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(Arizona State University Photo)

PHOENIX -- A group of nursing leaders from New Zealand are in the Valley this week, learning how Arizona assesses its nurses.

The New Zealand Council of Nursing traveled to Arizona after hearing about the state's Innovation Award for 2012. The monthly Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing honored collaborators from the Arizona State Board of Nursing, Arizona State University's College of Nursing and Health Innovation, and Scottsdale Community College for their work in improving nursing practices.

Their research provides a model that can be used by nursing regulatory boards to evaluate nurses, specifically those who have a history of making mistakes.

"We developed an evidence based and legally defensible process to evaluate competency of nurses," said Pamela Randolph, associate director of Education and Evidence Based Regulation at the Arizona State Board of Nursing.

Part of the process includes simulations with high-fidelity mannequins, in which a regulatory board can test a nurse on basic skills.

This week, nurses from New Zealand are watching some of the evaluations take place.

"We're actually seeing, on the ground, some people who are doing it [and] learning from the mistakes along the way," said Carolyn Reed, chief executive officer and registrar at the New Zealand Council of Nursing.

Reed was joined by educators from two nursing schools in New Zealand, the Manukau Institute of Technology and Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology.

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