Gerontology Acceleration Programme (GAP)

Applications for the 2024/2025 Gerontology Acceleration Programme are currently closed. If you have any queries please direct these to Rebecca Heyward,

What is the Gerontology Acceleration Programme (GAP)?

The Gerontology Acceleration Programme (GAP) commences mid-year and is a 12-month nursing acceleration programme which provides extended learning and experience for Registered Nurses working with our older adult population. This programme provides the opportunity for nurses to participate in clinical rotations which may include acute medical or surgical, older persons' health and aged residential care settings, in conjunction with postgraduate education to enhance participant's knowledge, skills and understanding of the older persons journey through the care continuum.

Applications are welcomed from any Registered Nurses who are working in acute care and older persons health and rehabilitation services, as well as those working in Aged Residential Care. 

Potential applicants please discuss your application with your line manager first.  ​


The programme was designed to help registered nurses expand their knowledge and skills in gerontology and to build an understanding of different areas of care along the continuum of the patient journey.  Since its first inception in 2013, GAP has supported 40 Registered Nurses.

The importance of GAP was reflected in a Ministry of Health Evaluation (2015) of the GAP programme, which clearly showed the development of confident leaders across the aged sector, whereby our nurses developed a stronger understanding of the patient journey across the continuum and enhanced clinical and day to day nursing practice, skills and knowledge. These findings are supported by one of our recently graduated nurse participants who felt that:

"GAP enhanced my nursing skills, as I'm more aware about the complexities of an older person in regards to their care and well being" GAP participant


2017-2018 GAP Mentors and Participants 

GAP Components

The programme consists of the following:

1.    Two clinical rotations 

These rotations are currently 13 weeks each and may take place in a variety of settings which may include:

    • Aged Residential Care Facilities (ARC),
    • Acute Medical and Surgical areas- Christchurch Hospital Campus
    • Older Persons' Health and Rehabilitation- Burwood Hospital​

2.     ​Post Graduate Nursing Education

    • Post Graduate Certificate in Health Sciences (Gerontology) 
    • Or 
    • Similar relevant post graduate education (with discussion from Nurse Coordinator, Nursing Workforce Development- ARC)

​3.     Clinical Mentorship ​

    • ​Provision of individualised mentorship throughout the programme

4.     Professional Development Recognition Programme (PDRP​)

    • ​​​Completion of PDRP Portfolio proficient level

Eligibility Criteria​

    1. Nursing Experience (Minimum 18 months)
    2. Available to work 0.8 – 1.0 FTE
    3. New Zealand Citizen or Permanent Resident (Unless you are able to self-fund postgraduate education -see Health Workforce NZ (HWNZ) Criteria)

GAP Experiences

Feedback from nurses who have participated in this programme clearly reflect a high level of growth and development in nursing knowledge and skills provided by secondment to new clinical areas, postgraduate education and mentorship through out the 12 month programme. This is reflected in some of the following statements from previous GAP participants:

“GAP made me a better Nurse. I gained new friends and mentors.... I have confirmed that Gerontology is my passion.....

    ........The GAP experience has taught me how to be a better nurse in caring for our older people considering the complexities and uniqueness of their needs. Having an in-depth knowledge and understanding about Gerontology helps me to effectively and safely formulate a plan of care which is person-centred that will address their own needs and concerns, which will then protect them and help them to have a better life outcome".                                                    

"GAP has given me more of an understanding and appreciation of working in both a residential care facility and the acute setting. This increased knowledge can now be shared with my colleagues and current patients to facilitate a smoother transition between sectors"                                                          


For further information

Please contact:

rounded corners top

Related Documents

rounded corners bottom
Page last reviewed: 18 March 2024