Credentialing - What you need to know


What is credentialing?

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. 

Is credentialing about qualifications?

No.  Education and training are part of the framework that supports credentialing.  Credentialing involves knowledge and skills and recognises continued learning, both formal and informal

Who can apply to be credentialed?

This credentialing programme is available to any enrolled, registered nurse or nurse practitioner, working in a primary healthcare setting, who has the knowledge, skills enhancement and experience to apply mental health and addiction assessment, referral and interventions in a primary care setting.  This program is available to both individuals and primary healthcare organisations.  

If you have any questions about the programme (after reading other information on this site), please contact either your local program co-ordinator or Lois Boyd, the Director of Credentialing on 0274380807 or  by email 

What does the nurse practising in a primary care setting, need to become credentialed?

The knowledge, skills and experience required for primary mental health care include:

How does credentialing fit with current professional development?

Participating in the credentialing program will assist nurses in primary care settings with ongoing professional development.

Credentialing activities can be included in a nurse’s professional development plan and included in recorded professional development hours.

How long will it take me to upskill and be eligible for a credential?

We recommend 45 hours of education focusing on the learning objectives outlined by the college.  Local programmes currently available offer 5 or 6 days, usually spread over 4-6 months

Is there a cost to become credentialed?

The credentialing funding is part-funded and supported by Te Pou o te Whakaaro Nui and a number of Te Pou workplace resources are recommended and reviewed with applicants as part of the programme.



There is currently a cost of $50 + GST for the credentialing process which includes one year of Associate membership to Te Ao Maramatanga - New Zealand College of Mental Health Nurses  

Other associated costs to the PHO/primary care nurse may be release time to participate in training and training costs

Does this credentialing mean the nurse will be a mental health nurse?

No. Credentialing means that a nurse will have specific skills in basic mental health and addiction assessment and intervention, that will enhance their skill set in the primary setting.  This is not at the specialist level required for mental health nursing.

What are the benefits for a nurse?

Credentialing enables nurses to have their clinical knowledge and skills in mental health and addiction assessed and recognised by Te Ao Maramatanga - New Zealand College of Mental Health Nurses.

As a credentialed nurse, they know their skills in mental health and addiction meet college credentialing standards and that they are supported to maintain and extend those skills in their workplace.

Credentialed nurses will also be an associate member of the NZCMHN which extends their professional network and sources of up to date information to support best practice.

What do employers need to do?

Employers will be expected to support credentialed nurses in the development and maintenance of their knowledge and skills required to both achieve and maintain their credentialed status.  This can include:

Why do we need Mental Health Credentialing in Primary Care?

We know that people experiencing mental health and addiction challenges are less likely to visit a primary care setting for their mental health or readily discuss their mental health concerns.  It is common for people presenting to healthcare providers with physical concerns, to have underlying and contributing mental health challenges, the most common being depression and anxiety.  We also know that a lot of postive and proactive assistance, offered early and with a positive and hopeful outlook, can be very effective and prevent future illness and disability.

Is this a ‘one off’ process? 

No.  Once a nurse has been credentialed, they will need to be re-credentialed every three years.  This is necessary to ensure their knowledge and skills in the credentialed clinical activities remain up to date and that their practice environment remains supportive in the safe use of the credentialed clinical activities in daily practice within a primary care setting.  Credentialed nurses are automatically contacted at 2 years and 6 months to start this process.

Are mental health nurses included in the credentialing project?

No.  This programme is not designed for nurses working in mental health settings or in specific primary care mental health targeted roles.  

How does credentialing affect a nurses scope of  practice?

Credentialing does not impact on the scope of practice or conditions for nurses.  Rather, it recognises discrete clinical activity sets and supports the development and ongoing maintenance of the knowledge and skills required within a defined practice setting.  It fits within the scope of all nurses.

How do I apply?

Take a look at the link to the Credentialing Application Guidelines.  Make contact with your local provider or contact Lois Boyd, Director of the College Primary Mental Health and Addiction Credential Programme to get started.  

Do I get a certificate?

When you are advised that your credential application has been successful you receive an electronic certificate both attached to the email and automatically lodged in your ePortfolio.  The college also issues printed certificates to every applicant and processes these in batches in July and February.  The certificate is designed with space on the back to place an updated 're-credentialing sticker' for every successful reapplication received.