If you enjoy working with people and like the idea of working in the healthcare field, nursing may be a good option for you. Working as a nurse is a very rewarding and also diverse career, as nurses work with many other healthcare professionals and can be employed in various settings. They may work in hospitals (clinical practice) but are also employed in areas such as community education or in offices or schools.
For more information about studying nursing in New Zealand, visit the following websites:
What you can study
Nursing can be studied at all qualification levels, but the qualification completed will determine whether you can work as a nurse assistant, an enrolled nurse or a registered nurse (sometimes known as a ‘graduate nurse’).
Vocational programmes include certificates in nursing, which allow graduates to work as nurse assistants, and diplomas in enrolled nursing. Enrolled nurses work under the direction and supervision of registered nurses. There is also the opportunity to train as a nursing support and care worker by completing a certificate in health, disability and aged support (health assistants).
To become a registered nurse, you must complete a bachelor degree in nursing. These three-year programmes — either a bachelor of nursing or a bachelor of health sciences (nursing) — combine theoretical study and clinical experience, allowing students to enter the nursing profession. Enrolled nurses may be admitted into the bachelor degrees with advanced standing, providing a pathway to work as a registered nurse.
Postgraduate programmes allow nursing graduates to extend their knowledge in a specialist field or meet continuing professional education requirements. There are also some interesting specialisations at postgraduate level, such as hospice palliative care and perioperative specialty nursing. Research is also an option, particularly for graduates who have worked as nurses for some time.
You may also be interested in midwifery. Midwives provide care and support to women during and after pregnancy and childbirth, working alongside healthcare professionals such as obstetricians. They also provide information and education to mothers and families. To become a midwife, you need to complete a bachelor of midwifery and register with the Midwifery Council of New Zealand.
Where to study
Nursing can be studied at a range of education providers in New Zealand, including universities, polytechnics and institutes of technology. Midwifery programmes are less widespread.
Practical work is very important in nursing, so you will find that all courses offer clinical experience. It is worth looking at each institution’s facilities and equipment to make sure they are up to date.