Bachelor of Nursing

Bachelor of Nursing

Bachelor of Nursing

Bachelor of Nursing

SIT’s School of Nursing (previously Southland Polytechnic) has been delivering nursing education for 40 years and has a long history of successful graduates.

A career in nursing can take you around the world! Nurses are always in demand.

Government vaccine mandates finished on Monday 26 September - this means you will no longer need to supply evidence of your Covid-19 vaccination status to apply for our nursing programmes. However, most clinical placement providers will want to see evidence that you are vaccinated against COVID-19. We cannot guarantee clinical placements without this evidence, as per our clinical placement agreements with clinical providers. Clinical placements are an integral part of our nursing programmes and you'll need to complete these to be able to successfully achieve your qualification.

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Key Details

Three years full-time

Study Modes:
On Campus
To be advised – Please Enquire

This programme is eligible for the Zero Fees Scheme.

  • No Tuition Fees
  • Direct Material Costs: $1,750(Y1), $1,635(Y2) and $1,635(Y3) (GST inclusive).
  • International Fees can be found here.
  • The SIT Zero Fees Scheme (ZFS) is subject to NZ government policies.


  • SIT’s School of Nursing (previously Southland Polytechnic) has been delivering nursing education for 40 years and has a long history of successful graduates.
  • Our enthusiastic staff have a wide range of nursing experience within NZ and overseas.
  • Specialist equipment includes a nursing simulation suite with computerised mannequins and life size models of body parts, as well as a large library of DVD resources and text books.
  • Clinical placements throughout Southland and Otago provide real-life experience in many diverse nursing environments
  • A career in nursing can take you around the world! Nurses are always in demand.

The Bachelor of Nursing is a three-year degree programme which provides students with the theoretical knowledge and practical skills appropriate for employment in a wide and growing number of nursing careers.

The programme has as its core, theoretical and practical work in nursing – including principles relating to primary health, acute and chronic nursing care, mental health and mental illness throughout the lifespan.  The programme also recognises the importance of the cultural dimensions of nursing.

The Bachelor of Nursing has a strong applied component to allow students to enter the workforce proficient in a range of additional strengths including health promotion, illness prevention, evidence-based practice, the ability to provide nursing care in a medical and surgical context, as well as the provision of emergency nursing care.

This programme will enhance opportunities for students to develop a broad understanding of nursing, thus preparing them for professional practice or further advanced study in this area.

The Bachelor of Nursing has been designed to prepare graduates for a wide variety of nursing careers in community and hospital situations.  It is expected Bachelor of Nursing graduates will make a positive contribution to the health of people of New Zealand and the wider world.  This contribution will be as nurses demonstrating caring, competent, safe nursing practice in partnership with individuals, groups and communities.

Increasing complexity of health care needs requires well-educated, competent and compassionate nurses who are able to:

  • Comprehend, critique and apply knowledge from nursing and other related disciplines in an appropriate and safe practice context.
  • Facilitate the competent and safe provision of nursing care to groups and individuals with a variety of settings.
  • Competently practise within the legal and ethical parameters of the nursing profession.
  • Recognise, value, critique and apply research to nursing practice and knowledge.
  • Meet the requirements of the Nursing Council of New Zealand for registration as a Registered Nurse.

The degree follows four themes – Professional Practice, Praxis, Health and Society and Health Sciences.  

Throughout the programme students are involved in learning in clinical settings in a variety of community and hospital areas.  By the end of the programme it is expected students will have integrated the theory and practice framework to develop into confident beginning practitioners.

There is free car parking around SIT and at many of the local clinical placements.

Year One operates within a health and wellness framework. Students are encouraged to develop as autonomous and reflective learners. 200 hours of beginning practicum experiences in year one focus on healthy development through the lifespan, health promotion, health education, health assessments and care of the well elderly in residential and private homes.

In Year Two, students further develop core and specialised skills and theoretical knowledge and are provided with the opportunity to develop analytical and research skills. Year Two papers focus on ongoing knowledge, critical analysis and reflection development, and the development of competencies in nursing practice. Emphasis continues to be on partnership and respect for individuals. 430 practicum hours are offered in a variety of health and illness settings in hospitals, hospital related services within the community, and primary health settings (occupational health, public health, well child, GP/PHO settings).

Year Three requires in depth knowledge of specialised content of acute care and mental health.  Year Three papers aim to complement and build on the students' existing theoretical and practical knowledge established in Years One and Two. The student will be encouraged to apply critical reasoning in increasingly complex practice settings in community and hospital facilities.

Year Three provides students with the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to practice as confident safe beginning practitioners. In this year, 880 practicum hours are provided to enable students to develop the competencies required of beginning practitioners.  400 of the practicum hours are offered as a transition placement where students gain extended experience as part of a health care team in community or hospital placement.  As far as possible students will take responsibility for their choice of transition to practice paper.

Paper Descriptions:
Year One

BN511 Professional Issues in Nursing
This paper lays down the foundation principles for the profession of nursing.  It will explore the modern practice of nursing within a variety of environments and examine how the role of nursing has changed over time.  Students will begin to explore their own values and beliefs and how this may impact upon their delivery of nursing care.

BN521 Primary Health and Health Promotion
This paper will enable the student to gain an understanding of the principles of communication, cultural safety and primary health care. Students will examine the role of the nurse in primary health care and health promotion.

BN522 Fundamentals of the Art and Science of Nursing Practice
The purpose of this paper is to introduce the student to the fundamentals of the art and science of nursing within New Zealand/Aotearoa.  The student will have the opportunity to develop and progress their theoretical knowledge and clinical skills in the clinical suite and health care facilities.

BN531 Health and Social Sciences 1
The student will be introduced to social science principles related to growth and development, health psychology, psychology and sociology providing a comprehensive theoretical foundation for nursing practice.

BN541 Health Sciences 1
The purpose of this paper is to introduce students to the biological, chemical and physical principles upon which human body structure and function is based, providing a sound scientific basis for the development of safe and effective nursing practice.

Year Two

BN611 Professional Issues in Nursing 2
This paper will enable the student to develop knowledge of the nature of nursing and how practice is developed and delivered within New Zealand / Aotearoa. It will build on the knowledge gained in BN511.

BN623 The Art and Science of Nursing Practice
Students will have the opportunity to further develop and apply their theoretical knowledge and skills in a wide variety of primary and secondary health care settings to clients across the lifespan utilising reflection and critical thinking.

BN631 Health and Social Sciences 2
Students will further examine the significance of cultural safety within Aotearoa/ New Zealand and the relationship of the Treaty of Waitangi to healthcare and Kawa Whakaruruhau.  

Students will develop a holistic approach to caring for the family / whanau recognising the diversity of needs identified in the New Zealand Health Care Strategy and the Primary Health Care Strategy.

BN641 Health Sciences 2
Students will further develop their knowledge base established in BN541. Understanding of selected aspects of anatomy, physiology, microbiology, biochemistry, pathophysiology and pharmacology will be gained to consolidate a sound theoretical basis for safe nursing practice.

Year Three

BN711 Leadership and Professional Issues in Nursing
The purpose of this paper is to review the role of the nurse within organisations and to study the impact of national and international policies on the delivery of nursing care.

BN721 The Art and Science of Nursing in  Acute Settings
The purpose of this paper is to consolidate the art and science of nursing to increasingly complex health consumers, while applying health science knowledge to the comprehensive analysis of specific health themes.  Students will be expected to demonstrate appropriate decision making skills, utilizing evidence based practice and being actively involved in multidisciplinary teams.

BN722  The Art and Science of Nursing in Mental Health Settings  
This paper will provide an informed and contemporary theoretical and practical basis of mental health nursing to the student learner.  Students will have the opportunity to apply knowledge, behaviours, skills, and competencies integral to mental health nursing practice within a variety of learning environments.

BN723 The Art and Science of Nursing Practice-Transition to Graduand
The purpose of this paper is to consolidate all the components of the Bachelor of Nursing programme to enable the student nurse to transition from student to registered nurse through practice under the supervision of an experienced preceptor.


Graduates will have the knowledge and skills to practise nursing and they will be eligible to sit the Nursing Council of New Zealand Examination for registration in the Registered Nurse scope of practice. Once formally registered with the Nursing Council of New Zealand, graduates will work as nurses in primary, secondary and tertiary health settings; they will be critically reflective practitioners of nursing and they will practise within a framework of cultural safety. 

A nursing career offers great opportunities for men and women from a variety of cultures and walks of life.  Nursing is a partnership with people to improve their health. This includes assisting children, adults or older people recovering from physical or mental illness in hospital, or their own homes.  Health promotion in nursing may involve people in schools, the workplace, marae or health centres.

Máori nurses help promote health and well being to Te Iwi Máori in culturally appropriate nursing services. Pacific Island nurses can use their skills to benefit the health status of their people both in New Zealand and in the Pacific Islands.

There are opportunities for career development in many areas including practice, teaching, management, and research both in New Zealand and overseas.

The Head of the School of Nursing has a responsibility to ensure that all applicants meet the requirements to enter a nursing programme. As this is the beginning point of fitness for registration, in accordance with section 16 of the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act, guided by the Nursing Council of New Zealand, applicants whose first language is not English must achieve a score of 6.5 in an IELTS assessment (or equivalent) in each category: reading, writing, listening and speaking in one sitting prior to acceptance.

School Leavers

University Entrance requirements - NCEA Level 3: three subjects at Level 3 or above made up of the following:

  • 14 credits each, in three approved subjects, preferably  in Science, Mathematics and English
  • Literacy, 10 credits at Level 2 or above made up of five credits in reading and five credits in writing
  • Numeracy, 10 credits at Level 1 or above made up of specified achievement standards available through a range of subjects, or Unit standards package of three numeracy unit standards 26623, 26626, 26627.  All three required.

Or an overseas qualification which is considered to be the equivalent of the above.

Mature Applicants
Applicants who do not meet the criteria stated above may be considered for the Bachelor of Nursing degree programme if they are over the age of 20 years at the date of commencement of the programme and have demonstrated academic ability to undertake the undergraduate nursing degree. For example, this means successful completion of a programme of study at NZQF Level 4 or above.

For your group interview, you will have 30 minutes to complete a numeracy assessment. You can expect 30 questions. Download a sample of 10 questions here, which are reflective of the types of questions you can expect.


English Language Requirements

Applicants, whose first language is not English, or who come from a country where the language of instruction in schools is not English, are required to provide evidence of having achieved one of the following:

NCEA Level 3 with University Entrance, or

an International Baccalaureate Diploma or Cambridge A- level qualification for which the teaching and assessment was conducted in English; or

Cambridge Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (CELTA), or Trinity College London Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (CertTESOL); or

Successful completion of all primary education (being the equivalent of New Zealand primary school years 1 to 8) and at least three years of secondary education (being the equivalent of three years from New Zealand secondary school years 9 to 13) at schools in  either New Zealand, Australia­, Canada, the Republic of Ireland, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States one of the countries listed in Rule 18.5 where the student was taught using English as the language of instruction; or

Successful completion of at least five years of secondary education (being the equivalent of New Zealand secondary school years 9 to 13) at schools in either New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the Republic of Ireland, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States where the student was taught using English as the language of instruction; or

Successful completion of a Bachelor ‘s Degree, Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma, Bachelor Honours degree, Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma, Masters’ Degree or Doctoral Degree, the language of instruction of which must be in English and which must be  from a tertiary education provider from New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the Republic of Ireland, South Africa, the United Kingdom or the United States or

Successful completion of one of the following internationally recognised proficiency tests listed below to the level required of the programme of study and with all scores achieved in a single test during the preceding two years:

  • IELTS test - Academic score of 6.5 that includes a score of at least 6.5 in each of Reading, Listening, Writing and Speaking.
  • TOEFL Paper based test (pBT) - Score of 590 (with an essay score 5.5 TWE)
  • TOEFL Internet based test (iBT) - Score of 79 (with a writing score of 21)
  • Cambridge English Examination – C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency with a score of 176.  No less than 169 in each skill
  • OET – Minimum of Grade C+ or 300 in all sub-tests
  • NZCEL - a) Level 5 (Academic) or (Professional), b) Level 5
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic) - PTE (Academic) score of 58 with no band score lower than 50
  • Language Cert – C1 Expert IESOL (LRWS) with HIGH PASS and no less than PASS in each skill or c2 Mastery IESOL (LRWS) with PASS and no less than Pass in each skill.
  • ISE III with no less than pass in any band

Frequently Asked Questions

Can the Bachelor of Nursing be completed part time?
The Bachelor of Nursing is a 3 year full time course. Under exceptional circumstances, students can take up to a maximum of 5 years at the discretion of the Head of School of Nursing.

Will I be required to work weekends and nights?
Yes. The courses require that you will undertake placements that require you to work shifts, nights and weekends. People are unwell 24/7.

Are all the placements in Invercargill?
No. We use a variety of placements from Queenstown, Gore, and Bluff and surrounding towns. Students will be required to make their own travel arrangements.

I have a criminal conviction – do I need to declare it?
Yes. All criminal convictions must be declared to the Head of School of Nursing before the course commences. Some criminal convictions may prohibit you from continuing your training.

Does a place on the pre-entry course guarantee a place on the Bachelor of Nursing course?
No. The pre-entry course prepares you for the academic study on the Bachelor of Nursing but it does not necessarily guarantee you a place on either the New Zealand Diploma of Enrolled Nursing or Bachelor of Nursing course.

I don’t have sciences or maths – does that matter?
Yes. Nursing is heavily based in the sciences and it is recommended that you have undertaken some studies in both.

Is there a list of recommended text books?
Yes. This is sent out with your acceptance letter.

Are the course holidays the same as the school holidays?
Not always. Whilst every effort is made to match school holidays this is not always possible. Timetables are given out on orientation day so this will give you plenty of time to organise childcare. You may need to organise childcare as you could be on a clinical placement or in class.

Are there any part-time / member of the public papers?
No not in nursing. If you are looking for some preparatory study, you may wish to consider Health Science papers; Massage papers; or Computing skills.

Do I need a current first aid certificate?
YES you do. You must have a current basic life support certificate. This is required before you start (if possible).

Do I require any diagnostic testing?
Yes. In order to protect both yourself and other patients. You will be sent a laboratory form with your acceptance letter.

Do I need to have had the covid vaccine and booster?
Yes as part of the health profession this vaccine is mandated.

Information for Bachelor of Nursing applicants wishing to transfer in from another School.

  • We do not take people into Year 3 of the Bachelor of Nursing
  • Students wishing to transfer must obtain a reference from their current Head of School and give permission for the Head of School to be contacted by SIT
  • Students wishing to gain Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) must provide a transcript and copies of all the related outcomes for that course. There is a charge for the RPL process. Any RPL for a second year clinical paper has to be approved by Nursing Council. RPL is not automatic and careful consideration is given to matching up outcomes – this is a lengthy process and may require a student to submit an assessment.
  • There is no national curriculum and therefore applicants need to acknowledge that they may have to repeat part of their first or second years, thereby increasing their length of study
  • Students need to think very carefully about why they are transferring
  • Any students wishing to transfer must meet the entry criteria for the SIT Bachelor of Nursing programme
  • There is no July intake - you cannot transfer mid-year.

To satisfactorily complete and be awarded the Bachelor of Nursing a student must achieve the successful completion criteria for each paper of the Bachelor of Nursing and attend a minimum of 80% of scheduled learning activities of each paper. This amounts to a completion of a minimum of 360 credits.

The Bachelor of Nursing programme comprises three years of study.  Southern Institute of Technology will in this timeframe and where this is within Southern Institute of Technology's control, endeavour to make appropriate provision for enrolled students to obtain required practical experience in order to complete this programme and to meet New Zealand Nursing Council requirements to sit the New Zealand Nursing Council State Finals Examination. Prospective applicants must be aware however, that, while Southern Institute of Technology is committed to ensuring that all students obtain the appropriate clinical requirements before sitting the New Zealand Nursing Council State Finals Examination, that circumstances beyond Southern Institute of Technology's control may prevent the student from completing required clinical practical placements within the three year timeframe.  Such circumstances may for example include sudden regional changes in medical placement availability as well as other factors.

A list of required and recommended textbooks will be available from the SIT Bookshop on the 03 December 2022.

Please note that textbooks need to be ordered at least 3-4 weeks prior to the commencement of your study

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