Rules for foreign nurses clarified

By Lincoln Tan

The Nursing Council says it will post its guidelines for overseas applicants on its website, following a meeting with Health Minister Tony Ryall, who raised concerns about cost and compliance issues for foreign nurses.

The minister had called for the meeting with the chairman and chief executive of the Nursing Council after he received complaints from some industry professionals.

They criticised a lack of transparency in the council's registration process for foreign nurses and accused it of making money from the $485 fee it charges to assess the eligibility of nurses trained overseas.

"I have asked the Nursing Council to work with the Ministry of Health on a range of workforce issues and to help ensure there is a good-quality nursing workforce," Mr Ryall said.

"We discussed a number of issues, and they include compliance costs for nurses and English language requirements."

Nursing Council acting chief executive Carolyn Reed said the guidelines would be available within the next two days.

"The council is working hard to provide clear and transparent guidelines for all applicants for registration in New Zealand."

She also rejected claims that the fee it charges to assess overseas-trained nurses is a form of "revenue gathering". It was necessary to ensure nursing standards, she said.

The fee also included $50 for registration and $15 for guidelines for cultural safety, the Treaty of Waitangi and Maori Health.

"We need to be assured that every nurse applying for registration in New Zealand is adequately prepared to provide safe and competent nursing care, thus we review every application individually."

- NZ Herald

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