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About NESP

The NESP programme supports nurses NEW to mental health, addiction and intellectual disability (MHAID) services to develop their professional practice while developing the specific skills required for the specialty field. We are committed to supporting new graduate nurses in their first year of practice.

As per Standards of Practice for Mental Health Nursing in Aotearoa, New Zealand (Te Ao Māramatanga, 2012), all nurses working in mental health must have an undergraduate or post graduate programme in mental health nursing.

For this reason, the NESP programme combines theory, supported clinical experience, clinical preceptorship and supervision AND, in addition, nurses receive a Postgraduate Certificate in Mental Health and Addiction Nursing on completion of the programme.

As a New Entry to Specialist Practice participant, you will be offered a 72 hour permanent contract with paid study leave to complete the academic requirements of the programme. You will be offered two rotations within our MHAID services (one inpatient and one community) which may include adult, youth, older adult, forensic, community, early intervention, intellectual disabilities, Māori and Pasifika health services- across the Hutt Valley, Wairarapa and Capital and Coast regions.

We also welcome enquiries from experienced nurses who are interested in working in a mental health, addiction and intellectual disability setting, internationally qualified nurses (IQN) and nurses wanting to expand their scope of practice.


Māori new graduate nurses

Nau mai haere mai e ngā tapuhi Māori.

We are proud to recruit Māori new graduate nurses from all over Aotearoa/New Zealand. We need your mātauranga Māori, your aroha and manaakitanga to improve Hauora Māori for our whānau, hapori and communities.

We provide specialised support for your new graduate NESP year led by our Māori Nurse Educator Menetta Te Aonui.


Pacific new graduate nurses

Mālō e lelei, Talofa lava, Taloha nī, Kia orana, Fakaalofa lahi atu, Namaste, Ni sa bula and warm Pacific greetings.

Pasifika cultural identity and values within our Pacific new graduate nurses are vital to the wellbeing across our region of our people, families and communities.

We provide specialised support for your new graduate NESP year led by our Pasifika Nurse Educator Sisilia Peini.


Clinical supervision

A vital cornerstone of Mental Health Nursing practice. While on the NESP programme you will be supported to attend a minimum of 20 hours clinical supervision (with Māori and Pasifika supervision groups available).


Preceptor programme

Socialisation, orientation and clinical support is important to ensure that graduates engage in positive learning experiences within their clinical environment.

NESP graduates are supported in their clinical environment by a preceptor for the duration of their NESP programme.

As part of their professional development requirements all NESP preceptors will have completed a workshop to enable their role. Preceptors are also required to be working toward or completed proficient level on the Professional Development and Recognition Programme.

NESP graduates can be assured that their preceptor is committed to ensuring their completion of the NESP programme. NESP graduates are encouraged to complete a preceptor workshop at the end of their NESP year.

See further details regarding the preceptorship and supervision programme.



If you are a Aotearoa/New Zealand (NZ) trained registered nurse who has completed a Bachelor of Nursing in NZ (or are about to), we invite you to apply via Advanced Choice or Employment (ACE).

To be eligible to apply to ACE the following criteria applies:

  • either be a NZ or Australian Citizen or hold a Permanent Resident Visa or a Returning Resident Visa
  • be in the final year of a Bachelor of Nursing (BN) degree approved by the Nursing Council of New Zealand (NCNZ) leading to registration as a RN or be awarded a BN degree approved by the NCNZ leading to registration as a RN no longer than 24 months before starting on a NESP programme.
  • you must have completed your BN degree in NZ and have passed your state final exam no more than 2 years prior to starting on a NESP programme. You therefore have up to four opportunities to apply via ACE provided you still meet all eligibility criterions each time you apply
  • you must have not practiced as a NZ RN continuously (full time 0.8FTE or more) for longer than six months before starting on the NESP programme.

If you do not meet the above eligibility requirements for your Visa or residency, please contact Nikki Adams.



For further information about NESP please contact:

Nikki Adams
Nurse Educator for students and NESPs
027 548 8853

Menetta Te Aonui
Nurse Educator Māori NESP and Māori Workforce Development Lead
027 683 9364 or email 

Last updated 28 February 2023.