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Unlocking success: Tips for a stellar nursing graduate application

Thursday, 25 May 2023


Embarking on a nursing career as a graduate nurse is both exciting and challenging. To help aspiring nurses navigate this transformative phase, we present a comprehensive guide that delves into the world of Barwon Health, offering valuable insights from recruiters, first-hand accounts from nursing graduates, tips for a stellar graduate application, and an exploration of the benefits of choosing a graduate nursing year at Barwon Health.

What Barwon Health looks for in our graduate nurses?

According to the Graduate Program Coordinator of Nursing and Midwifery, the attributes sought for prospective graduate nurses include:

  • Committed to safe practice
  • Consumer focused
  • Engaged
  • Adaptable, flexible and resilient
  • Open, honest and reflective – no excuses
  • Able to ask for help
  • Communicates effectively
  • Professional attitude towards work and ongoing education
  • Ability to question self and others

A first-hand account: A nursing graduate's journey at Barwon Health

Step into the shoes of a recent nursing graduate as they recount their personal experiences and challenges faced during their journey at Barwon Health. Gain valuable insights into the day-to-day responsibilities, training opportunities, and support systems provided by Barwon Health to help graduates thrive in their roles. Discover the rewards, lessons learned, and growth opportunities that come with being a part of this esteemed organisation.

“I chose to apply for Barwon Health as I had heard multiple good things from previous grads and knew that it offered a wide range of experiences in a hospital that had a wide catchment area- wards were neither too general nor too specific. I had great rotations in specialty areas which were highly supportive and the grad team were always accessible. Geelong is also a fantastic place to live, bridging the gap between city and country living.” Nicola, 2022 Graduate Program

“I really liked that Barwon Health’s Graduate Program included so many study days. They covered important topics that were relevant to my practice and linked back easily to my work on the wards. The study days also provided a great opportunity to get to know my fellow grads and not feel alone in my experience as a new nurse. The grad team were all lovely and so passionate about teaching us new skills and knowledge. The competency practice sessions were also really valuable, having dummy arms to practice IV placement and CVAD management was so helpful.” Sian, 2022 Graduate Program

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May 2023 intake of Graduate nurses

 Unlocking Success: Tips for a Stellar Nursing Graduate Application

Crafting an application is essential when vying for a position as a graduate nurse. This section offers valuable advice and tips to help applicants present themselves effectively through their applications. From tailoring resumes and cover letters to highlighting relevant experiences and skills, these insights will help aspiring nurses make a lasting impression during the application process.

The team spend time scoring each applicant and taking into account the following;

 Following the process outlined on the Barwon Health careers website

  • Key selection criteria
  • Your cover letter- one page maximum
  • Your CV - three page maximum and must include a table listing all of your placements
  • Your academic transcript
  • Your Clinical Appraisal Tools
  • Your references
  • Please play close attention to the following:
  • Spelling and grammar
  • Ensuring that you have tailored your application to Barwon Health and outlined:

- Why you have selected Barwon Health

- What interests you about the program

Is it important to attend an information session?

Information sessions for the Barwon Health Graduate Program are scheduled on the following dates:

  • Thursday 1 June, Friday 30 June 5.30pm - 7pm
  • HERB Lecture Theatre - Health Education and Research Building
  • (behind Kitchener House). 285-299 Ryrie St, Geelong.
  • To register for a session, please visit and use the code u7ew8 to make a booking.

If you have any questions or concerns about the application process, please make contact with our Graduate Program Coordinator Carolyn Steinman via phone 0422 040 491 or email [email protected]

 The Benefits of Choosing a Graduate Nursing Year at Barwon Health

Barwon Health offers a unique graduate nursing year program that provides numerous advantages for aspiring nurses. Explore the benefits of joining this program, including comprehensive support, mentoring from experienced professionals, exposure to diverse clinical settings, and opportunities for personal and professional growth. Learn how the program can fast-track your development as a competent and confident nurse.

Barwon Health offers an incredibly supportive graduate year across all of its programs. Support is provided by a dedicated graduate coordinator and graduate clinical support nurses and midwives. The team only looks after graduates enabling them to develop excellent relationships with all graduates. Every day Monday-Friday, the graduate team visits every ward to check in on each graduate and provide support with daily workloads. Support is also offered by ward preceptors/buddy nurses, clinical nurse specialists, specialty area clinical support nurses, clinical nurse educators and the ANUM/NUM.

The comprehensive orientation, study day and professional development program ensure that every grad feels work-ready when they commence and continues to grow and develop their skills and knowledge across the year.

Barwon Health offers ongoing contracts across the nursing and midwifery programs, ensuring that graduates are able to continue at Barwon Health at the conclusion of their program. There is a wide range of opportunities available at the end of the program, including specialty/discovery and post graduate programs. Participants are also able to apply for positions in ward areas, pool and causal bank. Barwon Health has a 92% retention rate with the majority of graduates staying on at the end of their program.

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52 nurses, seven midwives and four combined nurse midwives who commenced their 12 month program in Feburary 2023


Navigating the journey from nursing graduate to successful professional requires careful consideration, preparation, and understanding of the healthcare landscape. Barwon Health, with its commitment to excellence and nurturing environment, offers an exceptional opportunity for aspiring nurses. By embracing the insights from recruiters, learning from the experiences of nursing graduates, implementing tips for a stellar application, and recognising the benefits of the graduate nursing year at Barwon Health, aspiring nurses can set themselves up for a successful and fulfilling career in nursing.

Remember, your journey as a graduate nurse is just beginning, and Barwon Health is ready to support and empower you on this path to success.

Applications are open 5 June to 7 July and we look forward to reviewing your application. The application link will appear at