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Published on February 2024

New Zealand Nursing Registration Latest Update February 2024 - IQN Exam OSCE Exam

The Nursing Council has announced IQN competence assessment changes. CAP will be replaced by competent assessment with two tests. The Nursing Council will now need some nurses to undertake a competent assessment that includes an objective structured clinical exam (OSCE) and a theoretical exam for Internationally Qualified Nurses (IQN).

The 3 steps of assessment:

1. An online exam to asses a nurses’s theoretical and conceptual nursing knowledge.

2. An educational module to familiarise nurses with the salient characteristics and nursing milieu of Aotearoa New Zealand. The significance of nursing in Te Tiriti, ideas such as cultural safety, the health and disability system, and the norms and culture of nursing practice will all be covered.

3. An Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) will test a nurse’s professional and clinical skills in a simulated environment.

Catherine Byrne, Chief Executive and Registrar of the Nursing Council stated that they had faith that the new model would uphold public safety and incorporate contemporary best practices in regulation. She said, “Requiring all nurses to complete an education module also helps ensure that from day one they understand the unique environment, culture, and expectations of nursing in Aotearoa New Zealand – including our specific approach to concepts such as cultural safety.”

What happens to CAP?

CAP assessment will no longer be needed for new nurses. The registered nurse new zealand who applied to the Council before the new procedure was implemented (before December 4, 2023) will still be required to complete Competence Assessment Programmes (CAPs). Nevertheless, they might be offered the chance to switch to the new examination procedure.

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

Providers of IQN examination process

Theoretical test: Pearson VUE

The online theoretical exam, which assesses knowledge in a variety of nursing competencies, will be available at a test center in New Zealand or abroad through Nursing Council’s approved provider, Pearson VUE. For its expertise in administering private exams in a variety of industries, Pearson VUE is well-known on a global scale. With 5,500 testing locations across more than 180 countries, the company administers more than 19 million exams a year.

Clinical test: Nurse Maude Simulation Centre

The Nurse Maude Simulation Centre in Christchurch has received accreditation from the Nursing Council to conduct the clinical assessment for IQNs. Nurse Maude is a reputable and well-established non-profit organization that offers healthcare services.

The three-hour objective structured clinical examination (OSCE), which needs to be completed in person, will be conducted at Nurse Maude facilities in a specially created simulation center. There will be a two-day orientation and preparation course in the city before the exam.

What distinguishes the new education module from CAP?

The education module is intended to teach IQNs about the differences between the health and practice contexts in their home countries and Aotearoa New Zealand, as well as what it means to be a nurse in this country. This educational module will be substantially shorter than a CAP and will not include a clinical placement component. Only a select few nurses are currently required to finish CAPs. In addition to whatever their employer may offer, all IQNs will get a common and consistent orientation to becoming a nurse in Aotearoa New Zealand under the new model.

Cost of Nursing Registration in New Zealand with New Assessment Program

The Nursing Council charges 485$ (NZD) to process your application. While additional costs for other services are:

1. Verifying and authenticating documents with CGFNS

CGFNS, an external company needs to verify and authenticate the documents of nurse registration nz. This step needs to be done before applying to the Nursing Council.

Fees: approx $485 NZD

2. International criminal history check

Nurses are required to do a criminal history check

  • If you lived in NZ for 6+ months then you can apply to the Ministry of Justice
  • For international nurses, you should apply on Fit2work which the Nursing Council accredits.

Fees: approx $168 NZD

3. Competence assessment examination

A competency assessment will be necessary for some internationally qualified nurses for them to be registered.

The IQN Theory exam - Pearson VUE

Although the costs are quoted in NZD, you must pay for the exam in the currency of the nation where you are taking it.


Part A: Medication Safety and
Part B: Nursing knowledge
$ 140 NZ
Re-sit of Part A: Medication Safety $ 32 NZ
Re-sit of Part B: Nursing knowledge $ 108 NZ

Clinical competence assessment - Nurse Maude Simulation Centre

Orientation and preparation course $ 500 NZ
OSCE - clinical examination $ 3000 NZ
Re-sit of OSCE $ 3000 NZ