechnic reserves the right to amend, alter or withdraw any of the contained information. The fees shown in this document are indicative ONLY. Both domestic and international fees are subject to change and are dependent on the development and implementation of Government policies. Please note that additional fees may from time to time be required for external examination, NZQA fees and/or additional material fees.

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