Mental Health, Drugs & Alcohol Service Graduates

Graduate Entry to Practice Program

The Mental Health, Drugs & 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.

The program is open to six nursing positions and one occupational therapy position.

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

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

Clinical rotations

Nursing Graduates are provided with five rotations around the service:

Inpatient Unit (16 weeks)
Community Rehabilitation Facility (16 weeks)/ or Aged Persons Psychiatric Inpatient (16 weeks)
Community Mental Health (12 weeks)
Access / Intake Team (two weeks)
Drug and Alcohol Services (two weeks)

Rotations are fixed at commencement of contract.

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.

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 include:

  • Clinical Diagnosis and Classification Models
  • Development of Personal and Professional Skills, looking at the changing work environment, legislation and policy in mental health and opportunity to broaden a wide range of clinical skills.

Study blocks are pre and post tested, students must reach 50% post test mark to successfully complete each study block.

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 also required to complete a range of clinical skills assessments and a 20 minute case study presentation. Both the clinical skills assessments and case study require the graduate to critically appraise and reflect on practice. The case study is submitted as a paper and is also presented to the graduate team in the final study block of the year.

  • Graduates are invited to a Graduation Ceremony as arranged by the Graduate Program Coordinators at the end of their programs completion
  • Graduates are also provided with a professional development record folder to document their achievements throughout the year
  • 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 strongly advised and supported to undertake this Post Graduate Program following completion of the Graduate Program.

Annual leave

Nursing - Graduates are provided with five weeks annual leave (two weeks in September and three weeks in January at end of contract). Leave is set and non negotiable at the commencement of contract.

Occupational Therapy - Four weeks annual leave as negotiated with senior OT.

Recruitment and selection process

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 to :

Barwon Health Swanston Centre Reception 

MHDAS Education Team Graduate Program

PO Box 281, Geelong, VIC 3220

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 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.

Contact us

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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.