Frequently Asked Questions | Northland DHB

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the relationship between the PDRP and the annual practising certificates?  Can I be audited by Nursing Council if I am on a PDRP?

A PDRP may be approved by Nursing Council as meeting the requirements for a practising certificate. The Regional PDRP was granted approval by Nursing Council of New Zealand in June 2006. Any nurse successful on this PDRP will not be audited by Council as s/he will already be deemed "competent" by Nursing Council.

The differences between PDRP and NCNZ audit are many. The PDRP exists to:

  • Advance professional development in nursing
  • Support nurses in demonstrating competency to the Nursing Council  
  • Fulfil obligations negotiated under the New Zealand Nurses Organisation Nurses’ MECA

Nursing Council is the statutory authority that governs the practice of nurses. The HPCA Act (2003) requires the Council to ensure the continuing competence of practitioners to protect public safety. Therefore competence evaluation is carried out through 5% random audit of nurses per annum. Council is legally obliged under the Act to monitor and audit competence. If the nurse audited has not provided sufficient evidence, Council will request that further evidence is supplied within a few weeks of notification before the annual practising certificate can be issued.

On the other hand, PDRP is an organisational programme that recognises and rewards the valuable contributions of our nurses to patient care outcomes. It offers support for nurses to demonstrate their level of practice on level 2 (Competent), level 3 (Proficient), level 4 (Expert) or Accomplished levels, in addition to providing exemption from Council’s audit processes. The level 2 (competent) is therefore very closely aligned to Council’s audit processes with only minimal differences.

In assessing competencies, feedback and encouragement is given to nurses submitting portfolios. If an applicant has not yet met the requirements of the level applied for, a supportive development plan is given. The goal of PDRP is to have nurses achieve and applicants regularly feedback how helpful the PDRP process has been.

It is vital to feel valued and appreciated for the important work nurses do. The PDRP is an excellent tool to provide individualised direct feedback on their nursing practice. 

Is there capping of numbers at applications to Proficient and Expert levels?

No, it is open to all who can demonstrate the criteria for each level have been met.

Do I have to do this?  Is being on a PDRP compulsory?

No, however proving competency to Nursing Council is and this is certainly a productive way to do so. You will also receive individual feedback.

How are the assessors selected and trained?

Click here for Applications to become an assessor; Applicants will require a letter of support from their line managers and/or Directors of Nursing. Assessors are trained to the NZ Qualifications Unit Standard 4098 for assessors by NorthTec. This training programme has been used by most DHBs nationally and has been found to be satisfactory. There is a moderation process to ensure consistency of assessor decisions.

How difficult is it to attain the "Expert" level of recognition and payment?

This level is sufficiently difficult in order to indicate that the expert level is a level which shows skill and expertise and as such is to be valued. The criteria set is consistent with national standards in other DHB programmes and complies with the national framework for PDRPs as per the MECA settlement. Criteria at the expert level is challenging and has been selected to differentiate expertise.

How long does the process take?

The process should take no longer than eight weeks from the date of submission, however, there are occasions where it may take longer, in which case you are notified that this is the case. 

How often do I need to submit a PDRP?

A PDRP is valid for 3 years once achieved.

What if I'm not a member of NZNO?

This does not stop you from joining the PDRP.

What does it mean at "Expert" level engages in postgraduate education or equivalent?

Postgraduate education is set at Level 8 and must be relevant to the area of practise. Postgraduate certificates, diplomas and Masters Degrees all meet this requirement.

The educational equivalence option reduces barriers for many nurses who have not had access to Level 8 education but who have achieved the equivalent knowledge, skills and attributes through other pathways. Nurses who have not done Level 8 education who plan to submit at Expert level would be required to supply evidence on professional activities that impact on practice at level 4. Consider: What professional development activities have you used to effect change in your area of practice and how have you implemented this and measured improvement?

How will I know which level of the PDRP I should submit under?

Read the criteria for the levels and decide which level your practice sits at. If you are not sure, you can discuss this with a trusted colleague, or a CNM.
Enter the PDRP at whatever level you feel you meet, remembering that you must show evidence required to meet that level.

If a colleague asks me to do a peer review, how will I know what information to give?

There is ongoing education around this process and a template is available that lists helpful phrases you may wish to view. Remember that under the new guidelines peer reviews are only necessary if the performance appraisal provides insufficient evidence or you do not have a nurse as a line manager.

Is there study leave associated with submitting a portfolio?

Staff working on preparing their portfolio or maintaining their skill levels associated with PDRP may require additional time to undertake research or study associated with the PDRP depending on your Employee Agreement. This may be negotiated with your CNM or DoN. For DHB staff please refer to the DHB/NZNO MECA (or other agreement) which outlines additional leave requirements or discuss with your CNM. DHB staff may also check their intranet for study leave requirements.

How much reflection am I expected to do on my professional development?

Nursing Council of New Zealand has recently issued new requirements regarding reflection on professional development activities.

Evidence of professional development hours (a minimum of 60 hours in the last three years) must be verified by your employer or nurse educator. This must also include a summary of the actual hours, signed by your employer or educator to confirm your participation. This person is to include his or her name, designation, address and phone number.

Council expects you to provide an overall statement of your learning, including three key activities you attended within the last three years Of these three key activities, you must explain what you did, what you learned and how each activity affirmed or influenced your practice. This information must be included within your PDRP portfolio. A template for professional development is available under Forms, Templates & Guidelines​

Last modified: