How to secure a “new graduate nursing role” when you don’t get a graduate program.

You have completed your nursing degree and you are eagerly awaiting confirmation of your new graduate nursing program application, it feels like a lifetime and with the current requirement in Australia that you “need” to complete a graduate program in most major public hospitals – its pretty stressful! Am I right?

So what if you don’t get a new graduate nursing program, I am here to tell you that all is not lost, despite how you may feel, its not over. I promise. 

To begin with I would start off by seeking feedback from the grad program you applied to. If you are lucky they will hopefully be able to provide you some valuable feedback for future applications. If they cannot provide you feedback, then it would be a good idea to consider seeking a coach to work with you to ensure your job application meets the required standard, whilst providing you with impartial feedback about your application technique. 

Set up your Linkedin account to build your network. 

LinkedIn is like a professional version of Facebook and in my experience it is a platform that is typically under-utilised by nursing professionals. It is a good idea to start your career as you mean to go own, building professional networks and learning from like minded professionals. Make sure you include a professional picture, upload your professional and educational history and ensure you choose to highlight to recruiters that you are looking for potential recruitment opportunities. Check out my Linkedin page here for a guide! 

Set aside some time to thoroughly explore all potential job opportunities in your local area. 

Set yourself up with a cuppa, pen and paper and create a comprehensive list of potential recruitment opportunities locally. If you can move for a new role – awesome, you have just significantly increased your chances. Be thorough, even if you can’t find roles listed on recruitment sites still include the organisations in your list, you never know what may transpire when you start putting yourself out there. Once you have your list, get another cuppa and identity which organisations best align with your values and your career goals. Once you have that information, start from your top choices, tailor your application package and then submit to the organisations managers via email, with a follow up phone call. You never know what may come up. Take the first step and put yourself out there! 

Explore potential casual nursing opportunities in local organisations. 

If you cannot secure a permanent/temporary role in your desired organisations, ask them if you can join their casual pool. This will provide you an awesome opportunity to get your foot in the door, demonstrate your awesomeness and again build your professional network. As a nurse manager myself, I can tell you that it is a good opportunity for both you and the workplace to “try before you/we buy”. Make sure you are proactive and express your desire to join the team explicitly to the NUM/CNC. 

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try try again. 

If you really want to work for one specific organisation/area make it your personal mission! “How you ask me? I didn’t get into the program!” Are you ready for a little secret? Some clinical areas will hire a new grad nurse outside of a graduate program. Yes, you heard it here!! So how do you go about securing a role. You have to be proactive! Update your Resume and Cover Letter with the ideal role in mind. Call the lead nurse and make a time to pop in to drop off your Resume and to meet the nurse in charge. Dress smartly, put on your confident pants and come prepared to pitch yourself to the lead nurse. Good Luck! 

Partner with a Resume coach/Career Coach  

I would strongly encourage you to partner with a coach (like myself) to help you navigate this challenging time. I offer comprehensive resume services with the aim to coach, educate and inspire you with the skills, knowledge and tools which will set you up for a long and fruitful career. In addition to this service (at a reduced grad rate) I have partnered with and have strong relationships with nursing recruitment companies across Australia Nationally and I also have close links with organisational leads throughout Australia. Recently I worked with a grad who wanted a role in Aged Care, I was able to draw upon my professional network and help her achieve her dream role of working in Aged Care. Network’s are critical at this point to help you get into the workforce. I would love to get to know you better and how best we can work together.

New Graduate nursing success!

Once you have secured your first new graduate nursing role (how exciting!) now is the time to think about what ongoing support you require throughout your first year as a nurse. I know how challenging this year can be and monthly coaching support would be super beneficial. I offer monthly new graduate nurse  group coaching online to ensure that you are receiving mentorship and support throughout your first year. Start off as you mean to proceed, mentorship and coaching from an external source can add significant value to your career growth. 

Overall, all is not lost, I promise you will find a role. It’s important to not give up!!

You are amazing, you made it through a very challenging 3 years of nurse training and this is only the start of your career – you got this! 

If you would like some support from me, I would love to have a wee chat!

Yours In Nursing,

2 thoughts on “How to secure a “new graduate nursing role” when you don’t get a graduate program.”

  1. This is great encouragement, thank you. I’d definitely like to engage some mentoring after the new year. I have been waitlisted for NSW Health grad program but would like it apply for the casual pool.
    My feedback was as followed Please take your time in answering the questions your total interview time was no more than 15 minutes.
    – This extra time can be used to provide detailed examples and fully expand on your answers using critical thinking skills which was also an area for improvement highlighted by the panel.

  2. This is great encouragement, thank you. I’d definitely like to engage some mentoring after the new year. I have been waitlisted for NSW Health grad program but would like it apply for the casual pool.
    My feedback was as followed -Please take your time in answering the questions your total interview time was no more than 15 minutes.
    – This extra time can be used to provide detailed examples and fully expand on your answers using critical thinking skills which was also an area for improvement highlighted by the panel.

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