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Credentialing is a process that includes education, training and support for knowledge transition for health practitioners to support and enable the development of specific clinical responsibilities in designated health environments.

Health practitioners in the Primary Mental Health and Addiction Credentialing Programme are enrolled nurses, registered nurses and nurse practitioners. The specific clinical responsibilities are mental health and addiction practice. This includes assessment, prevention, early intervention and at times referral. This is underpinned by knowledge, theory and understandings of New Zealand’s mental health and addiction sector and the nurse's local community. The designated health environments for this programme are primary healthcare settings. This has included nurses working in primary care clinics, iwi health providers, schools, youth health hubs, Ara Poutama Corrections NZ health teams, speciality health clinics, district and public health services, Tamariki Ora services and NGOs providing a variety of primary health-related services.

Credentialing enhances the nurses’ practice and contributes to their services’ responsiveness to its population experiencing mental health and addiction challenges. Credentialing is an ongoing process for nurses and supports and fosters professional development required by the New Zealand Nursing Council and a wide variety of health employers.

The Primary Mental Health and Addiction Credentialing Programme was first developed as a collaboration between Manaia PHO, Te Ao Maramatanga New Zealand College of Mental Health Nurses Inc and Health Workforce New Zealand in 2012. It is delivered by a range of local PHO, DHB and community-based providers from across Aotearoa in close collaboration with Te Ao Māramatanga New Zealand College of Mental Health Nurses Inc.

The Primary Mental Health and Addiction Credentialing Programme has been funded by Te Pou o te Whakaaro Nui since 2015. Recently, the programme has been resourced by new funding through the Government’s 2019 Wellbeing Budget. This ongoing and supportive funding relationship is part of Te Pou’s national workforce development in the mental and addiction health sector.

Existing credentialing programmes 2020

  • Marlborough
  • Nelson
  • Whanganui
  • Auckland
  • Lakes
  • Bay of Plenty
  • Hawkes Bay
  • Northland

Other regions are currently making plans to develop programmes and enquiries can be directed to Lois Boyd, Director of Credentialing - 027 480 807

Te Ao Māramatanga New Zealand College of Mental Health Nurses (NZCMHNs)

The college is the lead professional body for mental health, addiction and disability nurses. The College directs the credentialing programme and assesses the transition of new knowledge into practice, before awarding a credential. Nurses on the programme are connected into the College and can become associate members when credentialed.

Further information is available on the college website: or by contacting Lois Boyd.

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