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Graduate Nurse

rickmoss rickmoss (New) New

Hi, I will be entering my BoN program in Fall of 2011 and I have a question.

When I finish -- 3 long years from now -- what jobs would I qualify for?

After looking at the job postings for Victoria on the major nursing employment sites. The one recurring theme is EXPERIENCE REQUIRED.

The only listings I can find with the keyword "Graduate" is for Graduate Nursing Programs where I pay to work somewhere for at least a year.

Will I spend three years in school and clinicals only to find myself unemployable?


Specializes in Surgical, quality,management. Has 12 years experience.

VIC uses a system called computer matching for its graduates. I have no idea of the ins and outs as I came to VIC as a experienced nurse but I work in the public sector with grads that are in a Graduate Program and students that are in the process of applying to the system.


Specializes in Medical.

The only listings I can find with the keyword "Graduate" is for Graduate Nursing Programs where I pay to work somewhere for at least a year.

Hi Rick,

Yeah, no. The majority of advertised positions require experience because the infrastructure isn't available to support non -graduates transition from novice practitioners. There is support in place for graduate positions, as the hospital receives government funding for the purpose. Graduates don't pay to participate in a graduate program, but instead receive a baseline salary (currently $937.10/week in Victoria) plus PM/ND/weekend/public holiday penalties.

There are fewer graduate positions than graduates, so there's a degree of competition for places. ALthough specific programs vary from hospital to hospital, generally speaking graduates are partnered with more experienced nurse (preceptor), have clinical educators, learning packages and structured study days, in addition to specialised support. Depending on the institution there may be one, two or three rotations across the twelve month program, and you may have the option to continue after the year.

Best of luck.

Edited by talaxandra


Specializes in Community, Renal, OR.

The way to increase your chances of gaining a graduate position of your choice is to work in the health care sector as you go through uni. This can be as a nursing assistant in aged care or personal carer in community care or do a Cert III in Pathology and work for a pathology service. I'm sure you can think of many more.

Hi Rick,

...Graduates don't pay to participate in a graduate program, but instead receive a baseline salary (currently $937.10/week in Victoria) plus PM/ND/weekend/public holiday penalties.

Thanks -- I was misinformed about the Graduate Program. I won't start classes until March so I don't have any instructors to harangue about this kind of stuff until then.

Maybe you can clear up another area where I MIGHT be confused. I'm a recent immigrant to Australia (ten years back) so I'm not that familiar with how things work.

I will "eventually" be working in Victoria so my questions are Victoria specific. In Victoria I believe they refer to Registered Nurses as Division One Nurses and Enrolled Nurses as Division Two. I also believe (I've been told) that upon successful graduation of my Bachelor of Nursing Course, I will be able to register with the state as a Division One or Registered Nurse without any further training.

However, to find suitable employment in my chosen field -- hopefully ER -- I should voluntarily pursue a Graduate Program for at least a year during which I will be paid -- just not very much.

Is that a fairly accurate picture?


Specializes in Medical.

With the introduction of national registration, Victoria is transitioning back to registered and enrolled nurses, to be in line with the rest of the country; as a degree graduate you will be an RN.

Your level of pay once registered is dependent on your experience - provided you work whatever the minimum weekly average is (I think it's 24 hours but I may well be wrong), you go up a pay grade every year. Regardless of whether or not you get into a graduate program, you will paid at the first year rate until your anniversary.

At present, you will also be entitled to utilise salary packaging, which decreases your taxable income, increasing the amount of money in your pocket. The only way to make more money is to work agency, which I wouldn't recommend, as even if the agency provides support, you'll be expected to function unsupported on the ward. In my experience, unless you plan to work in sub-acute care, this is almost impossible to manage. Medical graduates have a mandatory period of supervised, supported practice (intern and residency), and a graduate year is something like the nursing equivalent.

I'm not aware of any hospital that would employ a graduate in a capacity other than as part of a graduate program. Some hospitals offer a rotation through ED as part of the year, while others prefer to wait until the nurse has a little more experience.

I know it already feels a long way off, but I would caution against heading straight to ED, in favour of a year of med or med-surg first. I work at a hospital than sometimes employs grads in ED and it's such a different kind of nursing, with different emphases than the wards, that there can be fundamental knowledge gaps in those nurses who head straight to ED from uni. I can often tell just from handover which ED nurses spent their grad year in ED and which ones moved there after a year or so - having a strong ward-based background improves their assessment, broadens their knowledge base, gives them a better understanding of what happens to the patient after leaving the department, and enhances communication skills.


Specializes in Surgical, quality,management. Has 12 years experience.

Agree. You may not think that you need a year on the wards but trust me it does you wonders.

The Grad program is something that will be explained when you get to uni. Just relax and enjoy the summer.

I was experienced when I got to Oz so I didn't have to go through these dramas.

Best of luck may see you in your 2nd/3rd year placements. no 1st years get mear where I work! The NUM would not let them! and you go to nursing homes in 1st year.

Get you basics down pat and if you are still keen to get more experience go work as a PCA / AIN somewhere. Look into TAFE for the courses. (cause I won't let you do anything "cool" if you don't know the basics! But you do and you can insert and remove all kinds of wacky things and nurse some highly unwell pts with me. )

Great advice -- both of you. I'm embarking on a pretty drastic career change here so I want to go into it with as much information as I can assimilate.


Nicky30, BSN, RN

Specializes in Emergency Midwifery.

I work in a rural hospital in South Australia - while it is not Victoria there should be hospitals with similar programs.

Our graduate program should be what is described above - a preceptor for every graduate, one training day a month, and a program to follow (that actually gives you more homework). In actuality my program did not provide me with any of that. I did not have a preceptor, had two education days but I did rotate through various fields of nursing including the ED.

Currently our graduates rotate through Aged Care, Theatre, Med-Surg, and the ED (I did not get theatre for my program and argued my way into a midwifery rotation), I am now a midwife but prefer the ED to play in. :yeah:

If all else fails and you are in a position to travel - want lots of opportunites and experience there are organisations that give graduates rotations through the northern states in rural and remote hospitals - it is quite an experience and most graduates will come out very skilled and highly sought after.


Interesting twist here -- I find that the Australian Army and Navy both have a Graduate Nursing Program that takes new graduates into their ranks and gives them a pretty wide range of experience (probably not a lot of aged care or mid-wife experience however). Also, the pay is pretty good. Higher than the some of the hospital grad programs I've checked on.

Surprisingly, the age limits are pretty high -- you can be up to 56 years old when you enter the program.

Nicky30, BSN, RN

Specializes in Emergency Midwifery.

Be wary of the length of time you have to serve after completing your grad program.

I did my stint in the Army in my younger days and there is not much that would compel me to go back.


Well that is all very interesting. I am in 1st year uni and I work as an agency AIN and have done for 2 years. I have seen so much variety and have gained so much knowledge about different patients and their different illnesses and how they cope, just doing that. I highly reccommend it for experience. I am 45 so have started uni late, am loving it and doing well, but my plan was not to do a grad year in hospital as by the time I finish I will be 50 so was planning to just work for my agency as an RN. I think I am too old to go into hospital..I mean energy wise etc. Not really even looking forward to the pracs..hour wise I mean. Interest wise yes. What do you think of that idea??


Specializes in Medical.

Unless you're planning on working in sub-acute or aged care, agency without supported, post-grad experience is really difficult. While some agencies provide a modified form of a grad program, it only includes education and not on-site support. The learning curve from graduate to practitioner is really steep, and many of our grads struggle, even with a lot of tailored support.

Yes it is an aged care agency that I work in.


Has 1 years experience.

Hello! I'm in SA but I'm completing my Grad program here,

Get paid pretty well. Year long contract with a rural placement, medical/surgical and currently on Paeds

All the states have grad programs, and I know the ones in the city offer a great variety. A friend of mind who is post grad next yr is doing med, radiology, ER, theater and ICU....

After your grad year there are programs around the place that are ER based, not sure where they are though- think it's in Sydney??

Competition has greatly increased though for grad positions so I would recommend working in a nursing home/assistant in nursing position, I was a aid in my second year and did an undergrad position at the hospital in my third year.

Good luck :)


Specializes in ..

I'm just completing my second year of my degree and with the applications for new grad positions a little over six months away it's starting to really hit home. We've all heard about the shortage of new grad places and it's beginning to stress me out. Especially because I have my heart set on a children's hospital and of course those spots are hard to win. Maybe we could generate some discussion about what makes a great new grad applicant?

Someone has mentioned that working in a clinical setting throughout uni makes a difference, which encourages me. I've been working as an AIN for the last two years - three quarters of which I've spent working in two different paediatric settings. I've also just accepted a position as an undergrad AIN at a major children's hospital. Hopefully that puts in me in good stead come selection time next year.

What other things make someone a good candidate for a new grad position?

My other question was - what are other people's opinions on hospitals with the best new grad programs? I've noticed a lot of hospitals have cut down the number of rotations new grads get - some offering no rotations at all.. Is this a good or a bad thing?

Most of all - where do you want to do your new grad program?!


Has 1 years experience.

I was meant to spend a month in high dependancy unit as part of my program but never got the chance due to budgeting, in the country I believe its a bit more tight out here than in the city.

Wish I'd gone to the city to do my post grad year :p