Nursing Entry to Specialised Practice (NESP) Programme

The NESP programme is approved by the Nursing Council to apply theory to everyday nursing practice for nurses interested in working in mental health and addictions. 

Te Whatu Ora Whanganui - Whanganui Hospital in partnership with Whitireia Polytechnic is offering the Post Graduate Certificate New Entry to Specialist Practice (NESP). This programme provides a supported pathway (both clinical and educational) to enable new graduate nurses to receive specialist mental health and addiction nursing skill development in line with the 'Lets get real' framework for clinical practice.


The Te Whatu Ora Whanganui programme is for a 12 month period and provides a supported pathway, both clinical and educational. Clinical placements will be provided within our Acute Inpatient Service and Community Mental Health & Addiction Service. 


Our Nursing Council of New Zealand (NCNZ) approved programme is designed to ensure that through support, guidance and preceptoring, you are confident applying the theory you have learnt to your everyday nursing practice.


The NESP programme is the first stepping stone in a nursing career entering as a beginner practitioner and finishing as a competent nurse assessed against New Zealand Nursing Council competencies. Successful completion of the programme will result in achievement of competent level on the Professional Development Recognition Portfolio (PDRP) and a Postgraduate Certificate in Nursing (Mental Health). 


Professional Development and Recognition Programme (PDRP)


PDRP is a contemporary professional development framework which supports nurses and midwives to further develop knowledge and skills to provide safe and effective care. The programme acknowledges and develops a range of transferable clinical and personal skills, values and professionalism. It sets out a clinical career pathway for nurses from competent to expert/leadership practice. As a competence measurement tool, it makes explicit the minimum standards expected of every nurse. The programme has been approved by the Nursing Council of New Zealand.


 Preceptorship and Manaaki Hauora Support

Registered nurse (RN) graduates are supported by the programme coordinator, cClinical Nnurse Mmanagers, pPreceptors, Taituara role, Clinical Coaches and nNurse eEducators.


Each RN graduate has an assigned preceptor/s who have completed an approved academic education programme. Preceptors, and other members of the clinical team, work alongside RN graduates and support goal setting and opportunities for reflection.


Clinical supervision


Te Whatu Ora Whanganui offers regular group clinical supervision to NESP graduates. Clinical/professional supervision is a formal process which provides professional support to enable practitioners to develop their knowledge and competence, be responsible for their own practice and promote client/service users health outcomes and safety and in order to meet organisational, professional and personal objectives. The objectives relate to competence, accountability performance, continuing professional development and personal support.



 Te Uru Pounaumu - Cultural support


Te Uru Pounamu provides regular individual and group supervision for Māori nursing graduates to develop self-awareness about personal cultural beliefs and how these contribute when working with patients and whānau. Te Uru Pounamu is based on a mentor concept called ‘Tuakana – Teina’ where the more experienced nurse helps to guide or mentor the new nurse. This is a traditional Māori model of a buddy system.



 Eligibility criteria


At the time of application, applicants will:

  1. Hold a nursing degree from a New Zealand nursing programme approved by Nursing Council New Zealand
  2. Hold New Zealand nursing registration within the registered nurse scope of practice
  3. Hold a current annual practicing certificate that enables full participation in the programme
  4. Have graduated within the past 24 months and have not practiced as a registered nurse for longer than six


  1. Be a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident.


Timeframes and applications process


The Advanced Choice of Employment (ACE) programme facilitates the application and recruitment process for new graduate nurses applying for a NESP or Nursing Entry to Practice Programme (NETP). 

All applications for Te Whatu Ora Whanganui and primary care roles for 2022 must be made through the  ACE website

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The next round of applications for NETP & NESP will open in on 3rd April 2024


For more information email: NESP Coordinator or phone: 021437980