Deborah Cook & Jacinda King

204 – Supporting internationally qualified nurses to transition to New Zealand nursing practice

The Competency Assessment Programme (CAP) is a Nursing Council of New Zealand approved programme  that supports eligible Internationally Qualified Nurses (IQNs), and New Zealand (NZ) Registered Nurses to demonstrate that they are competent to practice. Ara Institute of Canterbury is an accredited provider of the CAP.

The purpose of this presentation is to provide an overview of strategies introduced by Ara and the Canterbury District Health Board to support IQNs to transition to NZ nursing practice. Many IQNs arrive directly from their home country prior to commencing the CAP. Challenges encountered in NZ typically include understanding the cultural differences between countries as well as lifestyle factors, communication including frequent use of colloquialisms, different models of nursing practice, and limited or lack of personal support systems.

In order to support IQNs, Ara’s CAP has been reviewed to improve the preparation of both the clinical areas and the IQN students prior to undertaking the clinical component of their course. ¬†Developments include: using the Dedicated Education Unit (DEU) model of clinical teaching and learning, education sessions and resources for DEU staff including the differing cultural backgrounds and previous clinical experiences of IQNs, and the introduction of an Objective Structured Clinical Examination and simulated clinical scenarios prior to their clinical placement.

These changes have helped to support the clinical learning experience of the IQN’s transitioning to nursing practice in NZ, and also added to the validity and reliability of the competence assessment process.

Key words: IQN; Support, Transition; and DEU.