Key messages

  • Formal graduate nursing and midwifery programs support graduates during their first year of practice.
  • The Postgraduate Medical Council of Victoria (PMCV) administers the computer matching process between new graduates and health services.
  • A nursing and midwifery graduate handbook is available to ensure graduates have comprehensive information about their first-year employment options.
  • A framework has been developed to monitor and evaluate Victorian graduate programs for nurses and midwives.

Graduate nursing and midwifery programs

Graduate nursing and midwifery programs support graduates during their first year of practice, providing an environment where they can consolidate and further develop their knowledge, skills and competence. Graduate programs can provide the platform for developing safe, confident and accountable professionals.

A formal graduate program is not mandatory to be employed as a nurse or midwife in Victoria.

Each year the Victorian Government supports more than 1,550 graduate places in public health services.

Computer matching for new graduates

In Victoria a computer matching process simplifies the health services graduate nurse and midwifery appointment process. The electronic system matches the preferences of both the candidates (new graduates) and the health services.

The Postgraduate Medical Council of Victoria (PMCV) administers the process of matching. In their final year of studies, nursing and/or midwifery students are instructed on how to participate in the computer matching.

Only Victorian public health services are required to participate in the match, not all providers of graduate programs participate in computer matching.

Monitoring and evaluation framework for Victorian graduate programs for nurses and midwives

Building upon the findings from the 2012 study, ‘Study of Victoria early graduate programs for nurses and midwives’ (see the documents section), TNS Social Research was commissioned to develop a monitoring and evaluation framework for Victorian graduate programs. The development of the framework, which includes a graduate survey, involved extensive consultation with a variety of nursing and midwifery stakeholders.

Victorian public health services receiving the Training and Development Grant for graduate places are required to align their graduate programs (and other transition to practice activity) with this monitoring and evaluation framework.

The framework is one step in the ongoing development of best practice graduate programs for nurses and midwives in Victorian health services. The broad framework allows health services to review, develop and refine their current programs to meet the agreed aim and objectives of statewide graduate programs. The department will continue to support health services to further develop their programs based on evaluation outcomes.

This framework may also have application to programs and other transition-to-practice activity provided for enrolled nurses (division 2) and for those nurses and midwives being inducted into new or unfamiliar practice areas.

Both the framework and survey are available in the documents section below.

Graduate program outline for Bachelor of Midwifery/Bachelor of Nursing (BM/BN) dual degree graduates

The Victorian Government has committed funding to enhance rural midwifery clinical supervision and maternity care. A key focus of this funding includes attracting new midwifery graduates to work in rural and regional Victoria.

In May 2012 the department’s nursing and midwifery policy team commissioned the Royal Women’s Hospital to develop a graduate program outline for combined BM/BN graduates. This outline will benefit rural and regional health services that wish to employ combined BM/BN graduates by providing a template for a supportive combined graduate program while recognising the particular needs of rural and regional health services.

The graduate program outline for BM/BN dual degree graduates is available in the documents section below.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander: Graduate Nurse Project

In response to a commitment to develop and implement strategies to increase recruitment and retention of Aboriginal health workers, the department commissioned the St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne to evaluate its early graduate program, and to determine the requirements that supported delivery of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander graduate nurse program.

The report was developed as a result of broad consultation with key stakeholders from Australia and New Zealand. The report has provided health services with a guide to establishing a new graduate nurse program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurses.

The report is available in the documents section below.

Aboriginal graduates and cadetship programs

The employment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health professionals in mainstream hospitals has been recognised as a key strategy to improve the socioeconomic determinants of health for both individuals and communities.

In 2013, the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services, through Koolin Balit: The Victorian Government strategic directions for Aboriginal health 2012 – 2022, developed two complementary programs.

The Aboriginal Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Cadetship Program provides supported induction into employment at health services and the Aboriginal Nursing and Midwifery Graduate Program supports graduates in the transition from student to professional.

The programs have been implemented at three hospitals in Melbourne: Monash Health, the Royal Women’s and St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne and three regional hospitals: Bendigo Health, Echuca Health and Latrobe Regional Health. Since 2013, 34 cadets have participated in the cadetship and 17 graduates have continued to be employed in health. These important and well received programs will continue.

Support material will be available in 2015 to further help employers to increase Aboriginal workforce participation and to facilitate the program’s expansion to other health services across Victoria.

Implementing the programs has provided an opportunity for enhanced learning about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture in considering how to ensure the programs’ cultural responsiveness.

Study of Victorian early graduate programs for nurses and midwives

This study was conducted in 2012. The final report outlining the findings and lessons learnt is available in the documents section.

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