Dutch system of education in nursing 2020

Addiction and mental health problems as a chronic disease and living as a citizen – competences and guide results

Since 1996 the Netherlands has had a two level system of nursing education. The first level is known as the middle vocational training and the second level is a higher professional qualification. In 2020 these two levels of nursing will be legally separated in the nursing register. In the Netherlands the registration and professional practice of all health care professionals is regulated under an act of law known as the BIG. This act requires the mandatory registration of all health care professionals, including all levels of practicing nurses from the masters in advanced nursing practice to the vocational trained nurse.

Since 2017 nurses with a master in advanced nursing practice are recognised in Dutch law as being able to carry out the function of responsible treatment officer in the care of patients with chronic mental health and addiction problems. Under the new registration system nurses educated on level of vocational training, will be given the title “nurse”.  Nurses with a higher professional qualification will be given the title “direction nurse” and will be responsible for the holistic recovery of the patients including social inclusion.

The majority of the mental health care organisations in the Netherlands share the vision of providing integrated care for addiction and mental health problems. In the Netherlands the provision of acute and chronic mental health and addiction care have separate financial sources. Recovery and social inclusion are cornerstones in mental health and addiction policy. In the near future the direction nurse will have a new role with her own tasks and responsibilities. She will be responsible for the effectiveness of care in the recovery of the daily functioning of the patient with mental health and addicted problems as well as the recovery of their role as a citizen. She will be expected to do this together with family members and concerned allies. ( family as allies)

Post qualification accreditation in addiction care is an area that we hope to develop across Europe. Together with CRN and CARN we will develop a new program of nurse education in addiction care in combination with mental health.  CRN and CARN will be positioned after higher education. The vocational curriculum will include theoretical education en practical training in mental health and addiction care to enable the nurse to practice within the professional guidelines. We believe that it is important to begin a discussion across Europe about the core curriculum in order to identify the gaps between general practice, post qualification diploma’s and associate degree.



IntNSA's Mission: To advance excellence in nursing care for the prevention and treatment of addictions for diverse populations across all practice setting through advocacy, collaboration, education, research and policy development.