If you’re the world-traveler type, packing up and moving to a foreign country has probably crossed your mind a time or two. As an NP though, the ability to continue your practice abroad with the same autonomy and recognition you receive in the United States is not something you’ll find in many countries throughout the world. In fact, in some places, you may either be deduced to working as more of a nurse’s aide or find you’re better off pursuing another profession altogether. If you can’t stomach the thought of giving up all that you’ve worked so hard to achieve in your NP career, but can’t let go your dream to be an expat either, look no further than the sovereign island nation of New Zealand.
A hop, skip and a jump across the Tasman Sea from Australia, this small island country has a lot to offer immigrants. Home to only about 4.5 million people, New Zealanders value hard work while also enjoying a laid back pace of life. New Zealand is an expat’s dream come true; it has many of the same conveniences of modern living except in an unspoiled land. Many claim it’s the cleanest and most beautiful country in the world.
An added bonus, the NP role is similar to that of the role in the U.S. Though there are only about 300 NPs in New Zealand, the profession is continually evolving and growing. Considered by the Ministry of Health as highly skilled autonomous health practitioners with an education in advanced nursing and clinical training, New Zealand NPs are able to make diagnoses, order and interpret diagnostic and laboratory tests, and write prescriptions within their area of competence with the same authority as physicians. Often, NPs in the region are the lead health care provider for patients.
So how can you make living and working as an NP in New Zealand your reality?
Apply for Registration with Nursing Council of New Zealand
The Nursing Council of New Zealand (NCNZ) is the statutory authority that governs the practice of all nurses and sets and monitors standards in the interests of public safety. The NCNZ categorizes and registers nurses into three different scopes of practice: enrolled nurses, registered nurses and nurse practitioners. Internationally trained NPs who wish to continue practicing as such in N.Z. must first apply for registration under the registered nurse scope of practice. Upon doing so, the Council will then determine whether your education and training meet the requirements necessary to be registered under the nurse practitioner scope of practice. Specifically, you must have a Master’s degree wherein you completed appropriate course content and you must meet certain competency requirements.
Before beginning the application process, however, it’s advised by the Council that you to check to see that you are able to meet all seven of the eligibility requirements for internationally qualified nurses as well as the requirements and standards for NPs. It’s also important to read the Council’s guidelines for completing the online application before you begin the application, as you must be able to provide specific documentation regarding your NP education and competency; failure to do so will delay your application.
If and when your application is approved, the Council will then send you information on how to apply for a practising certificate; which is an annual certificate required of all nurses before they can begin nursing in New Zealand.
Apply for Immigration
Once you’ve been successfully registered as an NP in New Zealand, you can then apply for a Visa. It’s important to note that NCNZ strongly recommends international nurses complete their registration before applying for immigration into the country, as it’s often that your application for a Visa into the country will be dependent on such. The type of Visa for which you will need to apply for depends greatly upon your individual circumstances such as your purpose for relocating, how long you’re planning to stay, etc.
Begin Searching and Applying for Jobs
Per the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, it is perfectly acceptable and legal for you to apply for jobs before you’ve been approved for a Visa. In fact, many employers in the country may even be willing to help you with your Visa application. When you’re ready to begin searching and applying for open positions, read these key tips for making your job search in N.Z. a successful one.