Nursing Entry to Specialised Practice (NESP) Programme

Whanganui New Entry to Specialist Practice Programme: Mental Health and Addiction Nursing (NESP)


Whanganui District Health Board in partnership with Whitireia Polytechnic is offering the Post Graduate Certificate New Entry to Specialist Practice. This programme provides a supported pathway (both clinical and educational) to enable you as a new graduate nurse to receive specialist mental health and addiction nursing skill development in line with the Lets get real framework for clinical practice.


The Whanganui District Health Board (WDHB) programme is for a 12 month period. The programme provides a supported pathway, both clinical and educational. Clinical placements will be provided within our Acute Inpatient Service and Community Mental Health & Addiction Service with an introduction to Infant, Child & Adolescent Mental Health & Addiction Services and Forensic Services. Graduates who successfully complete the programme will be encouraged to apply for vacancies in our Mental Health & Addictions 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.


Graduates are valued in terms of workforce development of nurses wanting to work with our unique population demographics. Clinical placements are within hospital and community settings. Ongoing reviews of the programme over time ensure we continue to meet both the needs of the new graduate, the developing workforce and the community in which Health Care is delivered.


The NESP programme is the first stepping stone in a nursing career entering as a beginner practitioner and finishing the programme 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). Graduates who successfully complete the programme will be encouraged to apply for our Mental Health and Addiction nursing vacancies.


Professional Development and Recognition Programme (PDRP)


By the end of the year you will be expected to have developed a competency based personal professional portfolio for assessment and must achieve the competent level under the DHB Nursing Professional Development Recognition Programme which meets all of the Nursing Council of NZ competencies.


The Professional Development and Recognition Programme is a contemporary professional development framework which supports and assists nurses and midwives to further develop knowledge and skills to provide safe and effective care. The programme(s) acknowledge and develop a range of transferable clinical and personal skills, values and professionalism. As a professional development programme 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.



Registered Nurse graduates are supported by the NESP programme coordinator, Clinical Nurse Managers, Preceptors and Clinical Nurse Educator for Mental Health & Addiction Services.


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 Registered Nurse graduates and support goal setting and opportunities for reflection.


Clinical Supervision


WDHB offers regular group Clinical Supervision to the 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.


Cultural Support


The name given to WDHB's cultural support program is Te Urupounamu meaning ‘to question’. The program provides regular individual and group supervision to support Māori nursing graduates to develop self-awareness about your personal cultural beliefs and how these contribute to your professional practice as a nurse and when working with patients and whānau. Te Urupounamu 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


5. Be a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident.


Timeframes and Applications Process



The Whanganui District Health Board will be taking one intake for 2021.   We welcome your enquiries and are very happy to provide information relating to new graduate opportunities at Whanganui District Health Board.


All applications however must be made through the Nursing Advanced Choice of Employment (ACE) website:


ACE will open to receive applications from 12th August – 8th September (Noon).


Hours: 0.8 (32 hours per week)


For more information contact Pauline Humm-Johnson, NESP Programme Coordinator on (06) 348 3247 or email