Other job options – graduate nurses and midwives

If you have not been successful in gaining employment through GradConnect we suggest you rethink your career plan. You may not be able to start in the clinical area or even the health site you had as your first choice. In the recent past, graduates have been reluctant to consider positions in mental health where vacancies still remain. Mental health however offers great opportunities with all the skills you develop being transferable into general health settings. We strongly recommend you take a position if one is offered. It may not be your dream job but it will give you an entrance to the profession and will open up many future opportunities. You need skills in nursing mental health patients wherever you work.

Remember, graduate programs are not mandatory. There are many ways to enter the nursing and midwifery workforce. You need to approach the task with commitment so that not too much time elapses between completing your study and being employed as a nurse or a midwife.

You may need to consider clinical fields and geographic areas that are not your first or second choice, so that you 'get your foot in the door'. You may also need to consider working fewer hours, for example part-time, with the intention of proving yourself and being available to leap at any opportunities that arise.

Consider all employment options, such as public and private health services, doctor's surgeries, health clinics, aged care facilities, mine sites and the defence forces. These are all options that could provide employment opportunities for graduates.

What to look for in an employer if they don’t have a formal graduate program:

  • a good orientation process
  • support for study leave
  • partnerships with education providers
  • supernumerary time for you to work with a preceptor

Please remember that some graduates don't start their graduate program. Some drop out or postpone their start, so it is good to check with health services (especially those where you have been interviewed) in late January or February to see if any places have become available at short notice.

Relationships and networking

You have a great opportunity to create a good impression while on your clinical placements.

Consider the clinical placement as the beginning of your relationship with a potential employer, especially if you are interested in working at that health service. Clinical placements also provide an opportunity to network within the organisation and foster relationships.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

While looking for a job:

  • show prospective employers that you are engaged with your profession
  • attend workshops and lectures, especially those that build on your practice, such as general nursing skills or those relevant to the area you are seeking work in
  • continue to read professional journals, attend conferences and complete online learning packages.

Some graduates continue their studies, undertaking an honours year or post-graduate studies while they look for employment.

Finishing studies mid-year

If you finish your degree mid-year, you can apply through GradConnect the year before for a mid-year intake. You will need to check our website carefully as some sites that offer mid-year start dates only recruit once a year. It is also important not to waste your preference selection on sites that do not offer mid-year intakes.

A word about Facebook and other social media

Social media has created a very sociable environment but it has also blurred the boundary between our personal and professional lives. A recent survey of more than 400 managers found that 36 per cent of Australian employers admit to checking potential candidate's Facebook profiles before offering them the job!

So, as a general rule, it is best not to put information on Facebook or other sites that you do not want your employer to see. Remember to list and adjust your privacy settings so you can effectively separate your professional life from your personal life.

As a nurse or midwife you have professional responsibilities to uphold your profession at all times. For more information see the NMBA's guidelines for use of social media (external site).

You might also want to consider having a separate professional and personal email address.

More information

Find out more about nursing and midwifery graduate programs in WA or find us on Facebook (external site).

Produced by

Chief Nursing and Midwifery Office