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HealthInfo Canterbury


Nursing roles and responsibilities are always changing to make sure that people get high-quality care and better health. The kind of job a nurse does depends on their level of training, qualifications and expertise.


Anyone working as a nurse in New Zealand must:

To renew their certificate every year, a nurse must prove:

Types of nurse

Registered nurse

Most nurses in New Zealand are registered nurses (RNs). They work independently as well as with other medical professionals. They:

Enrolled nurse

Enrolled nurses (ENs) work in your community, homes, or hospitals. They are supervised by a registered nurse or nurse practitioner. They:

Clinical nurse specialist

Clinical nurse specialists (CNSs) are expert nurses with special skills and knowledge in one clinical area. They usually have many years of experience and are often the main person you will talk to. They provide:

District nurse

District nurses (DNs) are registered nurses who work in the community. They:

Nurse practitioner

Nurse practitioners (NPs) are highly skilled registered nurses with advanced education and clinical training. NPs work in both hospitals and the community. You may see a nurse practitioner instead of a GP. An NP can refer you to a specialist and also consult with a GP if necessary.

This video by the Ministry of Health’s acting Chief Nursing Officer Dr Jill Clendon tells you more about what a nurse practitioner does:

Plunket nurse

Plunket nurses are registered nurses with extra professional qualifications, who work in your community. They work with families with children from birth up to the age of five to promote health and prevent illnesses.

Practice nurse

Practice nurses are registered nurses who work in your general practice or health centre. They work in your community to plan nursing care, deliver treatment, and provide you and your whānau/family with health education.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Page created June 2019.


Page reference: 620107

Review key: HIPRN-296213