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 a mandatory requirement to gain employment as a nurse or midwife in Victoria.

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

To assist graduates making the transition from student to registered health professional the department has prepared the ‘Nurse & Midwife Graduate Handbook 2018’ available in the downloads section of this webpage. The handbook provides information on key dates and the employment process to obtain a graduate year. . Further information on important dates and how students can prepare for registration and employment can be found in 'Your journey - A nursing and midwifery student’s guide to registration and employment'.

The Nursing and Midwifery Graduate Transition to Practice Programs Guidelines 2018

The Review of Nursing and Midwifery Graduate Transition to Practice Programs in Victoria (the review) recommended that the department promote the inclusion of best practice elements from the Early Graduate Nurse Program Guidelines 2009 into all transition to practice programs. The review’s Advisory Committee, containing representatives across Victorian health services, universities and the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (Vic Branch), determined that the 2009 guidelines required updating to meet the current needs of organisations operating transition to practice programs and participating graduates.

In collaboration with Advisory Committee members, the department developed the Nursing and Midwifery Graduate Transition to Practice Programs Guidelines 2018 (the guidelines), to assist Victorian health services in the operation of transition to practice programs. This document replaces the existing 2009 guidelines.

The guidelines incorporate best practice elements identified through current academic research and stakeholder input to assist organisations with consistency in the delivery and operation of transition to practice programs.

The department encourages organisations to incorporate the guidelines into their transition to practice program structure from 2019.

In addition, the review recommended that rotational agreements for transition to practice graduates be implemented in clinical areas across organisations. The use of rotational agreements for graduates throughout their transition to practice programs has been included as a key area of focus in the updated guidelines.

To ensure graduates have a clear understanding of what to expect during their rotation the department, in collaboration with stakeholders, has also prepared the Rotational Agreement Template for Nursing and Midwifery Graduates. The template is also able to be structured to the requirements of varying clinical environments.

The updated guidelines and rotational agreement template are available in the downloads section below.

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

A strengthened Aboriginal health and human services workforce contributes to culturally safe care, improved utilisation of health and human services, and improved outcomes for Aboriginal people. Aboriginal nurses, midwives and allied health practitioners thus have a significant role to play in positively influencing the health of Aboriginal clients.

The Victorian Government is committed to developing the Aboriginal nursing, midwifery and allied health workforces. Key government Aboriginal health, wellbeing and safety plans - Korin-Korin Balit-Djak and its predecessor, Koolin Balit - have informed the development of a suite of complementary programs.

The Aboriginal Graduate Program (Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health), supports Aboriginal graduates in the transition from student to professional.

The Aboriginal Cadetship Program (Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health), provides Aboriginal nursing, midwifery and allied health students with a positive experience of undertaking paid work within a health service and the development of work readiness skills and professional contacts.

The Aboriginal graduate and cadet programs have been implemented at both regional and metropolitan health services including, Alfred Health, Austin Health, Barwon Health, Bendigo Health, Eastern Health, Latrobe Regional Hospital, Monash Health, the Royal Women’s Hospital and St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne and Western Health.

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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