Bachelor of Nursing

This programme uses theoretical and clinical learning experiences designed to educate and support students to become a New Zealand registered nurse, capable of working in a range of multicultural settings.

Flexible study options

The Bachelor of Nursing delivered by blended learning i.e., face to face and online learning. This means some of your lessons may be delivered via Moodle (our online learning platform), which will require you to have a computer and internet access at home. Students will also need to be able to work from home should Covid-19 Alert Levels change.

Programme outline

For over thirty years nursing has been a major programme at Whitireia. During this time, Whitireia has developed a reputation for producing work-ready graduates who are highly regarded by industry.

Whitireia offers applicants the choice of three Bachelor of Nursing Degrees, all of which are approved by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority and meet the Nursing Council of New Zealand’s requirements for registration. These are the Bachelor of Nursing, Bachelor of Nursing Māori and Bachelor of Nursing Pacific.

All are three-year full-time programmes and offer a combination of theory i.e. classroom-based sessions at our Porirua campus and supported clinical experience, which is practical/hands-on work completed in a variety of community and hospital settings.

Year one

The first year of the degree has a primary health care focus and students are supported to become student nurses by gaining knowledge of nursing theory and research, bio sciences, Te Tiriti o Waitangi, cultural safety, sociology, communication and assessment. Students learn clinical skills in our on-site labs, as well as attending off-site clinical experiences in primary health care settings such as rest homes and community practice settings.

Year two

In the second year of the degree, students are independent learners and add to their knowledge through on-site workshops and context-based learning, with a focus on national health trends and simulated learning experiences. Block periods of off-site clinical learning are focused on direct client care in mental health, community and in-patient care settings.

Year three

In the final year, practice and theory knowledge is consolidated in preparation for the roles and responsibilities of a registered nurse. Integration of knowledge, focusing on contemporary professional nursing and health issues in the local and global context, enables students to further develop their clinical judgement, professionalism and leadership. In the second semester, students have an extended period in clinical practice and prepare for the Nursing Council State Final Examinations and registered nurse practice.

The Bachelor of Nursing delivered by blended learning i.e., face to face and online learning. This means some of your lessons may be delivered via Moodle (our online learning platform), which will require you to have a computer and internet access at home. Students will also need to be able to work from home should Covid-19 Alert Levels change.

Career options

Our Bachelor of Nursing qualifications enable graduates to work as a beginning staff nurse in all areas where registered nurses are employed, both nationally and internationally.

Nurses are present across the entire spectrum of health-service delivery and, with over 40,000 registered; they are the largest part of the professional health workforce. The most common image of the nurse is in a hospital ward or general practice but, in reality, nurses are found in much wider range of health and disability services settings.

There is a nurse at work in child-health services, residential-care facilities, mental-health services, community services, marae, independent-nurse clinics, public-health services, occupational health and safety, the defence forces, sexual-health services, ACC case management, prisons, policy development and implementation, health-service management, education and research – as well as in many other settings.

Becoming a registered nurse

Students who successfully complete a Bachelor of Nursing programme are required to sit the Nursing Council of New Zealand State Final Examinations. When these examinations are passed, the student applies to Nursing Council for registration as a Registered Nurse.

Future opportunities

On becoming a registered nurse, most graduates apply for new graduate programmes, which are run by many of the District Health Boards throughout New Zealand. Many graduates will also go on to complete postgraduate studies in nursing specialties i.e. Mental Health Nursing, Hospice Palliative Care and Primary Health Care. Some graduates will travel overseas, where a Bachelor of Nursing Degree from New Zealand is internationally recognised.

More detail about this qualification

Teaching and learning

Theory hours are usually 9.00am-4.00pm during theory weeks. A variety of teaching processes are used in the programme including lectures, tutorials, learning packages, workshops, student presentations, online learning and practical sessions in the simulation suites where ‘hands-on’ skills are learnt and practiced. If there are no timetabled classes, students are expected to utilise this time working in study teams or on independent study. Students will also be required to complete independent study and work on assignments during weekends and term breaks


To gain a Bachelor of Nursing Degree, students must complete a minimum of 1,100 hours of clinical experience (praxis). We are proud of the excellent working partnerships we have with our clinical providers, which include both the Hutt Valley and Capital & Coast District Health Boards and private, iwi and community organisations. Their assistance enables us to provide students with a variety of high-quality clinical placements, which allows students to experience the range of opportunities available as a registered nurse.

In year 1, students learn clinical skills in our simulation suites (which are set up like hospital wards), as well as attending off-site clinical experiences in rest homes and the community.

In years 2 & 3, students will have 14–16 clinical weeks each year; these are divided into blocks of between 3–9 weeks. Please note these clinical weeks may include weekends. Hours during clinical blocks will vary according to the clinical placement, i.e. hospital shifts can include mornings 7:00am–3:30pm, afternoons 2:45–11:15pm and overnight.

Due to the hours of work and location of placements throughout the greater Wellington region, it may be difficult to get public transport to the clinical placement and students may therefore require private transport to attend clinical placements. It is unlikely that students will get clinical placements in the area where they live. The cost of transport to and from clinical placements is the student’s responsibility. If students are working part time, priority must be given to attending clinical placements. We also recommend that no more than 10 hours per week are worked.

Academic entry requirements

Applicants must meet both the academic and suitability entry requirements.

Whitireia degree entry requirements or equivalent academic/work experience; evidence of suitability based on interview, health screening, safety check and referee reports.

International students

Proven equivalence of entry requirements plus IELTS 6.5 in each band, or equivalent.

Find your country's equivalent academic entry requirements here

* International fees shown here do not include insurance and administration (currently approximately $780 per year of study)

Suitability Requirements

Applications will be invited to attend an interview to determine the applicant’s preparedness for study and ability to meet the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 (if applicable), as well as any registration board requirements, in terms of being fit for registration. Applicants must be able to demonstrate the following qualities:

  • Effective interpersonal communication skills
  • Understanding of, and capability to, work in the professional health and social services sector
  • Commitment and motivation to succeed

Suitability will also be assessed with reference to the applicant’s health screening, safety check* and referee reports.

*Safety Check: The Children’s Act (2014) requires all students, who may work with children during the course of their study, to be safety checked. Safety checking includes: reference checking, work history, identity check, police vet and an overall assessment of the applicant’s safety to work with children.

Course-related costs

  • Health screening: $250* (must be completed prior to programme start)
  • Medical equipment: $120* (must be ordered prior to programme start)
  • Uniform: $200* (must be ordered prior to programme start)
  • Vaccinations (if required by clinical placement): Costs will vary depending on vaccination required i.e. flu, whooping cough
  • Stationary: $200*
  • Clinical Travel Costs: $200-$300 (Year One), $900-$1,200 (Year Two), $1,200-$1,600 (Year Three)*

*Confirmed 2022 costs and instructions of how to arrange vaccinations, order uniform etc. will be available on the  School of Health Moodle link in September.

How to apply

Application Closing Date: 29 October 2021.

Applications received after this date will only be processed if places are still available.

We recommend you apply online from the Whitireia website.

Before you start your online application, you will need to have the following documentation available to upload when requested:

*Give the referee report to someone who is willing to be your referee. Ask them to complete the forms and either return to yourself (so you can upload with your application), or scan and email to within 10 days. 

Alternatively, completed applications can be printed off and dropped into:

Enrolments, Whitireia New Zealand

3 Wi Neera Drive, Porirua

Credit recognition

If you have relevant skills and knowledge through study or experiences in work or other activities, you may be able to receive credit for them when enrolling in a programme of study. This is done through a process called credit recognition. Credit recognition may not exceed two-thirds of your chosen programme.

If you think you may qualify for credit recognition, please contact one of our Enrolment Advisors.

Further information can be found on the Credit Recognition page.


Similar programmes