Nurse Practitioners (NPs) in New Zealand represent a pivotal element in the healthcare landscape, offering a unique blend of nursing and medical care. Their role, often misunderstood or undervalued, is essential in providing comprehensive healthcare services, especially in areas with limited access to doctors.

The Expanding Role of Nurse Practitioners

Nurse practitioners are not just registered nurses; they have undergone additional training and education to provide a higher level of care. In New Zealand, they are registered with the Nursing Council and hold the legal authority to perform tasks that go beyond the traditional scope of registered nurses.

Advanced Skills and Responsibilities

  • Clinical Expertise: NPs have advanced education in healthcare, including a clinical master’s degree. This equips them with a deeper understanding of medical conditions, allowing for accurate assessment, diagnosis, and management of both common and complex health conditions.
  • Diagnostic Abilities: They can order and interpret diagnostic and laboratory tests, a responsibility typically associated with doctors.
  • Prescribing Medications: NPs in New Zealand have the authority to prescribe medicines within their area of competence, similar to medical practitioners.

Key Contributions to Healthcare

Nurse practitioners’ involvement in healthcare is not just about filling gaps; they bring a holistic approach to patient care.

Holistic and Patient-Centred Care

  • Comprehensive Approach: NPs consider the entire spectrum of a patient’s health, including physical, emotional, and social factors. A comprehensive approach often leads to better patient outcomes.
  • Education and Guidance: They play a crucial role in educating patients and families about health conditions, treatments, and preventive measures, fostering a deeper understanding of health and wellness.

Impact on Healthcare Delivery

  • Diverse Settings: NPs work across various healthcare settings, including primary care, hospitals, and community health facilities. Their presence in rural and underserved areas is particularly significant.
  • Improving Access and Efficiency: By taking on roles traditionally held by doctors, NPs help reduce wait times and improve access to healthcare services, especially in primary care.
  • Advancing Healthcare Practices: Their work contributes to evolving healthcare practices and improved population health outcomes.

Understanding and Recognition of the Role

Despite the significant contributions of nurse practitioners, there is a need for greater understanding and recognition of their role in the healthcare system.

Challenges in Perception

  • Misconceptions: Some people may not fully understand the extent of NPs’ capabilities, training, and legal authority, leading to underutilisation of their skills.
  • Need for Advocacy: There is a need to advocate for the recognition of NPs as key healthcare providers who can operate at a level comparable to doctors in many aspects of patient care.

Future of Nurse Practitioners in New Zealand

The future of healthcare in New Zealand sees NPs playing a more prominent role, especially as the demand for healthcare services grows. The unique combination of nursing and medical expertise that NPs bring is indispensable in providing high-quality, patient-centred healthcare services.

Nurse practitioners in New Zealand are much more than just advanced nurses; they are integral health professionals who combine advanced nursing knowledge with medical expertise. They play a crucial role in expanding healthcare access, especially in primary care and underserved areas, and their impact on patient outcomes and healthcare delivery is profound.

Meet Our Nurse Practitioners

Nurse Practitioner GenGenevieve Brebner

Genevieve’s career began at Stanford University Hospital where she completed a residency program in Neonatal Intensive Care.  Following this she broadened her scope for over 12 years in Urgent and Emergency Care in Canterbury. Genevieve continues to have a special interest in infants and children and enjoys advocating for those with neurodiversity and disabilities.  She has the role of Clinical Lead at Phoenix Health Hub.

Nurse Practitioner JulzJulienne (Julz) Demegilio-Rose

Julz has a broad background of clinical experience, most recently in Urgent Care and Emergency Department. She has a passion for working with youth and under-served populations and those experiencing mental health challenges. Julz also has extensive experience in sexual health and womens health. She lives in North Canterbury with her husband, toddler and a menagerie of farm animals.


Come say hi to our friendly nurse practitioners at Phoenix Health Hub!