A nurse Education and Training Board for New Zealand

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A proposal for structured collaboration across the nursing workforce

A standing body of leading nurses involved in the practice of nursing and the education of nurses would have a major role in giving leadership to the system we have for educating nurses now in New Zealand. As a professional development board, it needs to have the authority to review and challenge the priority given to the allocation of resources across individual education and development programmes as done by the CTA at present, as well as the authority to develop, monitor and report on the application of common practices. Along with the Ministry of Health, DHBNZ and the Nursing Council of New Zealand, the new board needs the authority to have access to statistical information from all relevant sources, and the capacity to compile new health service-wide measures where relevant. This would usually be done in collaboration with these other bodies. In addition, the board will need to be able to fulfil the following roles:

Directing the overall relevance of nurse education

  • To provide insight into what we need to know to oversee and manage the nurse education system as a whole, rather than just its many components.

  • To report on issues of nurse education that would increase the effectiveness and relevance of nurse education, and the quality of the nurse workforce, and to advise on necessary actions

  • To highlight common approaches that increase the quality of nurse education

  • Oversee initiatives to increase the share of nurses who are Maori or Pacific, and the way in which nurse education gives all nurses the capacity function well in all cultural settings

Oversee resource allocation

  • To match the resources available for nurse education to the priorities identified by the board given the situation in DHBs and any particular direction of Ministers

  • Oversee financial contracts let by the CTA or its equivalent, and advise on shifts in need

Monitoring and reporting

  • Monitor the trends in the nurse workforce and report regularly on number of new registered nurses needed to sustain services over the next two decades

  • To monitor those parts of the nurse education system that most determine its capacity to meet the needs of the public

Oversee integration of education and practice

  • Strengthen the linkages between post graduate nurse education and vocational pathways for nurses

  • Oversee the pathways across nurse education programmes, from the various entry points, roles and scopes of practice that exist at the time

  • To collaborate with the Medical Training Board and the training bodies of other health professionals, in the advancement of the education and training of the future health workforce

The proposed Nurse Education and Training Board would meet monthly.

The work of the board would be supported by the Ministry of Health. The Director-General of Health would be an advisory member.

The members of the board would be appointed by the Minister of Health, for their individual capacity to contribute to the functioning of the board. The number of members would be ten to twelve.

Those areas where it would be necessary for the board to have considerable competence among its members that would include:

  • Nursing practice in a variety of settings in particular, both hospitals and primary care

  • Nursing practice in a variety of different specialties,

  • Involvement in the health of Maori and Pacific communities

  • Teaching and mentoring of nurses in the New Zealand education system

  • Leading change in the public sector

  • Management of the health system in New Zealand

  • A current student in nurse education

The board would have an annual budget to support projects it initiated and meeting costs.

Strengthening collaboration across the various health workforces

There are many matters of importance to nursing that involve other health professions. There are insufficient forums for addressing issues that can be both complex and intensely debated within and across professions, yet these are the issues that will increase the adaptability of health services, and stretch the accessibility of services across regions and population groups that usually miss out when rationing of resources becomes necessary.

There are large potential benefits from interdisciplinary collaboration in many issues that affect nurses. These include:

  • Roles, clinical placements, skill evolution, common training, coherence of training pathways, interdependence of skill/role shifts

  • Enhancement of existing networks

  • Developing an evolutionary approach to managing the Interdependence of roles

  • Look at the coherence of workforce trends across the health service and the indirect impact of workforce issues in particular fields

  • Impact of shift in medical student intake from 2015, compared to that for nurse. By 2015, there will be approximately two new nurses for every new doctor entering practice in New Zealand. Currently there are about five nurses for every doctor in New Zealand

The logical endpoint of cross professional collaboration would be a health education and training authority.

H. The Terms of Reference set by the Minister of Health

Committee on Strategic Oversight for Nursing Education


The Committee on Strategic Oversight for Nursing Education is established by the Minister of Health in March 2009 to explore whether a formal body, such as a Training Board, is required to oversee and improve the education of nurses in New Zealand.

The Committee is established in response to the Minister’s desire to ensure the nursing profession has access to strategic education and development opportunities comparable to those now established for medicine through the Medical Training Board.

The Committee is established by, and accountable to, the Minister of Health.

The function of the Committee is to explore whether the New Zealand nursing profession would benefit from a formal body or structure to provide strategic oversight to nursing education.
In undertaking this task and identify education needs, the Committee will consult widely within the nursing profession including, but not limited to, the following groups and agencies.

  • New Zealand Nurses Organisation

  • College of Nurses Aotearoa

  • Nurse Executives of New Zealand

  • District health board Directors of Nursing

  • Nursing Council of New Zealand

  • DHBNZ Nursing and Midwifery Workforce Strategy Group

  • Council of Maori Nurses

  • Nurse Educators in the Tertiary Sector

  • Clinical Training Agency, Ministry of Health

  • Private Surgical Hospitals Association

  • Tertiary Education Commission.

Reporting requirements

The Committee will report its findings and recommendations to the Minister of Health within three months of commencing the work. The Committee will brief the Minister on progress with the work as required.


The Committee will be comprised of Mr Len Cook.

Servicing the Committee

The Ministry of Health’s Nursing Team and Strategic Workforce Development Unit will provide administrative, analytical and policy support to the Committee in undertaking the task.

Terms and conditions
The Committee is appointed for the duration of the task and will stand down when the final report is presented to the Minister of Health. The term of the Committee may be extended by the Minister if follow up work is required.

The Minister may add members to the Committee if required for successful completion of the task. Any additional members must be notified to the House of Representatives.

Mr Cook, and any future member, may at any time resign from the Committee by advising the Minister in writing. The Minister may terminate the membership of Mr Cook, or any subsequent additional members, for inability to perform the functions of office, neglect of duty, or misconduct, proved to the satisfaction of the Minister.

Conflicts of interest

Mr Cook, or any subsequent additional member of the Committee, must perform their functions in good faith, honestly and impartially and avoid situations that might compromise their integrity or otherwise lead to conflicts of interest.

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