The Programme



Māramatanga The New Zealand College of Mental Health Nurses Inc, piloted the Primary Mental Health and Addiction Credentialing Programme in 2012-2013 in collaboration with Manaia Health PHO and local collaborators, in Northland.  The college was funded by Health Workforce New Zealand to support the local programme and develop the credentialing process.

In 2015 the Auckland Metro DHB’s collaborated with a range of primary health organisations across the Auckland Region to provide a credential programme.Co-ordinated by Comprehensive Care Ltd with support from Manaia PHO and the college, their first programme was delivered in 2015.Since 2016, the programme has been picked up and provided in 8 locations across New Zealand as a key aspect of local strategies to improve access to Mental Health and Addiction assistance in Primary Care settings.


The purpose of the programme is to improve nursing responses, to people seeking mental health and wellbeing and addiction assistance, in a primary healthcare setting.  The credentialing programme positions nurses working in primary care to positively contribute to the “any door is the right door” access and choice approach.

Primary healthcare nurses have the opportunity to access a locally provided programme to further develop their knowledge, skills, experiences and professional networks. A key part of the programme is providing professional supervision to support the reflective process and assist nurses to transition new knowledge and skills into their primary healthcare nursing practice.

Who attends?

The programme is designed for nurses, from all scopes of practice, that are not working in specialist Mental Health and Addiction roles, but who wish to develop their knowledge, skills and practice confidence to provide an integrated best practice response in their communities.Integrating mental health and addiction knowledge and skills, enhances a wide range of primary healthcare focused nursing roles.

Programme structure

Nurses attend 4-6 programme days (depending on local programme configuration) and are supported with professional supervision, reflective practice coaching and eLearning, to complete a total of 45 hours of learning and support to transition new knowledge and skills into practice

The current programme is based on 4 key learning objectives:

  • Mental Health and Addiction Practice in the New Zealand Context
  • Prevention and Early Intervention Best Practice
  • Engagement and Therapeutic Alliance in a Primary Care Setting
  • Working with People Experiencing Longer Term and/or Complex Challenges to their Health and Wellbeing

At the end of programme attendance, nurses submit an ePortfolio verifying attendance and 3 pieces of reflective writing that evidence the transition of new knowledge into practice.  The college receives this ePortfolio and arranges professional assessment, moderation and feedback.

College members, who are Mental Health and/or Addiction Nurses, with assessment experience, assess the ePortfolio and provide the nurses with professional nursing feedback.A credential is awarded and this is current for 3 years, at which time nurses engage in a re-credential process.