Mental Health, Drugs & Alcohol Service Inter-professional Graduate Program

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The program – purpose, philosophy and aims

The Mental Health, Drugs and Alcohol Service (MHDAS) Graduate 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.

General information

The program is open to six nursing positions (annually) and one occupational therapy (OT) position (two yearly - OT graduates will be eligible to apply in 2019 for the 2020 Graduate program).

MHDAS Nursing Graduates at Barwon Health are employed to work part-time (eight days a fortnight) for 12 months. OT graduates are employed to work part time (six days a fortnight) within a 12 month - two year program across  various mental health community and bed-based teams.

All graduates attend a 5 day orientation program at the beginning of the graduate program, followed by a three-day Management of Violence and Aggression Training (MOVAIT) course.

Our program commences early February each year. Barwon Health participates in the PMCV computer match process for all graduate nurse positions.

Graduate support & education

During your graduate year/s at MHDAS, you will receive support from a variety of people including your preceptors, clinical staff, managers, other graduates and of course the graduate support 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:

Clinical supervision

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.

Graduate study days

Graduates attend 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 opportunity to broaden a wide range of clinical skills.

All graduates will complete a two-day Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) workshop.

Clinical competencies

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 end of their programs completion.

Graduate Program

  • Nursing graduates are offered the following selection of two six month clinical rotations across our Psychiatric Inpatient Unit- Swanston Centre (University Hospital Geelong), Psychogeriatric Inpatient care- Blakiston Lodge (McKellar Centre) and Psychiatric Community Rehabilitation Facility (Belmont).
  • Nursing graduates complete six weeks of brief rotations across the following areas:
  • Access Team
  • Drug and Alcohol Services
  • Adult Community Mental Health
  • Youth Mental Health
  • Aged Mental health
  • A week of your choice from a range of options.

The Occupational Therapist Graduate will be provided with a balance of rotations throughout areas such as the inpatient unit, community facilities and case management. The rotations are fixed at commencement of contract and aim to provide a diverse learning experience.

Post Graduate Nursing Program

Mental Health Nursing Graduates are automatically eligible for recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) for one subject into the University of Melbourne Post Graduate Nursing Diploma in Mental Health following successful completion of all rotations and clinical and theoretical assessment in the Graduate Program. All successful nursing graduates are expected and supported to undertake this Post Graduate Program following completion of the Graduate Program. Post Graduates are financially supported by a Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP) and scholarships are available. MHDAS provides the required clinical hours and rotations to facilitate the training.

Information sessions

To find out more about our program, the recruitment and selection process, and to meet some of our team members, please consider attending an information session. Dates are as follows:

  • Monday, 21 May 2018 from 2pm - 3pm
  • Wednesday, 13 June 2018 from 11am -12pm

Sessions will be held at:
Tutorial Room 1, Health Education and Research Building (HERB), located behind Kitchener House. Enter via Ryrie Street, Geelong.

Click here to view a map. 

There is no RSVP required.

How to apply

Nursing - Barwon Health participates in the PMCV computer match process. It is important to ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria to participate in the computer match process prior to applying for graduate nurse positions.

Submit applications online via the Barwon Health vacancies site as per PMCV dates.

The following persons are eligible to apply via the PMCV computer match process:

  • Victorian Nurse Graduates/Midwifery Graduates, who are Australian citizens/permanent residents
  • Interstate Nurse Graduates/Midwifery Graduates, who are Australian citizens/permanent residents
  • New Zealand Nurse Graduates/Midwifery Graduates, who are New Zealand citizens

International students cannot apply to PMCV if they do not hold permanent residency status.

For more information regarding the PMCV computer match process, please visit

Occupational Therapy - Positions will be advertised on the Barwon Health employment website. Applicants are encouraged to subscribe to this site for notification of upcoming Graduate OT positions.    

When applying for a graduate program at Barwon Health Mental Health Drugs and Alcohol Services please include the following:

  • Letter of application plus Curriculum Vitae and/or Professional Portfolio.
  • A current, passport sized photo attached (or scanned)
  • Copies of all 2nd, 3rd and 4th (if applicable) year clinical assessments
  • At least one recent Mental Health placement appraisal
  • A  transcript of all academic results (including key to results),
  • Names and contact numbers of two clinical referees - preferably with one from most recent mental health placement
  • A 250 word statement outlining reasons for applying for Psychiatric Graduate Year Program at Barwon Mental Health, Drugs and Alcohol Service, in particular why the applicant is choosing to define a professional pathway into mental health.
  • Detail of experience of mental health, drug and alcohol services, e.g. placement, employment, volunteer or personal.

If your application has been successful, you will be asked to attend an interview. You will be provided with the interview questions 10 minutes prior to your interview and can expect to interviewed by three staff members. The interview will last approximately 45 minutes and you will have the opportunity to ask questions at the end of your interview.

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Traditional Owners

We, Barwon Health, acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land, the Wadawurrung people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to the Elders both past and present.