A nurse is a healthcare professional who takes care of and supports patients who are sick or injured.
Who is a nurse?
A nurse works with people of all ages who are sick or injured. You can see nurses in different coloured uniforms and badges in hospitals, clinics or other health centres.
In general, nurses can be classified into 3 categories based on their qualifications:
- Enrolled nurses – they take care of and support patients. They must have completed a diploma in nursing and passed the examination for an enrolled nurse.
- Registered nurses – they supervise enrolled nurses. They must have completed a degree in nursing and passed the examination for a registered nurse.
- Nurse practitioner or practice nurses – they work in GP clinics or surgeries and are able to provide health advice on long-term conditions or lead the clinic themselves. They can also prescribe medicines. They must have worked as a registered nurse for 4 years and completed a master's degree.
Some nurses are more specialised. They have had more training in certain aspects of health care, such as:
- children and young people
- older people
- people with physical disabilities
- people with mental health conditions
- people with learning disabilities
- emergency care
- operating theatre
- general practice.
What can a nurse help with?
A nurse has many roles and can help with many tasks, depending on their qualifications and where they work. These include:
- measuring temperature, blood pressure and other vital signs
- giving medicines and vaccines to people
- caring for people and supporting them
- communicating with doctors and other members of the healthcare team about patients' care
- monitoring patients' conditions and recording changes
- assessing, treating and supporting patients
- performing blood tests and other investigations
- providing advice and educating people on how to manage their conditions.
Where does a nurse work?
As a nurse works with a wide range of people, you can find them in hospitals, outpatient clinics, prisons, nursing homes, hospices, schools, industrial workplaces and rehab centers.
What training does a nurse have?
A nurse has to do at least 18 months to 3 years of training at university, depending on the type of qualification (diploma or degree), and be registered with the Nursing Council of New Zealand to work in New Zealand. Find out about different training options to become a nurse on the Careers NZ website.
- Registered nurse Careers, NZ