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Mental Health, Drugs & Alcohol Service Inter-professional Graduate Program
The program - purpose, philosophy and aims
The Mental Health, Drugs and Alcohol Service (MHDAS) Interprofessional Entry to Practice Program aims to:
- Build upon the undergraduate program and facilitate the transition of the graduate from novice to advanced beginner practitioner.
- Integrate the graduate into the Mental Health Drug and Alcohol Service by providing clinical support, educational experiences and activities.
- Assist the graduate to develop clinical competency to perform safely, confidently and professionally within his / her role delineation.
- Promote a learning environment of connectedness, support & continuity this fosters the journey that values the process of furthering knowledge and expertise.
Annually, the Barwon Health MHDAS Entry to Practice Program is open to:
- 24 Graduate Registered Nurse positions
- 2 Graduate Enrolled Nurse positions
- 5 Transition to Mental Health Nursing positions
- 6 Occupational Therapy Graduate positions
- 11 Social Work Graduate positions (including 3 CMHEW positions)
- 5 Psychology Registrar positions
All graduates attend an in-depth orientation program at the beginning of the graduate program.
Our Entry to Practice program commences early February each year. Barwon Health participates in the PMCV computer match process for all Graduate Nurse Positions (RN).
Graduate support and education
During your entry to practice year/s at MHDAS, you will receive support from a variety of people including preceptors, clinical staff, managers, other entry to practice clinicians and of course the entry to practice team. Whilst there are great clinical staff and educators in your areas, graduates are supported by the Graduate Coordinator and the MHDAS Education Team.
As part of the transition from student to registered practitioner, graduates are also provided with opportunities to learn and reflect on their practice outside of their clinical areas. This includes:
All graduates are provided with a trained Clinical Supervisor, who is also a member of the MHDAS education team. All graduates are entitled to and expected to attend at least one hour per month to allow for an opportunity for graduates to discuss any issues in a confidential and supported environment. Clinical supervision sessions provide a safe venue for graduates to reflect on their practice, discuss client issues and other information that the Graduate feels is relevant to their growth as practitioner.
Graduates attend a number of paid study days held throughout the year.
Topics aim to increase the development of personal and professional skills and knowledge, looking at the changing work environment, legislation and policy in mental health and the opportunity to broaden a wide range of clinical skills. Some of the study days provided include Safewards, psychopharmacology, trauma-informed care, attachment theory, working with a person with a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder and gender sensitivity training hosted by the Rainbow Network.
All graduates will complete a two-day Management of Violence and Aggression International Training (MOVAIT) as well as a two-day Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) workshop.
Graduates are expected to complete core competencies related Mental Health and Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD). Graduates may also complete learning modules that they find of interest.
Graduates are required to complete a range of clinical skills assessments and a 20 minute consumer story presentation. Both the clinical skills assessments and consumer story require the graduate to critically appraise and reflect on practice. The consumer story is submitted as a paper and is also presented to the graduate team in the final study block of the year.
Graduates are also provided with a professional development record folder to document their achievements throughout the year.
Graduates are invited to a Graduation Ceremony as arranged by the Graduate Program Coordinators at the completion of their program.
Graduate Nurse Program
0.8EFT (8 days a fortnight for 12 months).
Registered nursing graduates complete three 15-week clinical rotations across multiple services within the Mental Health Drugs and Alcohol Program in the Geelong and Barwon South West region. These can consist of any three of the following (subject to change):
- Acute Inpatient Units (Adult & 50+) (Geelong)
- Community Rehabilitation Facility & Prevention & Recovery Care Unit (CRF & PARC) (Geelong)
- Hospital in the Home (MH HITH) (Geelong)
- Eating Disorder Service (Geelong)
- Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (Geelong)
- Drug and Alcohol Services (Geelong)
- Consultation & Liaison (University Hospital Geelong)
- Youth Community Mental Health Teams (Geelong, Corio & Colac)
- Adult Community Mental Health Teams (Torquay, Newcomb, Corio, Geelong West, Colac)
- Aged Psychiatry Service (Geelong & Colac)
*Expressions of interest will be sought by the Entry to Practice team with the successful graduates (after the matching process concludes).
For potential additional rotations please visit: https://www.barwonhealth.org.au/services-departments/mental-health
Allied Health Graduate Program
Occupational Therapy position
0.6EFT (6 days a fortnight for 2 years). Recruiting late 2021 for February 2022 start.
The Occupational Therapy Graduate will be provided with a specialist experience in the Mental Health Drugs and Alcohol Service. Specific rotation/s will be outlined on the recruitment advertisement on the Barwon health website (see How to Apply- Occupational Therapy).
Currently, the position sits within the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS); the first year the Graduate works within primary schools as part of the CAMHS and School Early Action Service (CASEA) and moves in to become a case manager within CAMHS in the second year. This is a highly supported graduate program, skilling the Graduate in the specialist area of Child and Youth Mental Health; from early intervention to management of acute illness.
Jigsaw Allied Health position
0.8EFT (8 days a fortnight for 12 months).
The Jigsaw Allied Health Graduate Program is offered every year and both Social Work and Occupational Therapy graduates are encouraged to apply. Graduates work an 8-day per fortnight roster within the multidisciplinary Jigsaw Youth Mental Health Team.
The Graduate is supported to develop and care for a caseload of young people aged 16-25 with a severe mental illness or are at risk of developing a severe mental illness.
Community Mental Health Engagement Worker positions
MHDAS has recently launched a new pathway for allied health graduates, employing three allied health (Social Work or Occupational Therapy) graduates to work as Community Mental Health Engagement Workers (CMHEWs) within the adult continuing care teams (CCT). There will be one graduate at each Bellarine CCT, Corio CCT and Geelong West CCT. Graduates work an 8-day per fortnight roster within the multidisciplinary Continuing Care teams.
The CMHEW graduate roles will continue as 12-month graduate positions as part of the MHDAS graduate program. Occupational Therapy and Social Work graduates are encouraged to apply.
The first group of graduates have been recruited to and will remain in these roles until January 2023, with the 2023 graduates to be recruited in late 2022.
Postgraduate Nursing Program
Mental Health Nursing Graduates are automatically eligible for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) for three subjects into the University of Melbourne Graduate Diploma in Mental Health Nursing following successful completion of all rotations and clinical and theoretical assessment in the Graduate Program. All successful nursing graduates are eligible to apply to undertake the postgraduate program following completion of the graduate program. Candidates in the postgraduate program are financially supported by a Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP) and scholarships are available.
Postgraduates have the opportunity to rotate through our adult and aged community mental health teams in addition to our inpatient units, Community Rehabilitation Facility (CRF) and Community Acute Intervention Service. This provides postgraduates with the opportunity to consolidate skills around community mental health nursing, and build on necessary acute assessment skills and crisis intervention within a supported team environment.
Kayla, Mental Health Nurse
"I completed my graduate year in mental health in 2019 and my postgrad in 2020. I have felt supported every step of the way. I have been given a range of different experiences in the mental health area, from experiences in the community, complex care, forensic care, aged care and the acute setting. This graduate program supports you in growing and expanding your knowledge with many study days throughout the year. No question has been a silly question and this graduate year has made my transition into mental health nursing a breeze!"
Shine, Mental Health Nurse
"I completed my postgraduate year in 2019. My initial graduate year was excellent and there were plenty of opportunities to learn and build upon my mental health nursing skills. I would say the exact same for my post-graduate year. I've always felt well supported and looked after. The study days were great and it was enjoyable working in a range of different areas including acute, sub-acute, and community settings. Barwon Health's graduate program has been very enriching and I wouldn't have it any other way!"
Erin, Occupational Therapist
“I completed the Occupational Therapy, Mental Health Graduate position with Barwon Health in 2018 and 2019. It was a wonderful opportunity to start off my career as an Occupational Therapist working in Mental Health. My knowledge and skills developed significantly through all the clinical experience and professional development provided in this position. I learnt so much about child and adolescent mental health, the role of OT within this setting and was able to gain experience working with diverse consumer groups. I felt incredibly supported by my team and supervisors as a new graduate. I would highly recommend this opportunity to anyone who is interested in working as an OT in mental health, particularly if you are interested in working with children, adolescents, their families and schools!”
Yuki, Mental Health Nurse
"The mental health transition program has offered me a great opportunity to develop mental health nursing skills in an acute environment. I enjoyed the great teamwork and approachable work environment. Mainly, I enjoyed taking care of clients as a whole; not only providing care for their mental health, but also supporting their psychosocial, financial, family and relationship needs to assist with their recovery. Throughout the program, I have been supported by our education team who offered me a comprehensive orientation, paid professional development days, clinical supervision, mental health rotations in different settings and competency-based skill development requirements. Some of the key learnings from my mental health rotations were the development of skills in managing clients with different presentations and challenging behaviours. It is a pleasure to be involved in clients’ care and support them. The program also offers credit points toward a Graduate Diploma in Mental Health Nursing. Recently, I have obtained a community mental health case management position with Barwon Health. This position allows me to provide ongoing management of chronic or recurring illness outside of hospital."
How to apply
Applications for the 2024 Graduate Nurse Program open on Monday 5 June and close on Friday 7 July 2023. Positions will be advertised via https://barwon.mercury.com.au/ with all applications to be made online via the website. Applications are not to be emailed or sent via the post.
STEP 1: ARE YOU ELIGIBLE TO APPLY?
To apply for a position in any of our graduate programs at Barwon Health you must be eligible to register for the PMCV Allocation and Placement Service. Visit the Postgraduate Medical Council of Victoria’s (PMCV) website https://app.pmcv.com.au/aps/content/how-it-works to ensure you meet the eligibility criteria.
If you are eligible, you will need to register with PMCV and apply directly to Barwon Health via https://barwon.mercury.com.au/. You will not be considered for positions at Barwon Health if you have not registered with the PMCV Allocation and Placement Service. Please read all information on the PMCV website carefully.
STEP 2: HOW DO I APPLY?
In addition to registering with the PMCV Allocation and Placement Service, you will need to apply directly the Barwon Health’s MHDAS Graduate Nurse Program (Please note this is separate to the Barwon Health Nursing and Midwifery Graduate Program)
- Register your details on the BH careers website https://barwon.mercury.com.au
- Complete your personal details
- Upload a current photo (for ID purposes only)
- Answer the key selection criteria questions online
- Upload all documents as requested
STEP 3: REQUIRED DOCUMENTS
Letter of application:
- Cover letter should be no more than one page in length
- The letter should be addressed to Ms Maddison Adams.
- A 250-word statement outlining reasons for applying for Psychiatric Graduate Nurse Program at Barwon Mental Health, Drugs and Alcohol Service, in particular why the applicant is choosing to define a professional pathway into mental health.
- No more than three pages in length
- Include an objective or summary that tells us about you and your professional interests and aspirations.
- Clearly identify your completed and current education
- Include your work history stating dates, title and employer name / company / organisation
- Provide details of all clinical placements in a table format (see below)
- Include details of any relevant professional development that you have completed.
- Names and contact details of two recent clinical referees (phone and email) plus one recent employment referee. Preferably one clinical mental health reference if possible but not essential.
- Don’t forget to share any academic / professional achievements, relevant volunteer and community experiences or details of experience of mental health, drug and alcohol services, e.g. placement, employment, volunteer or personal.
|Date of placement||Length of placement||Health Service / Organisation||
e.g. Key Achievements
|I.e. 23/03/2020 – 5/04/2020||I.e. 2 week acute mental health placement||
Swanston Centre- Adult Inpatient Unit
Official academic transcript
- A certified transcript of university results to date with a key to result codes
- Unofficial transcripts will not be accepted.
If your application has been successful, you will be asked to attend an interview. You will be supported with reviewing the interview questions during your interview and can expect to be interviewed by three staff members. The interview will last approximately 45-60 minutes and you will have the opportunity to ask questions at the end of your interview.
Transition to Mental Health Nursing Program
The Transition to Mental Health Nursing Program (TTMHNP) is a 12-month program available to experienced Registered Nurses wishing to develop as a skilled mental health nurse. The program provides an orientation program at the beginning, and nurses are employed to work part-time (eight-day a fortnight).
There are 6 x 0.8 FTE positions in the TTMHNP each year. Two six-month rotations are provided in the following clinical sites (subject to change):
- Swanston Centre (Adult inpatient)
- McKellar Mental Health and Wellbeing centre (Older persons/50+ inpatient)
- Aged Psychiatry Services (community nursing)
- Surfcoast Community Mental Health Team.
The TTMHNP supports nurses with opportunities to learn and reflect on their practice outside of their clinical areas. This includes:
- Support from a variety of people including preceptors, clinical staff, managers and the MHDAS Education team.
- Being entitled to and expected to attend at least one hour per month of supervision with a trained Clinical Supervisor. Supervision provides nurses with the opportunity to discuss any issues in a confidential and supported environment.
- Paid study days held throughout the year aiming to increase the development of personal and professional skills and knowledge, looking at the changing work environment, legislation and policy in mental health and opportunity to broaden a wide range of clinical skills.
- Completion of a two-day Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) workshop.
- As part of the TTMHNP Nurses are required to complete a range of clinical skills assessments and a 20-minute consumer story presentation. Both the clinical skills assessments and consumer story require the TTMHNP Nurse to critically appraise and reflect on practice.
- TTMHNP Nurses are also provided with a professional development record folder to document their achievements throughout the year.
A graduation ceremony is arranged by the program coordinators on completion of the program.
TTMHNP Graduates are automatically eligible for recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) for three subjects into a Post Graduate Nursing Diploma in Mental Health following successful completion of clinical and theoretical assessment in the TTMHNP. All successful graduates are eligible to undertake postgraduate studies following completion of the TTMHNP. Should a TTMHNP be successful in gaining ongoing employment within MHDAS in the postgraduate program, they are eligible to be financially supported by a Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP) and scholarships are available.
How to apply for the Transition to Mental Health Nursing Program
Applications will be advertised on the Barwon Health employment website around September 2023 for the 2024 intake.
Information sessions for the 2024 Graduate Nurse Program - Mental Health Drug and Alcohol Services
Wednesday 31 May: 10am-11:30am
Thursday 1 June: 3:30pm-5pm
Friday 2 June: 10am-11:30am
St Mary's Conference Room
190-192 Myers Street, Geelong VIC 3220
Please note these sessions do not cover the Barwon Health General Nursing and Midwifery Graduate Program.
Last Modified: Friday, 15 September 2023