Top Ten commonly asked questions


1.     What is a credential?

Credentialing is a process used to assign specific clinical responsibilities to health practitioners on the basis of their education. It commences on appointment and continues for the period of employment.  A credential recognises the knowledge, skills and experience of a professional to perform agreed clinical activities within a designated environment. 

In the case of the Primary Mental Health and Addiction Programme, nurses attend programme days and at the end, submit 3 pieces of reflective writing that demonstrates the transition of new knowledge into practice.  These are assessed by members of the college, feedback provided and a credential awarded or resubmit requested.  This is an acknowledgement by the college that the Primary Healthcare Nurse has developed Mental Health and Addiction focused nursing practice that is appropriate to their role.


2.     Is a credential a qualification?

A credential is not a formal qualification but is acknowledgement of your commitment to continuing professional development and transition of new learning, relating to mental health and addiction, into your nursing practice


3.     How much does the programme cost?

The programme, credential and one years associate membership to the college, is provided free of charge.  Local arrangements regarding leave from the workplace to attend, do vary between localities and employers.


4.     What scopes of nursing practice are eligible?

All scopes of practice are included in the programme.  Nurse Practitioners, Registered Nurses and Enrolled Nurses have all found the programme to have enhanced their nursing practice.


5.     Will this programme change my scope of practice?

No.  This programme is designed to enhance your existing scope, within a primary healthcare setting. 


6.     When credentialed, will I be able to work in Mental Health and Addiction Services?

The credential itself, will not enable this but it will signal your interest in Mental Health and Addiction practice, to employers.  Occasionally, on completing the credentialing programme, a nurse will express interest in working in Specialist Mental Health roles and services. 

Working in these services will depend on the combination of your nursing scope and whether it includes mental health and addiction training at undergraduate level and knowledge, skills and experience that you have gained, since initial registration.

Employers will examine this on a case by case basis and some do offer additional orientation programmes and assistance with Nursing Council, if a change of scope is required.  As a credentialed nurse, and associate member of the college, you can seek advice from the college about this, that relates to your unique situation.


7.     Can I travel to another region to attend a programme if there is not one locally available?

This is not recommended as a key emphasis of the programme is exposure to local referral pathways.  If you are interested in either completing the programme in your locality or being on a waiting list for new programmes that are pending, please email to express your interest.


8.     Do I get a certificate?

When your assessment feedback and credentialing result is finalised, you will automatically get an electronic version of your credentialing certificate in your PIO Vault.  This can be downloaded as a PDF and shared with your employer if required.

Please keep us up to date with your postal address and you can advise if this has changed.


9.     How will I know when it’s time to re-credential?

If the college has your current email address, you will be contacted when you have been credentialed for 2 years and 6 months.  If you haven’t heard from us, check your email Spam filter before making contact.  When we email, we advise that your credential is due in 6 months and check to see if you still work in a primary healthcare focused role and wish to re-credential.  If you confirm with us that you do, we open up PIO and provide you with information about re-credentialing, at no cost.  

Your re-credential is due 3 years after the date on your credential certificate.  If you have any queries about this, please contact


10.  Who do I contact if I have problems accessing the online portal?

Check you are logging in here:

Remember Usernames and Passwords are case sensitive – do you have your capital letters in the right place?

If you are in PIO and not sure what to do, to complete your application, please take a look at the instruction letter emailed to you at the start of the programme.  Also click on the black camera icons so you can see what is expected on each page.

If the above doesn’t help, please contact for assistance.  Someone will be back in contact, within 1-2 days.