Join the Queensland Health graduate nurse and midwife webinar series

Find out more about how to succeed with your application and start your life changing career with Queensland Health by watching our recorded webinars.

Past webinars

Prepare to succeed – An introduction to the nurse and midwife graduate program. How to prepare your application and succeed at interview

Hear from recruiting managers from across Queensland Health, who will give you their expert advice on how to prepare your application, how best to decide on your clinical preference, as well as what hospital to do your graduate year at. They will also give you tips on what makes a successful application and how to prepare for your interview.

Format: Teams webinar [40 minutes]
Date: Tuesday 4 July 2023

Prepare to Succeed

Michelle

Good afternoon everybody and thank you for joining today’s webinar. Before we begin today I recognise that most of our panel today as well as our team are hosting this webinar in Brisbane from the country of the Jagera and Turrbal people. I also recognise the Traditional Owners of the countries where we are all joined from today and First Nations people present in this webinar or meeting. I pay my respects to the Elders, past and present, and celebrate the diversity of Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander people and their culture And connections to the islands and the waters of Queensland.

My name is Michelle Foster and I'm the Nursing Director at the Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service. I've recently finished a secondment in the Office of the Chief Nurse and Midwifery Officer finishing up last week, and it's in OCNMO as it's shortened for which is the beginning of your journey in terms of the portal and the application process.

So we're very excited for you all to join us today. We have been working together as a team for a number of months to improve the portal and the application process and the webinars are part of that. So thank you for joining us. I might go round to our panel for you to meet the rest of the team joining this afternoon. So welcome, Jane.

Jane

Hello everyone.

Michelle

Colin.

Colin.

Hello.

Michelle

And we have Renee.

Renee

Hello everyone.  My name is Renee.

I'm the graduate coordinator at QEII Hospital in Metro South Health and I'm pleased to be here today to support answering your questions.

Michelle

Thank you Renee. Just a little bit of housekeeping before we get going. This webinar is recorded and will be available on the nursing midwifery graduate program website in the coming weeks.

Your mics are muted. If you have questions, please post them in the chat. We'll have time at the end to answer all of your questions. Anyone in the chat can see your information, so please be mindful of posting anything that might be private into the chat, otherwise everybody will be able to see it.

This webinar is part of a series designed to help you launch your career as a nurse or a midwife within Queensland Health, and today the webinar is on an Introduction to the Queensland Health Nursing, Midwifery Graduate Program – How to prepare your application and succeed at interview.

On the screen you can see the key dates for the application portal. It opens on Monday the 17th, which is only in a few weeks’ time, and it closes on Sunday the 13th of August. We will not be able to accept any applications past that Sunday the 13th of August, so please ensure that you have everything in the portal and uploaded and ready to go.

Certainly, the panel would like to congratulate all of you here today for completing your degree or near completing your degree. It is certainly an exciting period of time for you all and choosing a career in nursing, as a nurse or a midwife for Queensland Health can be life changing, both for you and for the for the many, many patients that you're going to be caring for over the years.

The Queensland Health Nursing and Midwifery Graduate program supports all graduate nurses and midwives to transition from their academic study to clinical practice. You'll be supported in an inclusive environment. You can choose from many settings in work, metropolitan, regional, rural, districts. You can work in hospitals, in patient homes, in schools and communities, a vast variety of facilities across all of Queensland. For First Nations nurses and midwives, you can have an impact in your own communities as well. From day one, Queensland Health will support you every step of the way, helping you succeed in your career.

The nursing career structure offers diverse pathways for growth in clinical, education, leadership and research roles. We are dedicated to supporting you throughout your journey and ensuring your success in any path that you choose. Upon completing your graduate program, you can apply to work in various settings across all of the Queensland Health facilities.

As a midwife, you have an option to start your career in midwifery continuity of practice, care models or specific areas such as maternity, neo natal or family care. With practice consolidation and further experience, you can pursue expanded practice roles or consultancy positions, including clinical midwifery consultant, lactation consultant, or endorsed midwife.

On your screen you can see a picture of all of our Hospital and Health services. There are 16 Hospital and Health Services and within each Hospital and Health Service, I'll call it HHS from now on because it's such a mouthful, within each HHS there are a number of facilities. For example, there are 6 facilities within Metro North, including Redcliff, Prince Charles Hospital, STARS, Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital. So there's a lot of facilities across all of the 16 HHSs.

The graduate positions are available in a wide variety of clinical areas in each Hospital and Health Service from metropolitan and also in rural and remote areas. There are very much unique benefits associated with each region. For the metropolitan HHS, which are generally in South East Queensland, they offer a range of clinical services including tertiary services, which might appeal to you when you're choosing a graduate position. Generally, with graduate programs in the metropolitan HHS, you'll gain experience in one or 2 of those clinical preferences in your 12 month program. Then you have the rural remote HHSs, which may not have the variety of the services that are available in the metropolitan HHS however you'll gain invaluable experience and skills due to the variety of patients you'll be caring for during that graduate program.

Consider where you'd like to work in terms of the location preferences, what clinical preferences you'd like to work in, and we'll be following on in the next slides to explain that in a little bit more detail.

On our website each Hospital and Health Service has their own dedicated website for further information about the programs that they are offering and the careers that they will be offering as well. So I'd certainly encourage you to completely explore the website for further information. I'm going to pass on to Colin, who's part of our OCNMO team, to go through the location preferences and the clinical preferences. We've done significant number of changes for both of those this year with our aim to try and ensure that we have as many graduates as possible receive their clinical placement and their HHS placement. So I'll hand over to Colin.

Colin

Thanks Michelle, and welcome everybody. Just a reminder too, if you can put any questions you do have into the chat pane, that would be really appreciated because we'll try to answer those as we go along, get information to you and keep it flowing, but we will address those that may need a verbal response towards the end of this. So thanks a lot. Just put them into the chat and we'll manage them from there.

Now about the preferencing. Firstly, there's been a very big change this year in the whole application process. So if you've heard from people from previous years, understand they might be telling you something about their experience. This experience is expected to be quite different.

Firstly, with a preference point of view, what we're trying to achieve is get the applicant to the highest preference possible for employment. This year the Hospital and Health Service, the HHS that you preference first, will consider your application first. It will not go to any other area until that HHS is assessed.

In previous years, we provided at least the first and second preferences to both HHS. It created duplication that will not happen this year. So it's a must to make sure your first preference is your actual first preference.

Once you've made a choice of the first preference, you'll also need to select 3 facility preferences, first, second, and third facility preferences. You'll only be able to select the HHS once, and you'll only be able to select the facility once, so there's conditional logic involved in the application now to make sure you can't select 2.

There's some rules around the way in which you select the preferences from Group A and Group B. The main reason for this is that when we looked at the analysis of previous years, people in some of those HHS in Group A obviously lived out there, worked out there, trained out there, and the geographic remoteness of such that they really aren't going to move from that area or don't want to. So we might have it possible for them to apply for one position and only one area. Where you're providing for applying for areas in Group B, these HHSs are different geographic considerations. Most of them have significant number of applications and considerable opportunities, so therefore we need some flexibility. So we're looking for, if you're choosing all from Group B, we're looking for at least 3 preferences from Group B.

So when you're doing your application, you need to do this research. If you have registered for the mailing list off the website, then we'll be circulating the list of facilities for each of the HHS and the clinical preferences that do apply to them through that mailing list. We’ll also be putting it on the website over the next week or so as well, so we'll give you more information about that over time.

But that's just really important around the preferences, make sure you're picking your first one first.

We need the flexibility around Group B if you are there. But once you've gone through that and made those selections, you'll also be able to select whether you are interested in one of the rural and remote pathway opportunities, which is a 2 year opportunity.

The first year, you would spend a year with a HHS probably in a more rural environment, and then in the second year you have your choice to go back to a metro environment or to a more regional centred environment, and they're listed on the website, you'll be able to see those where you would spend the first year, where you would spend the second year.

So that's an additional preference. So that is in addition to your location preferences.

First you'll be asked about your clinical preferences, but you once you get through your HHS location preferences, you'll be able to move on to the rest of the form.

When I'm looking at, say, clinical preferences, you'll be asked these actually first in the form environment. And first off, because of the way the form works, if you are qualified as a midwife, then you will be able to identify that and you will receive midwifery options, because midwifery as you know is a separate career to nursing.

Once you get that, you'll see some preferences. The preferences are this year are collected at a higher level.

Each HHS has some different terminology around some of the preferences, so we have grouped them at a higher level and we're asking you to nominate one to six in your preferences, and you'll need to nominate every one from highest to lowest preference. That just helps us understand where your clinical intention is. It doesn't decide where you end up.

Once you finish that, you'll have an option to put in your ideal clinical placement. That is a free text option and for example you could put emergency department at Toowoomba if you wanted to. You could put aged care at Wide Bay. That's up to you. You can put what you like, but that will help the recruitment teams further narrow down where they may be able to place you at the highest possible point to your preferencing. And that pretty much gets me through I think what I had to say, Michelle.

Michelle

Thank you, Colin, and thanks for touching on the rural remote pathway. It is a very exciting opportunity for us this year. We have secured that pathway for 12 months. There are a number of, 3 coordinators across the whole of Queensland that will be assisting the Hospital and Health Services to identify the graduates who are interested in that 2 year employment pathway, and they'll be working with the Hospital and Health Service that you have flagged as your first preference and then the rural remote region affiliated with that HHS.

It is a very exciting opportunity. It might mean that if you are interested in that program, you're going to be dealing with 2 recruitment coordinators to ensure that we get you to that right place in that first 12 months, and then also you'll be having an enormous amount of support in terms of candidate care for your return to the HHS. So it is a great opportunity for yourselves, for those who are interested in a 2 year employment pathway and to absolutely excel in an area where you'll be seeing a whole variety of patients and you'll be developing a vast majority of skill sets while you're adding that rural remote area. So it is very, very exciting for us.

In terms of preparing for your application. All the applicants must complete an online CV. We've changed it this year. There's no need to upload an individually formatted CV. It is all completely online. This is to make sure we have your history captured in a standard format and to complete this section you'll need to include information about your education, your clinical placements and employment. The full list of documents are available on our website, but you will be asked to upload a number of documents this year. Again, it's a little bit different to the last year. You'll need to upload a cover letter and we'll explain a little bit more about that shortly. Your academic transcript. Two completed referee reports. General criminal history check application and consent form. Your vaccine preventable disease form and your current immunization statement.

Your cover letter is essential to the application process and as Colin mentioned before, you can pick up to 6 HHS this time. So we're not asking for 6 cover letters. It's important that it's one cover letter standardised to meet all of your HHS preferences. It should be one A4 page in length and outline your motivations for applying for the role, your passion for the profession and what you'll bring to our teams. If you have a specific reason for selecting any of those HHS or facilities, you need to document that into your cover letter as well. But I might pass over to Jane to give us some advice, or to give you guys some advice, about what to look for when crafting your cover letter. Thanks, Jane.

Jane

And hello, I'm Acting Nursing Director, Learning and Workforce at Children's Health Queensland HHS and some of the things that we're looking for is why you're selecting us in particular. So what is it about our health service that appeals to you as opposed to another health service?

So what are you hoping to gain? What are you hoping to contribute? I guess what is your motivation and your drivers. And if you have any personal experience or practical experience from you're placements, that's also helpful to put in there.

Where's sort of looking for applicants who I guess are probably going to stay beyond their grade year ideally and you know really have a career in Children's Health or contribute to Children's Health across Queensland. And probably just one of our caveats is that we are not actually maternal and child health graduate programs. And we're not paediatric dental. It's very much, you know, acute paediatric. Is there anything else? Michelle, are you happy with that? Sorry, you're on mute.

Michelle

Thanks, Jane. Renee, is there anything that you would like to add as tips and tricks for the graduates cover letter?

Renee

Yes, thank you, Michelle. So I would encourage you to share with us your journey and what is your passion and what drives you. Because we understand that you are applying to a base grade graduate nurse or graduate midwife position and you bring with you limited experience. You may have worked as a USIN for example or an AIN or an EN and you have your clinical placements.

But we understand that you are not going to be applying with, you know clinical nurse level knowledge. So we are happy to be able to teach you knowledge and skills, but we want to know a little bit more about you and what will make you team fit and why you are the best person for the job here at Queensland health and whichever HHS you apply for.

Another tip is to visit your HHSs of choice, your preferences, their websites. They may have some information about their hospital values and you may be able to integrate that and tell us how that aligns with your values and how that will help you be the best person for the role at that hospital.

Thanks very much, Michelle.

Michelle

Thanks, Renee. So hope you found those tips quite helpful. We might move on to submitting your application. There are two portals available with the Queensland Government, so please be careful which one you're applying for.  Make sure that you are applying through the Nursing Midwifery graduate portal and not the general Graduate Portal, which is the whole of the Queensland Government.

There has been applicants in previous years that have been caught up in the other portal and have missed the opportunity to apply. So please make sure you're on the right portal when you do apply.

When you're on the portal, select apply now and that will take you through to the application process. If you do not receive a confirmation email at that point, please contact us so we can ensure that you do have access to that portal or to continue with your application. If you are shortlisted, you'll be contacted by the Hospital and Health Service to discuss the next steps regarding the recruitment process and to arrange for an interview if required.

For most HHS's, interviews start anywhere between September and November. Keep up to date by keeping an eye on the website. Ensure you regularly check your email and phone to see if you've been contacted for an interview. Interviews that are conducted are at the discretion of the Hospital and Health Service and may occur face to face or via telephone, and you may receive invitations to more than one interview.

And if you are interested, I made mention of just before, if you are interested in the 2 year employment pathway by spending your first year in rural remote and then back into a metropolitan HHS, it is likely that you'll be contacted by 2 recruitment officers to arrange for that model to occur. So just keep that in mind as well. I’m going to handover to Renee who will walk you through how to prepare for your interview, which is the most important part of the next steps. Thank you, Renee.

Renee

Thanks very much, Michelle. So I'm going to talk to you about how to prepare for your interview. And there's a few tips that I want to go through. So the first one there is know the HHS. So like I said previously, visit that website and get to know a little bit about that Hospital and HHS. What are the values? What drives them? What are their core achievements that they're trying to achieve? So try and consider how you can bring that to your interview.

Secondly is to study the role. So are you applying for a critical care position or a ward position? Think about the role that you are applying for and consider some of the questions that you may be asked. If you're stuck for that, ask your friends, ask your university colleagues, ask the people that you were on placement with. It's not secret squirrel business what we do as nurses and midwives, and we're not trying to trick you, so please do some research and find out as much as you can about the role and the hospital that you are applying for.

So that leads into anticipating the questions. So like I said, think about the role and what you might be asked. Then the best way to answer an interview question is to use something like a framework which we have there STAR. So situation, task, action and result. The reason we like to use these frameworks is that it means that you are able to offer a response to an interview question that has depth.

So just consider how you've been writing your assignments at university over the last few years. You always start with an introduction, a few body paragraphs to get across your point or your argument, and then you have a summary and a reflection. Same way to respond to an interview question that demonstrates that you have critical thinking, a thought process, and that you're able to leave the interviewer feeling like you've understood and been able to share your personal experience.

If you're asked to use an example in your response, that's great, sorry in the interview question that's great, but if not, it's alright to bring in a personal example as well. And again, that just demonstrates your understanding of the question and your reflective skills as well. It's alright to write some notes and be a little bit prepared ahead of time and it's always good idea to prepare some queries as well.

So an interview really at the crux is a conversation between you and the interviewer. So it's really good to prepare some questions that you might have, just to help drive that conversation at the end of the interview.

If you remember earlier, I was saying how it's a really good idea, what we're looking for is, team fit. So somebody who is going to work well in the team. This is just another opportunity for you to share who you are and how you will fit in that team.

Some other things I would like to touch on is your presentation. So applying here at Queensland Health, we are very proud individuals as a collective and so we want that represented in our staff as well. We like to see people presented smart casually at interviews, so leave the flip flops and the denim shorts at home and have a think about what you're going to be wearing to the interview. We always say it's a good idea to look like a nurse or a midwife, so leave the watches and the rings at home and be bare below the elbows, hair tied up if it touches the collar, all those sorts of things that demonstrate the value of respect for the role, and that will give you a good presentation and a good representation in that first instance.

There's also something called the first 10 seconds, the first 10 steps and the first 10 words and that's all about how you present to your interviewer.

So how do you look in those first 10 seconds? Are you slouched? Are you standing? Are you distracted on your phone? Put all those things away and just be present in the moment and preparing for your interview.

We encourage you to practice a little introduction to yourself, because when you come into the interview they might ask to share a little bit about yourself, again trying to understand, are you going to be the best person for that team? So have a little bit prepared. You may not be asked, but it's always best to be prepared.

And this will lead me into one of the final things I say, which is practice, practice, practice. You do not want the first time you say something out loud to be when you're sitting in front have an interview panel.

So please really think about the role that you're applying for or the role that you have got the interview for. Think about potential questions and practice saying that out loud. It's really good idea to practice in front of your friends and your family because they'll be able to give you some feedback as well, but at the very least, practice on your own in front of the mirror just so you can practice that STAR method and giving well rounded responses that have a lot of depth to them. I'm just very conscious of the time, so I might just leave off there, Michelle and hand back over to you if there's anything else to add.

Michelle

Thanks, Renee. That was very, very helpful so thank you. So that is the end of our presentation. As Renee says, we're just very mindful of the time and we're wanting to be able to allow enough time for us to answer any of your questions. So we will move on to the questions that you've submitted in your chat. I know our team have been working in the background responding to a lot of your questions. So we might just jump through to those.

Colin, one of the questions is, can you give an example on making preferences. If I only wish to apply for Children's Hospital and Health service, would I leave the other option blank? Colin, did you want to quickly respond to that query?

Colin

Yes, certainly there's been a few in the in the chat. The key thing for us is trying to get some flexibility. So in the application you will be forced to actually select 3 if you're picking from Group B.

So if you only want to work at the Children's, then you would still need to select another 2 HHSs to get through the application process and listing Children's as your first preference in where would I like to my ideal clinical position, place the ward or the clinical profession at Children's. In your cover letter, emphasise you really want Children's. If for some reason that you are not selected to go through to Children's, there are the options to move to your other preferences, but if you don't want to do that, then you have the option to exit the process. But I suggest more preferences will get you more consideration.

Michelle

Yeah. Thanks, Colin. I would agree with that. A lot of the acute clinical preferences and their HHS are overwhelmed with the number of applicants that they receive more than the positions that they have available, so you do really want to give yourself all the opportunities through this application process to succeed to a graduate program. So if you are unsuccessful in those first couple of clinical preferences and all the HHSs, the more preferences that you have indicated, the more chances are that you'll secure a position this year. So I agree with the comments from Colin.

Another question is on the Queensland Health website under the list of graduate opportunities for RN's, it mentions midwifery. I just want to confirm this is an option for an RN graduate. Thank you in advance from Kylie. Colin, I might pass that to you as well. I'm not sure if we have got something that needs to be looked at with our website.

Colin

I'm sorry. I was just answering this chat. What was that, Michelle?

Michelle

So it talks about under the list of graduate opportunities for registered nurses. It mentions midwifery. I just want to confirm this is an option for RN graduates. That would only be the case, Kylie, if you dual trained so if that is you then yes, you get to pick one or the other. Some HHS have a dual trained graduate program, but not all. So you just need to be clear if it's nursing or midwifery. Colin if I’ve got that right?

Colin

Yeah. So right at the start of the preferencing we have an option to look at your professional choice, the profession you're choosing. If you're qualified as a nurse only then your option is as a nurse and that will be the default answer. You can proceed straight past that question. If you are trained as a midwife, potentially with dual qualifications, you can then choose either I want work as a midwife or I'm open to working under both professions. And under both professions you'll have some further options around clinical preferences and midwifery preferences. But when we look at the HHS and where they can offer those preferences to work in both, that's where it becomes very limited and you’ve got to do your research around which HHS will actually offer that.

Michelle

Thanks, Colin. There's a question around the cover letter. I think we may have already covered this in our conversation. Should we be directing it to the regional hospital? As I said before, if you're listing up to 6 HHS S, we don't need 6 cover letters. You probably need to be fairly generic and list all the ones that you have highlighted as a preference, and the reasons why probably make that cover letter just that little bit longer. But we certainly don't want 6 cover letters. I'm hoping I've answered that correctly for you.

Can you give me an example on making preferences? I'm not sure if you're referring to HHSs or clinical, but definitely if it's a HHS there, you'll get the option of picking from 16 Hospital and Health Services. And when you go into the portal, you'll be able to see all the facilities available for those Hospital and Health Services. So you need to pick both. If you're referring to clinical preferences, there will be the higher order ones as Colin mentioned before, around each care, medical, surgical community, etc. And then next to each one of those higher level clinical preferences will be of examples of what fits in there. As an example, operating theatre sits in with surgery. Emergency sits in with medicine, so there will be some examples next to each one of those higher level clinical preferences. And as you get into the portal, it'll make a little bit more sense.

Kat’s mentioned that you're using an old referee report. Ideally, we wanted everyone to use the new referee report, but again, Kat, we don't want to make extra work for our graduates or for the people who completed the referee report. So this year we'll be accepting the old one. But if there's an opportunity to have it rewritten, then great, but if not, we're happy to take the old one for this year. Can we write notes to bring to the interviews? Renee I think you might have touched on that, didn't you?

Renee

Yes, thank you, Michelle. So I would encourage you to write some notes just to help you prepare, but please be aware that each HHS and hospital will run interviews a little bit differently. Some will allow you to bring a one page document in with you to the interview. Others will not allow that, so certainly do not rely on that. But if it's part of your preparation, then I strongly encourage you to do that. Like I said, each HHS and hospital will interview differently. Some will have panels, some will have simulations, some will have group interviews.

I would encourage you, when you are offered an interview, perhaps ask what kind of interview it is and that way you can help prepare. They may say no, they may not be able to provide that information, but again, this is just a having that attitude of inquiry, making some preparations. But like I said, do not rely on being able to bring notes into an interview. Thanks, Michelle.

Michelle

Thanks, Renee. Jane I might lean into you for the next question. Are the interviews conducted by the HHS or the unit that you're applying for?

Jane

So that generally is conducted by the HHS, I suppose I can only speak for Children's, and then the Hospital and Health Service will determine, they will try and take into account your preferences. But it will also depend on the reverse, so, the services that take more grads. So each service has to each identify how many grad positions they have. So for example, everybody wants to go in emergency, but they only have 5 positions and so then it will get filtered from there. That might be determined by performance at interview, or it might be up to the HHS how they manage that. So if you get an opportunity try to showcase your resilience, how you've gotten where you’ve gotten, and what barriers you've overcome, some of your personality strengths, things like that that make you stand out.

Michelle

Thanks, Jane. I'm at the Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service. I know when we conduct our interviews for the graduates, it's done by the whole of the HHS. So all of the nurse unit managers and clinical facilitators and educators come together and conduct the interviews on behalf of all of the units. But definitely, each HHS do it a little bit differently. So that's how it's managed here at the Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service.

Some more questions around the interviews. I understand that some interviews are conducted as a group interview where there are multiple applicants interviewed at the same time. Can you advise how these interviews work and how best to present at these interviews? Renee, did you want to take that question on?

Renee

Yes, thank you, Michelle. So a group interview is designed for a couple of reasons. We are trying to get everybody through in a fair and equitable manner, but also to see how you work in a team. So there are a couple of things that they're trying to look for there and you might be presented with a clinical scenario or it might be something abstract. It's really difficult to say precisely, but what they are looking for is some communication skills and your interaction within that group. Because nursing and midwifery is about working in a team, so that's probably the best way I can respond to that question without providing a specific example, which would be a conflict of interest in this forum. So thanks Michelle.

Michelle

Thanks, Renee. There's a really good question here in terms of will the interviews be conducted in person or via Zoom? So again, that's up to each HHS. But if you are shortlisted and have been invited to an interview, if the Zoom capability is not offered, then I strongly recommend that you present to that Hospital and Health Service for that interview, as Renee was just talking about before.

If it's a group interview process at that Hospital and Health Service, then you would probably be disadvantaged dialling in for that process. So check with the HHSs if they're happy for it to be Zoomed, then that's good. If not, you will need to make your way to be a face to face interview.

One of the other questions, if a graduate from my university degree is in NSW, will this leave me disadvantaged when applying to Gold Coast health service for example. If yes, is there anything I can do to help my chances?

You're not disadvantaged if you're from other states. All applicants are looked at in merit, but just remembering a lot of the metropolitan, including Gold Coast, is a highly contested HHS, and there's often more graduates applying than there are positions. If you're super keen to increase your chances at Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service, I'm going promote the rural and remote pathway. That's a great opportunity for you to tick Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service, but also expression interest in the 2 year employment model for rural remote, which means you'll go out to rural remote for your first year and then you'll come back into the Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service in hopefully a clinical preference of your choice if the positions are available. So that would be my recommendation for increasing your chances to come to the Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service.

There's another question. Are you able to share some example questions that may be asked at interview? What we might do in the interest of time is we might put some examples in the chat for you to come back and have a look at because that's we'll be quite a take up quite a bit of our time to give you some examples.

With the rural remote pathway, can you choose which clinical area you want to work to in your second year? I think I might have touched on that. Yes you can. The only time that it may not be granted, say for example you've chosen to come back into the Emergency Department and there isn't any positions at that point in time. But definitely the whole team will be working really closely with you to ensure that you get your clinical preference when you come back in that second year.

Another question is around NSW and the fact that you don't have the GPA system in NSW. Colin, I believe we've addressed that in the application process for the graduates from other jurisdictions that don't have GPA.

Colin

Yes, that's correct. There is multiple options on the GPA. You'll find other options that are available in Australia and if your option isn't there, there is an option to put other, but your option should be there, allowing for every one of the jurisdictions.

Michelle

Thanks, Colin. Another good question, for those looking for a mid-year entry program in 2024 is the application process the same as they do apply this year. So yes, so a lot of the Hospital and Health Services have their graduate intake scattered anywhere from January to September, October. So there's a lot of intakes along the way. We are really excited for 2024 because we have the support of the Hospital and Health Services to start looking at a mid year formal portal opening as well. So that is quite exciting.

It looks like we're getting wrapped up. The thank you slide’s coming up. There's lots and lots of questions more. We have run out of time and we will definitely come back into the chat and answer those final questions that we haven't had time to answer today. So thank you for joining us today. It has been absolutely fantastic having you hear from the whole panel. We wish you all the very best with your application. If you have any more questions, please contact us through the website or through the OCNMO website as well. And we will endeavour to answer any of your questions and support you through your application process. And also remembering there are more webinars coming up in the coming days. So please check on the website for the dates and the topics that we'll be discussing for those events.

Colin

Michelle, the other thing too is that it will pay people to join the mailing list, which is available on the website because we do answer these questions when we can out through the mailing list and there's many, many hundreds of people on that mailing list now. So if you do join that, we’ll drive out answers to some of these common questions all the time.

Michelle

Good point. Thank you Colin. So thank you very much again and thank you, Jane, Colin and Renee. It's been an absolute pleasure having you on the panel. And good afternoon everybody.

Colin

Good afternoon and good luck.

Jane

Thank you. Good luck.

Renee

Goodbye.

Graduate nursing and midwifery opportunities for First Nations applicants

Queensland Health is determined to make a difference to the lives of all Queenslanders, in particular First Nations Queenslanders. Our First Nations nursing and midwifery workforce are essential to achieving this. Hear from Queensland Health nurses and midwives on the opportunities, support and advice on working for Queensland Health from the perspective of First Nations colleagues.

Format: Teams webinar [40 minutes]
Date: Thursday 20 July 2023

Opportunities for First Nations applicants

Rosie

Good afternoon everyone. Thank you for joining us for this afternoon's webinar. Before we get started, I would like to acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands in which we're all dialling in from today, for me here on Meanjin that is the Jagera and Turrbal people, and I'd like to pay my respects to Elders both past and present, and all of you who have joined us online today, both our current and future First Nations nurses and midwives.

My name is Rosie Borey. I'm a proud Ngugi and Noonuccal descendant from Quandamooka Country and I'm currently the First Nations Nursing Director at the Office of the Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer. I'm also leading today's webinar. Before we commence today's webinar and introduce the panel there are a couple of housekeeping things to note. Firstly, this webinar is recorded and will be available on the Nursing and Midwifery graduate program website in the coming weeks. Please ensure throughout the webinar your mics are muted. If you have any questions, please post them in the chat and we'll have time to answer these at the end. Anyone on the chat can see the information you post so please don't put post any personal information there. I'll now hand to hand over to our Deadly Panel to introduce themselves. We might start with you, Lila on the left there.

Lila

Thank you, Rosie. Welcome graduates. My name is Lila Pigliafiori. I'm a nurse educator working at the North West Hospital and Health Service. My role here is Nurse Educator for the First Nations nurses and midwives workforce. I am a proud descendant of the Waanyi/Gangalidda people who reside up near Burketown, Doomadgee and of the Torres Strait Islands, Darnley Island Erub people. Previous to becoming a nurse, I spent many years working in the community and across other government departments, and I decided very late in my career that I wanted to nurse. So I graduated through a first year graduate nurse program in 2019 and I continued to work in mental health. From 2020 onwards I then I accepted a role to shift along and work in this new space as a nurse educator for our First Nations nurses and midwives. Thank you.

Rosie

Great thanks. Sonita.

Sonita

Thanks Rosie. Good afternoon. I'm Sonita Giudice. I'm a Gungarri and WakkaWakka woman. I'm employed as a clinical midwifery consultant on the Growing Deadly Families Strategy in the Office of the Chief Nursing Midwifery Officer. I've been a midwife for 10 years. I commenced my career with the graduate program at Redcliffe Hospital. Upon completion of my grad year, I moved to the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, where I've worked in many roles such as Midwife on the Move in the Pegasus team, midwifery care, and then as a core birth suite midwife. But then I moved into my passion area, which was caseload midwifery as an identified First Nations midwife working in a First Nations midwifery group practice. Thank you.

Rosie
Thanks Sonita. And Kaz.

Kazandra
Thanks Rosie and welcome graduates. My name is Kaz. I'm a proud Aboriginal woman with strong connections to Quandamooka country. I completed my graduate program at Logan Hospital and started my nursing career in anaesthetics and recovery room nursing. Since then, my career has been very colourful and diverse, moving from ward work, to theatre to community. And being able to work on country with my community has been both rewarding and humbling. And with this collective nursing experience, I've gained a unique skill set for my current role as a nurse navigator for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health.

Rosie Borey
Thanks, Kaz, and we're also joined today by Colin, who is the main lead for the graduate portal and will be able to answer any of the questions that you have regarding the application process. So thank you, Colin.

Queensland Health is committed to working with First Nations communities and advancing health equity. We are also committed to growing our First Nations workforces, who have a significant role in our health system. In today's session, we will provide you with a summary of the Hospital and Health Services, some of the opportunities that exist and the support that is available when you work for Queensland Health and we'll hear from our Deadly Panel on their personal journeys from graduate nurse or midwife to nursing and midwifery leaders. Whilst we will briefly cover topics of choosing your clinical preferences, preparing your application and cover letter and preparing for your interview, we do encourage you to watch the previous webinar, which is now available on the website for more in depth detail on these topics. A reminder, if you do have questions, please post them in the chat. And at the end, we will have time to answer these.

The Queensland Health Nursing and Midwifery Graduate Program supports graduate nurses and midwives in transitioning from academic study to clinical practice. You'll work in a supportive and inclusive environment and can choose from many settings to work in across metropolitan, regional, rural and remote areas. You can work in hospitals, patients’ homes, schools and communities across Queensland. As a First Nations nurse or midwife you can also have the opportunity to impact your own community. The nursing career structure offers diverse pathways for growth in clinical education, management and leadership and research roles. Queensland Health is committed to supporting you throughout your journey and ensuring your success in any path you choose. Upon completing the graduate program, you can apply to work in various Queensland Health facilities. As a midwife, you have the option to start your career in midwifery continuity of carer models, or specialise in specific areas such as maternity, neonatal and family care. With practice consolidation and further experience, you can pursue expanded practice roles or consultancy positions, including the clinical midwife consultant, lactation consultant, or endorsed midwife. To apply for a graduate position with us, you must apply through the graduate portal. This portal is open now and closes on Sunday the 13th of August. Please check the graduate nurse and midwife website to confirm your eligibility for the graduate program position and Rachel will share the link in the chat now for that eligibility criteria.

So as you would know our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population is diverse and in Queensland alone we have many language groups, tribal nations, and as you can see on the left there. Within Queensland Health there are 16 Hospital and Health Services which we often refer to as HHSs, and within each HHS there are a number of facilities, some have multiple hospitals as well as smaller health centres, community clinics and primary health centres. For example, on the screen on the right there you can see Metro North HHS has 6 hospitals and 15 community based health facilities. In the middle, for example, in Townsville there are 12 hospitals and 13 community health centres within that HHS. There are HHSs that service large Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations, where you might have the opportunity to work with Aboriginal and those Strait Islander clients should this be of interest to you. For example, areas up in the north and out west such as Torres and the Cape HHS, Cairns and Hinterland HHS, South West HHS, North West HHS and Townsville have high Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations. We know the value of First Nations nurses and midwives working in their own community, so if this is something of interest to you, please indicate this in your application. Graduate positions are available in a wide variety of clinical areas in each of the Hospital and Health Services. In some graduate programs, and particularly in regional, rural, and remote areas, your graduate program may be working across multiple departments and sometimes facilities, and you may rotate through primary and tertiary care. In some HHSs there are programs specifically for First Nations populations, such as the Waijungbah Jarjums program in the Gold Coast HHS, the Deadly Ears program in CHQ HHS, the Southern Cross Centre for Excellence in Metro South HHS, and the Ngarrama service in Metro North HHS. Whilst not all of these programs take new graduates, it's important to note their existence, should you wish to pursue a role in one of these services following your graduate program. When choosing your preferences, it's important to note that there are unique benefits associated with each region. Consider where you would like to work, so your location preference, and what clinical areas you'd like to work in, so your clinical preferences. Each health service has a website that lists the Hospital and Health Services, and many of these health services have dedicated webpages promoting nursing and midwifery careers. It is worth exploring these sites to help inform your decision.

As I mentioned, there are a number of programs dedicated to First Nations populations that take that take a holistic approach to health and wellbeing, and the links on the screen are just a couple examples of these services and we will share the link in the chat with you so you can view these at a later time.

So there is also a number of support available for First Nations graduates, and whilst this does differ between the Hospital and Health Services and is an evolving space, some of the support that you could expect to receive includes cultural support. So you will have the opportunity to connect with other First Nations employees and in some HHSs you may be even offered a cultural mentor, whilst others you may find connection with peers through First Nations staff networks. Through these networks, you may also have the opportunity to participate in community events such as NAIDOC Week celebrations and important community gatherings.

The Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives is the national peak body representing and advocating for First Nations nurses and midwives. Through their membership there are a number of cultural support opportunities. This membership is free and we will share the link to that in the chat now. Other examples of support include that provided through the Queensland Nurses and Midwives Union’s First Nations branch, and other supports available through Queensland Health. We encourage you to reach out to your line manager once you've onboarded to know more about these. In terms of training and development there are also many additional training and development opportunities, depending on your career goals. As an employee of Queensland Health, you're entitled to professional development leave allowance, which allows you to participate or undertake further professional development activities, and if in the future you're interested in undertaking further study or obtaining further qualifications, there are a number of scholarships available for First Nations nurses and midwives. Through external providers as well, such as the Australian College of Nurses and the Australian College of Midwives. Scholarship information can be found online and the link to that will be shared in the chat now.

There are also rural and remote incentives. So there are additional incentives for those wishing to work in rural and remote areas. This includes travel and accommodation provisions or allowances, professional development allowances, bonus payments which increase after each year of service, and these benefits may be worth up to $25,000 per year on top of Queensland Health’s already attractive package. To find out more about these benefits and incentives and we encourage you to visit the website that's now being shared in the chat as well. There is also a new rural and remote pathway which is being developed to accelerate your career while providing compassionate care in Queensland. This is a 2-year program and will see you working in a rural and remote location in your first year and in your second year in a major hospital. And Colin will talk about that next when he talks about preferences. So I'll hand over to you Colin.

Colin Thanks Rosie and welcome everyone. The way the application process works around preferences is that we're looking for those HHS in Group A, which are generally the larger geographic areas and generally short of supply of applicants, these are the areas where if you apply for one of those HHS then you don't need to apply for any others. We don't need the additional flexibility, it's highly likely that you're going to go through to a recruitment process within that HHS. If you're in a Group B, where typically these HHSs get more applicants than positions and some are a lot more than the positions, we need some flexibility. So we're asking for at least 3 in that area. So if you're in a situation where you really only want one HHS and it happens to be in Group B, that needs to be your first preference. You will also need to select a second and third to be able to complete your process. If that's the case and you for some reason are not successful with your first preference, then you can elect to withdraw and disregard any further offers from other HHS. That's entirely up to you, but we do need the flexibility and based on historical evidence, most applicants will be placed at their first preference, so it's really important that you get your first preference listed is your first preference.

This year there's been a big change to the process and this year the HHS that you list first will consider your application first. It will not go to another HHS until that HHS has considered the application at a high level, not right down to granular examination of your application, but at least at a high level to say, look, we're going to take these graduates through the recruitment process and if there is an oversupply, for example if you're looking in the areas of Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast where typically there is an oversupply, they'll need to make a choice to say some of these graduates will need to go to second and third preferences. And in that case you'll be moved to a second and third preference if you're not successful in that first round. But if you are in the group A and you do live out there and it's likely you'll only really want to work in one of those HHS and that's absolutely fine. We'll accept that and move through. After you've made those selections of any of the HHSs you'll also be asked to select at least one facility preference, and that's a hospital or a community centre that's listed where they will be placing graduates, or expect to place graduates in the next year. So you'll pick the HHS and then you'll be able to have another drop down to say, well, here's the facilities and which one do I want to go to. You can also select up to 5. With the HHSs you can select one in Group A, 3 in Group B, or you could select one in Group B and then one in Group A, and still go through, because once you get Group A you're in, you can stop choosing preferences. But then you can select up to 6. So regardless of where you might land on this, the more you select or preferences you provide, the more opportunities you can actually be considered against. You may not get down to 4th, 5th, and 6th, but you at least can be considered for further preferences. If you don't provide them, then it's going be difficult to consider you for those preferences.

After you do the preferences around the HHS, you will also be offered to indicate an interest in the rural and remote pathways that Rosie spoke about earlier. This preferencing is in addition to the HHS preferencing. So first off, get your HHSs right. The one you want first put first and any others you might want to select. Once you've done that, you can then select an interest in one or more of the rural remote pathways, and they are listed with the HHSs, and they're also listed with those HHSs that you'll be able to spend your first year in, and the HHSs you have options to spend your second year in. There’s a guide on the website. Then right down the bottom you will be asked what's your commencement date and take into account things like getting your AHPRA approval, any holidays or plans you might have personally to take some time off after study, and you can put the date that you would like to commence work. And a bit of a tip around the date fields. These are all date fields, they are all approximate fields too. You don't have to get the precise date that you actually started your university degree for example, the month and the year is fine. It's the approximate date, so don't be stressed if you can't get the dates perfectly right. Any date in that month would be fine. I might leave that there, Rosie. If anyone’s got any questions, happy to field them.

Rosie
We might just go to the next slide around clinical preferences. Did you want to talk just quickly about those different preferences for nursing and midwifery and the 6 priority areas?

Colin
Yes certainly. This year we've changed the approach and we are looking at collecting your clinical preferences at a higher category level. A number of subspecialties make up, say medical, surgical, etc. They are available on the website and you'll be able to look at how those subspecialties line up. These clinical preferences, you'll need to select them in your order of preference, all of the 6. So depending on what you prefer to work in the most is one, and the least is 6. After that there will be a text box where you'll be able to provide a clear indication of your ideal clinical preference area. That can be a subspecialty, and you could even put, for example, emergency department at Toowoomba, so you can be quite precise about what you would prefer to have. So the HHSs will be able to understand generally how you line up with your clinical preferences, but then also quite specifically what is my clinical preference, where would I love the land, and you can place that in free text and you can put what you like in there.

Rosie
Excellent. Thank you, Colin. So as I mentioned earlier, for information on the application process, preparing your interview, I encourage you to watch the webinar that was held on the 4th of July and this is now available on the website.  The aim of the cover letter is to provide the employer with more detail about who you are, your motivations and your passions. We know that cultural identity may be a central part of who you are. Therefore, we encourage you to identify where you're from or where your mob is from. You may also wish to say and where you currently reside, for example on Jagera or Turrbal country. Other things you might want to include is why you want to work in that particular HHS or the HHSs you have selected. As Colin said, there is a free text box. So if for example you have selected Gold Coast HHS because of a particular interest in the Waijungbah Jarjums program, then mention this also in your letter. If working in the HHS means that you're working on country and with your community, please be explicit about this and there is a field you can fill in for this. If you have a passion for working with mob and contributing to improved health outcomes with our people, make sure that you mention this in your cover letter. Highlight any personal or professional experience you have already gained. For example, if you were a health worker, a cadet, a USIN, or USIM, an AIN or employed in any other capacity, please mention this in your cover letter and what this experience has meant to you. If you have participated in any community program activities or have any personal interests, make sure you mention those as it tells us a little bit about yourself.

If you do progress to the next step after your online application, you will usually be contacted by the HHS to arrange an interview. When preparing for your interview it's a good idea to know the HHS.
So as mentioned earlier, each facility has a website which explains the services provided by that HHS. Become familiar with that for the HHS that you're applying to. Pre-empt some questions that you might be asked and write these down. For example, think about what are your main motivations for selecting a particular clinical preference or a particular HHS. You might also be asked to provide a little introduction about yourself, so think about some things you might want to share in that interview. It might be a bit about who you are, where you're from, your family, your interests, your favourite placement. You also might be able to provide an example of a time that you did something, it might be something about managing conflict or how you received feedback. When you provide a response or provide an example, it's good to follow a framework as this helps you formulate and organise your response, and there are frameworks such as Situation, Task, Action and Result which are also discussed in the previous webinar. As a First Nations applicant, you might also be asked about your cultural identity and so think about what this means for you. If you don't feel a strong connection to your culture, that's OK. And if it's something you want to explore, you can mention that. Again, write some potential questions down and practice them in the mirror at home. This always helps to relieve the nerves and make you feel better prepared. There is always something about those first 10 seconds and first 10 words as this creates a first impression. So make sure you come on time, dress smart casual, show respect and interest in the process and the role, and be present, so not distracted or on your phone. If you have any questions about the position or about the program, make sure you write these down and have them available because they'll be able to be answered at your interview. Again, this is just a brief summary and just some tips, and again you'll find more information on the website and on that previous webinar.

So now this brings us to the time where we open up to our Deadly Panel that are online. So if you have any questions please put them in the chat and we will endeavour to answer them. From what I can see so far, we haven't got any questions flowing through yet, so I might just ask the panel a question and if this kind of gets the ideas flowing, please pop those in there. Sonita I might start with you. So you mentioned earlier that you did a grad program in Metro North HHS before, before finding your passion working in a First Nations continuity model of care. Can you tell us a little bit about your experience on what it was like going from, I guess an inpatient maternity unit and then into a continuity model and what that experience was like and what you like about that?

Sonita

Thanks Rosie. So everyone who is a midwife should know the benefits of midwifery continuity of care models. But it was really different going from mainstream into a First Nations continuity of care model or just a continuity of care model in general. So we know the benefits that you're able to support the woman and their family through that journey and you get more satisfaction as a midwife because you're having less burnout. You're actually following through the process, you're actually working to your full scope potential as midwife, and then you know that in turn leads to, you get a better work, life balance, but also you get to be a part of somebody's journey where you're actively having a reduction in interventions and you're being able to promote a normal birth experience for women. So it was a really lovely experience because I was kind of working really fragmented. I'd see them antenatally and 6 months later I might move to the birth suite. Then I might have seen them come into birth, but working in a big tertiary hospital it didn't quite get that continuity through, so it was really great to work in a midwifery continuity of care model. But as a First Nations midwife working in a First Nations continuity of care model, it was just that being surrounded by mob, having people that understand you and your culture, and it was reciprocated by clients, family members, and being able to really put that emphasis on our holistic approach to healthcare.

Rosie
Thanks Sonita. I might hand over to you, Lila. So you mentioned that you began your nursing career in a grad program in mental health in North West. Can you tell us a little bit about what it's meant to you to work on country or working within the community? And then I have a second question, but I'll let you answer that one first.

Lila

No worries. Thank you. I might answer the last part of your question, working on Kalkadoon country. So I find it an honour to be working on Kalkadoon country. The impact for me personally has been an expansion of my cultural knowledge and connections with the community, because when I decided late in my career to do a complete shift and study nursing, I went to the Kalkadoon people and sat with them and talked about it. I have always worked in and around health, so I wanted their input into what their lens was on health in our community. So going to them in the first instance was very rewarding because they were able to give me the direction and help me set my trajectory on how I wanted to be as a nurse when I got in. So when I did graduate and I was offered a first year graduate program, it was just amazing. Working in mental health had so many rewards and challenges, but it was successful because I got to work across our multicultural community, but the biggest advantage was that I had the support and the guidance from the Kalkadoon people themselves, as well as a lot of the other multicultural Aboriginal clan groups that live on country, which I think we've got about 16. So my journey from my first year graduate program in mental health was rapid. I moved through that in 12 months and then I accepted a clinical position to continue working in mental health. And then I was approached 12 months ago to come along and have a go at this new position, called a Nurse Educator First Nations Workforce for our nurses and midwives, and it's been so rewarding. My journey has been great and I can't thank the whole process enough and I know that the graduates that are on here today, you're really going to enjoy your first year.

Rosie

Thanks Lila. We do have a question in the chat now around preferencing, so I might throw this to you, Colin to answer. So if we wanted to work at the Children's Hospital in ED, would we still put the children's as a second preference?

Colin
No, you would not. If you want to work at the Children's Hospital, you need to put Children's Hospital or Queensland Children's Hospital as the first preference. That way they'll consider your application first in the specialty area. You can put ED at Children's as well. That way you'll at least be considered by Children's Hospital first. Don't put them second. You have to put your first preference first.

Rosie

Right. Thanks, Colin. I hope that's answered your question. We have another question to the panel and I might just see if anyone can answer this. So does anyone have any tips you could give to overcome the reality shock of the nursing field? And maybe what was one of your most challenging moments in your nursing career? Kaz, you wanna talk about maybe the shock of commencing as a graduate and how you overcame some of those challenges? Thank you.

Kazandra

Thanks, Rosie, and thanks for the question. Yeah, it was a bit of a shock going from a university student. now I had been an AIN as well, to that full time career and shift work and sleep deprivation and the expectation versus reality. So that's a really good question. I think what I got me through was I reached out and asked for help regularly. I sourced a mentor if that's something that you have capacity to do or becomes available. They help guide me when I just wanted to give up and thank god they did. They didn't let me do that. So yeah, if you have someone that you can reach out to, to be a mentor, that would be amazing. You know when other people were going out, you were going to work and time management of it all. I clearly remember struggling with all of those things. Working through that over time and having that support network and guidance of a mentor really helped secure that pathway for me. I’ll give it back to the panel. They might have other ideas as well.

Rosie

Thanks Kaz. Anyone else want to add to that? Otherwise we do have someone typing. Sonita you wanted to answer that?

Sonita
Lila was first, so let her go.

Lila

OK, no fighting. Yeah, just to tail on the end of Kazandra’s. One tip I can give is don't allow the whole situation to overwhelm you. Just get your notebook out and say right, this is this feels like a challenge. I'm gonna write it down and I'm going to talk to someone about it, and they're going to help me to mainly write down what it is that confuses you about that particular issue or what you're confronted with at the time I found that really helped. Also, with the first year graduates, you will have so much support around you and the minute you say I need some direction, everyone will come in your will come your way, so make sure you choose the selectively or you'll have the whole hospital wanting to help. You're training as a nurse. You'll feel like you're still in the lab room, or you're doing an OSCE but embrace it. Just take it on and if it's a new skill, just keep going with it, because then it becomes your new skill that you've learned and just keep practicing it every day. But don't be afraid to put your hand up and ask.

Sonita
I was going to say as clinicians we actually all experience that culture shock when we do go into new roles, it doesn't matter if you're a grad or a really experienced staff member. I know that coming into my new role I was very overwhelmed. I felt the culture shock of being in a new environment. I think it's just about aligning yourself with people and knowing how to reach out. So you know, in your grad years, you're so well supported by an educator or a practice development nurse or midwife in being a part of that grad program, but then you can look to your First Nations leadership and in all the HHSs we do have executive leadership, and they do have staff that sit under them, you can reach out. Find out who your First Nations staff are around you and connect with mob and join the First Nations branch so that you're able to be mentored and supported within your environment.

Rosie

Great. Thanks Sonita. We have another question here which I might try to answer this one for you. So in your first year as a grad, was there anything you did to provide additional education for colleagues or the ward surrounding indigenous people’s health? What I would like to say, I guess is that building the cultural capability of the workforce broadly in Queensland Health is a priority. It is not your role as a new grad to provide that additional education. We do have people within the Hospital and Health Services that are doing that, so I certainly don't want to make people feel as though they have to carry that and it's their responsibility. But certainly in Queensland Health we value and embrace Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff, so there is definitely an interest for people to learn more about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people's health and so if that's something you're interested in and want to share, then certainly there is opportunity for that.

We have a couple more people typing, and while they type, I might ask you Kaz a question and we'll give them a little bit of time. So you mentioned you started your career in anaesthetics and recovery. So 2 very acute care settings and then moved into the community working with mob and now as a nurse navigator. Can you tell us a little bit about that experience and what it's like working in an acute setting and now in the community?

Kazandra
Yeah, definitely. Thanks, Rosie. Yeah, I kind of was a bit lost as well. So it's such a like relevant question. So trying to find my passion and pathway in nursing and I did end up in anaesthetics and recovery room nursing and I just loved it. I loved that it was, I wrote some words down so I would remember, it was technical and I got to learn a lot. The camaraderie in theatre was really good. But for me personally, I felt like I was lacking a part of that client's journey in the story. So they'd come in, we'd repair something, we'd do something technical, and then they would leave. And I never knew what happened after, and I really missed that link and that's how I then was very lucky to apply for a job at our AMS, which was Aboriginal Medical Service, on country and that then led to my community nursing pathway. And you know, I've never looked back and then I gained the skills to become a Nurse Navigator, continuing in community health. I'm kind of lost in that question sorry, but yes, I think I yearned for more connection with the clients and the client journey. And then just being able to receive that in community has been really fulfilling.

Rosie

Thanks Kaz. We are obviously a bit short on time, so we just do have one more question around preferences. So I might throw that to you, Colin. So if the majority of your preferences are HHSs from Group B, would you recommend including one, maybe 5th or 6th, that is from Group A to increase your chances of getting a grad position?

Colin

Yes. The more preferences you put down, the more opportunities you can be considered for.
It's a mathematical straightforward proposition. If you are willing to work in more locations, put them down. You've got up to 6, you can include up to 6. We're going to start with number one. Our goal is to try to get you to the highest preference at possible, so we're going to start at one. And if for some reason that doesn't work out, we're going to go to 2. And so on.

Rosie

Great. Thank you, Colin. I hope that answered your question Rachel. So that brings us to the end and we've run out of time for today. But if you would like more information, the QR code on the screen will take you to the website where you can get more information, or if you would like to contact us with further questions you can do so through the email address online. So thank you so much to our panel today, very inspiring. And we look forward to you starting your journey with Queensland Health and what the future holds for you, so thank you.

Graduate nursing opportunities – Ask our panel anything

In this “Ask anything” session you will be able to ask any question about your graduate year, and find out more information on what it is like to work as a nurse in Queensland Health.

Format: Teams webinar [40 minutes]
Date: Tuesday 25 July

Ask our panel anything

Michelle

Good afternoon and thank you for joining our webinar today. Before we begin today, I'd like to recognise most of the panel members and our team are joining this webinar in Brisbane from the country of the Jagera and Turrbal people. I also recognise the Traditional Owners of the countries where you all join from today and the First Nations people present in the webinar. I pay my respects to all present and past elders and celebrate the diversity of Aboriginal Torres Strait Island people and their cultures and their connections to the land and the waters of Queensland. Firstly, I'd like to pass on a huge congratulations for completing your degree or near completing it. It's a very exciting period for you all and we are very pleased for you to join us today and we are also very excited, the panel is very excited to join the team today. We've made a lot of changes to the website and to the application process and to the portal, and so we're at that point now where you'll be applying for the positions. So all the work that we've been doing is come to fruition. So it's a very exciting and for us as well. Just a little bit of housekeeping, this webinar is recorded and will be available on the Nursing and Midwifery Graduate Program website in the coming weeks. Your mics have been muted. If you have any questions, please post them in the chat and we'll answer these questions during the session and definitely at the end of the session. Just a little reminder that anyone in the chat can see your information you post, so please don't put any personal private information on the site for all to see. This is part of a series designed to help you launch your career as a nurse in Queensland Health. Today's webinar will provide you with the introduction to a nursing career with Queensland Health and also the opportunity to ask us any questions that you might have about a nursing career in Queensland Health.

As way of introduction, my name is Michelle Foster and I have been nursing for over 40 years. I'm currently the Nursing Director for Workforce at the Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service. Most of my career has been in acute settings such as ICU, cardiology, renal, respiratory and emergency department. I've recently completed a secondment as a Director of Nursing in the Office of the Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer. And for those who are not sure, this office oversees the graduate portal and the application process, and this is where your journey begins. The last 6 months the team in the office have worked hard at improving the graduate portal, the application process, including the website. So as I mentioned before, it is certainly an exciting time for us at the moment. For all of my career I've been involved in recruiting and supporting graduate nurses either directly as a NUM or indirectly as I've moved into more senior roles. So certainly, had lots of experience with the graduates in Queensland Health. I might pass over and let the other panel members introduce themselves and part of their journey as well, Sally.

Sally Jones

Good afternoon, everybody. And I echo Michelle’s congratulations on your graduation. My name is Sally Jones. I'm the Director of Nursing for Practice Innovation in the Office of the Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer. I am new to the team here, formerly from Metro North where I worked for 28 years in a variety of roles, including those that actually sit through graduate interviews and employ graduates in emergency, ICU, paediatrics, and maternity. So I look forward to talking with you this afternoon.

Michelle

Thanks, Sally. Jason.

Jason

Afternoon everybody, my name's Jason Holland. So currently I'm the Acting Nurse Unit Manager in Ward 2C, which is neuroscience over in Brisbane and the PA hospital. So my journey has been 10 years here at the PA, lots of involvement with graduate nurses, including a bit in my first couple of years through the permanent nurse pool. I have entered in the last few years or so in the education teams as well, so I've got my foot in both, understanding what the education looks like for graduates, but also the recruitment side as a nurse unit manager now.

Michelle

Thanks, Jason. Amanda.

Amanda
Thank you for having me today. It's exciting your journey that's just commencing now as a graduate nurse. And congratulations on nearing completion or completing your degree. So my name's Amanda Naumann. I'm the graduate coordinator here on the Sunshine Coast, for all of the health service across the Sunshine Coast. I've got over 20 years of experience in emergency nursing, both nationally and internationally, and my passion is for education and supporting people through their career and most recently, have worked with graduates in the undergraduate sector at the universities, but also as clinical facilitator, coach, nurse educator and nursing director. So lots of guidance and look forward to talking with you today and look forward to seeing your applications as they come through the graduate portal.

Michelle

Thanks, Amanda. Colin.

Colin

My name is Colin Frick, and I've been working with Michelle on the redesign of the process and hopefully this year we're achieving our aim of getting you to a job as fast as possible to the preference you want and making all the HHSs happy. So thank you very much.

Michelle

Thanks Colin. I just wanted to start with some of our key dates. It's very important that you are aware of the closing date, which is the 13th of August in only in a few weeks. So please make sure that you have everything ready at that point. We won't be able to accept any of the applications past that. The Queensland Health Nursing and Midwifery Graduate Program supports graduate nurses to transition from the academic studies to clinical practice with no 2 days ever the same. Nursing is one of the most dynamic and rewarding jobs in healthcare. You'll be part of a well structured and highly supportive team that offers many learning opportunities to empower you to your career in health. We'll be with you every step of the way as you want to succeed in whatever path you choose.

The application form is longer than previous years and requires more thought and preparation, and Colin will touch a little bit on that in the next coming slides, so please start early. Please don't wait to one minute before midnight on the 13th of August because it will take you longer than a minute to complete this year. It's certainly way more extensive and that will enable the Hospital and Health Services to have all of your information ready for their review. You can save your application and continue at a later stage. And as I mentioned, the most important bit is it closes at one minute to midnight on the 13th of August. I’m just going to touch on a little bit about your clinical preferences and your Hospital and Health Service preferences. It's important that you understand them when you go to apply through the portal. Queensland Health has 16 Hospital and Health Services and within each health service there are a number of facilities. For example, there are 6 facilities within Metro North, including Redcliff, Prince Charles Hospital, STARS and Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital. Graduate positions are available in a wide variety of clinical areas in each health service, from metropolitan to rural and remote. There's certainly unique benefits associated with each region. The metropolitan health services, which are in the southeast corner of Queensland, offer a range of clinical services including tertiary services, which are statewide services, during your 12 month program. Then you have the rural and remote health services which may not have a variety of services as the much larger health services however you will gain invaluable experience and skills due to the variety of patients that you'll be caring for during your graduate program. It's important that you consider where you'd like to work and what clinical areas you'd also like to work in with your application. Each health service has a website that lists the hospitals and health services and have dedicated webpages promoting nursing and midwifery careers. The Queensland Health Nursing and Midwifery Graduate Program website has a downloadable list of the facilities and their specialty areas, which I encourage you to refer to as you apply through the portal. I also encourage you to view the recording of our recent webinar, Prepare to Succeed, which covers in more detail the process around selecting your location and your clinical preference. As mentioned, the most probably biggest change for you this year is your clinical preferences and your preferences for the Hospital and Health Services. I'm going to pass over to Colin now. He'll just give a quick overview of both those requirements when you apply for a position. Thanks Colin.

Colin

Thanks, Michelle. And this is probably one of the most important parts of your application, is where you work and in what area you would like to work, so it takes a little bit of preparation to get through this bit. Just a reminder though, if you've got questions on the way through, please put them into the chat so that we can perhaps manage those questions in the chat as we go along. And the website has a considerable amount of information on it under the how to apply page. We’re continually updating that page. So make sure that that's your source of truth with regards to how you want to apply. That's a good resource for you as you head into your application. To also reinforce the closing time on the 13th of August at 23:59, the machine will shut it. So it's not a soft close, it's a hard close and make sure you're in well before. So when you get to selecting your HHS facilities, we have changed the process significantly from previous years, so please don't take what you've heard from perhaps applicants in previous years. This year's process is very different. This year the HHS that you preference first will consider your application first. It will not go to any other HHS until that HHS has considered the application. In a lot of cases that HHS will take the applicants through to recruitment processes and offer employment. In some cases where there is a high demand for these positions, then we may look to offer alternative places. So when you're looking at your placements, you have the option to put up to 6 placements in. If you are selecting HHSs in an area where there is, we have a huge demand for placements, like say Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and the South East corner, we're looking for at least 3 preferences to be placed there. And we have had the question about well, what if I just want one HHS and that's it. And I don't want to go to any other. To get through the application form you will have to put at least 2 others, that gets you through the application form. If for some reason you are not selected by your first preference HHS, then we'll notify you about moving to other preferences, and at that point, if you don't want to go to other preferences, that's fine. You can elect to withdraw, but at least it gets you through your application. Once you select the HHS in any of the preferences, you'll also then need to select a facility, at least one facility within the HHS, or you can select up to 3. So we want to know which HHS you want to go to. Also within that, which facility it is you would really like to go to. So which hospital or delivery service area that you want to go to. After that, you'll also be asked about the rural and remote pathways. Now this is a new initiative this year where we're looking at placing people for a 2 year program where you would work in the first year in a more rural or regional remote area. And then in the second year, you have your choice to come back to a setting that is more major, it might be urban, but it may also be regional. That's up to the person that's successful.

So these pathways are being optioned. So once you've selected HHS preferences, you will also be able to select preferences in the pathways. We don't have to, but you can select one or all of them. There's 3 pathways, Southern, Central and Northern, and that's up to you. From a clinical perspective, clinical preference perspective, we are looking to get an idea of where your clinical preferences lay. So this year we have collapsed preferences down into 6 major categories like medical, surgical, aged care, mental health for example. And there's a couple of others. Now on the website it does show the mapping of this. There isn't a more granular way to select these, and these are all required to be preferenced, so you will preference your highest choice first obviously, and the least area that you want to work in last, so we have an idea of where you want to work. After that, you'll also have the opportunity to be able to enter in free text, this is my ideal placement. In that situation you could put, I want to work in MU5 at Toowoomba. That's up to you, but you can be quite specific about where you want to work in that free text field. And that will all be taken into account through the application. Right at the end there we’ll be looking for when you will be able to start. So taking into account things like your graduation date, your final placements, graduation, AHPRA registration, any personal commitments you might have. So for example, if you are planning to go overseas for a holiday because you've had enough study and you won't be back for 2 months, let's pick a date when you get back. So put that there so we know when you're available to come and start work because that's important because the HHS have different start times, so they might want to align your start date with their start times. And I think that pretty much gets me through there, Michelle.

Michelle

Thanks Colin. A couple of more points before we move on to the questions. Please make sure that you apply through the Nursing and Midwifery Graduate Portal. There is another government portal that is there, so make sure that you have selected the right portal and then once you visit the correct website you select apply now and I'll take you through to the portal. If you are shortlisted, you'll be contacted by the Hospital and Health Service to discuss the next steps regarding the recruitment process and to arrange for an interview if required. For most HHSs interviews start anywhere from September to November. Keep up to date by checking on the website. Ensure that you are regularly checking your emails and your phones to see if you've been contacted for an interview. Interviews are conducted at the discretion of the Hospital and Health Service. They may occur face to face or via telephone. You may receive invitations from more than one Hospital and Health Service. There is a QR code on the screen, it will take you to the Nursing and Midwifery Graduate Program website, where you'll find more information.

And we'll now move if that's OK with everybody onto our questions. As Colin said, please put them forward. If the questions are generic and available on our website, then our team will might respond either in the chat or I will call them out and direct them to our panel.

Our first question. I might pass over to you, Colin, do you recommend addressing first preference HHSs in our cover letter to Queensland Health as a whole or to individual HHSs? That's been quite a common question coming through from previous webinars as well.

Colin

Thanks Michelle. Look, historically, when we've looked at how applications turned out, the vast majority of applications have landed with their first preference HHS. So you should position your letter to Whom It May Concern, but write towards your first preference HHS. If for some reason you're not successful at that HHS and you go to a further preference, then they'll take that into account and they'll read it within that context. That's absolutely fine. Don't try to get it to fit everyone, go after your first HHS.

Michelle

Thanks, Colin. Amanda, I might move this question to you. The graduate has mentioned the first preference HHS considers your application, within that does the first preference facility within the HHS consider the application or just the HHS as a whole? I think I've got that question right.
Similarly, does the HHS as a whole interview or is it a specific facility? I'm wondering if you can explain what happens at the Sunshine Coast, which no doubt will be similar across the other HHSs as well.

Amanda

Yeah great. Thanks, Michelle. That's a really good question. So here on the Sunshine Coast, we receive your applications as a whole of a HHS. And we look at your specialties. So we have specialty programs here on the Sunshine Coast, which I know other health services do as well. So we have perioperative, we have emergency, we have ICU, we have mental health, we have midwifery as a profession and we have paediatrics as well and cardiology. So from a preferencing point of view, we will look at you as a HHS as a whole. We will consider, we will interview in your specialty and shortlist you into your specialty and then from a hospital point of view we look at where you’re best suited for which facility. So if you lived in Kawana, for example, on the Sunshine Coast, we wouldn't be sending you to Gympie, for example, for looking at that facility. So we look at you from a whole of an organisation, but also to look at putting you where you’re best suited as well. So if you're again with your specialty from the Sunshine Coast perspective, if you're unsuccessful in a particular specialty, we will consider you for a general medical surgical graduate position, ensuring that we're getting the best graduates into those positions. So you may not be successful for a specialty position as such, but you have met merit in a graduate program. We would consider you for a general medical surgical position. As you can appreciate specialty positions are quite limited. Does that answer your question, Michelle?

Michelle

Thanks, Amanda. Sally, I might lean on you to build on Amanda's comments because from all of our experience in the panel, it can be quite disappointing for you as a graduate that you don't get your clinical preference. And as Amanda touched on, sometimes there just isn't enough positions in that area for the number of applicants that have applied and it can be disheartening. But Sally, did you want to build on your experience about if the applicants are unsuccessful with their clinical preferences? What your thoughts are in terms of managing, you know, the emotions probably of that decision.

Sally

Thanks, Michelle. Appreciate it. I have been in this situation. My paediatric unit was teeny tiny in Redcliffe and lots of people love to work in paediatrics and we only had positions for one graduate every year. So that left a lot of people very disappointed when they didn't get the outcome that they wanted. But during the interview, we had the opportunity to speak with all of those graduates and say if you want to work in this paediatric unit in this hospital and it’s something that's really on your to do list, take a position somewhere in the hospital. Whether it's gen med, surg, learn the skills, consolidate your time management, get practice with your medications and become an independent practice practitioner and then an opportunity will come up for you to come back to the paediatric department, but not necessarily in a graduate position. And you can still undertake a transition program to change your skill set. I think the competition for the south east corner is really high. Opportunities to work regionally or even in remote settings, you'll be very well supported, but it is an opportunity to gain some skills and experience that you are going to be able to transfer between any kind of facility and if paediatrics is your dream, it will happen, it just may not happen straight away.

Michelle

Thanks, Sally. I'll just answer the next question myself, actually I'm going to have to lean into Colin. Can you put multiple ward specific preferences in the free text option Colin or is it limited number of spaces there with those changes that we've made?

Colin

In the what is your ideal speciality area, It is possible to list up to I think 200 characters. So you could put in a pile of specialties. But you need to bear in mind that the question is intended to be a single-minded question. So what is your ideal clinical preference. Arguably there's one. You should state the one, if you're drawn on 2 maybe 2, but I certainly wouldn't list a pile of them cause you're defeating the whole purpose of the single-minded answer.

Michelle

Thanks, Colin. Jason one of our questions that we've got is are there start times for each Hospital and Health Service listed anywhere. And I think probably I might lean on you to answer that question. I suspect there's various intakes across the year, like at Goldie, Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service, but did you want to talk about what happens at Metro South?

Jason
Yeah, in Metro South and I can talk for the PA, we don't have specific dates that we would start all graduates. It would be dependent on the unit and when their vacancies come up or they're temporary or permanent positions as to what they take. When it filters down, say I can speak on behalf of our surgery division, we would have a nurse manager who would tap into each nurse unit manager and do interviews that way. We would then look at where people are successful through the interview process, whether we have some sort of merit list and then we would have our start dates purely dependent on when our vacancies popped up. So mine in 2C might be different to the ward next door being 2D or 2B, so no specific start dates as such.

Michelle

OK. Thanks Jason. I can talk about Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service. We have about 3 intakes per year. Again, based on the demand, not dissimilar to what Jason was saying, the availability of the positions across the year. I think generally across the 16 HHSs there's a variety of start dates. We don't often list them on the website because it’s generally not known until much closer to the time. There's a couple of questions around the rural and remote pathway. I think I've got the question correct. So it is an exciting time, it's the first time that we've offered it, it's just for this next 12 months in 2024. You need to nominate your HHS still like you normally would do, what your first preference is. But then there's a tick the box, so to speak, if you are also interested in a 2 year program of spending one year out in rural and remote and the other year back into the metropolitan area of your choice. There's another question about whether you can go across clusters. As an example, if you were given a position in the Southern Cluster and spend a year out in rural and remote, there is no reason why there's not cross clusters when you return back to the Hospital and Health Service and into the one that you have listed as your preference. So yes, definitely across clusters. Colin, we're talking about the placements again when they haven't had placements in their first year, those fields aren't mandatory now, I believe they can just list the placements that they've had.

Colin

Yeah, that's correct, Michelle. We've changed that approach because of some of the difficulties we encountered earlier. So if you've got a standard approach and you've had 2 or 3 placements a year fantastic it works out. If not, you can either bundle them, meaning if there are like placements you know that you've done, you can add those weeks up and put them into, say, medical. And I've done you know 10 weeks. What you can also do is if you have only one placement in your first year and you've got say 4 in your second year, you can use one of the boxes from you're first year and just start with second year placement and then put it in.

Michelle

And that would be the same Colin if they didn't have a first year placement?

Colin

Same, if they don't have a first year placement, that's fine. They could actually put a second year in that if they needed the space, but they can leave the first year blank. Now we’ve removed the mandatory requirements on those fields.

Michelle

Thank you. Colin I'm going to come back to you again. When submitting employment screening consent form, do we need to attach proof of identity? I think that's not a requirement either.

Colin
No. In fact, I just put that in the chat.

Michelle

OK.

Colin
We do not want you to upload any proof of identity documents. The Queensland Government has now moved away from that. They'll be obtained from the HHS at the point of the employment offer or prior to that. Not at this stage because of the recent hacks around identity, etc. So you do not need to do that. And while I'm on that point, you do not need to get the documents certified by a JP. We're looking for those other documents, which are, you know, information documents to help us with the recruitment process. The HHS will look for when you are on board, it will be looking for the certified documents and potentially additional documents as well.

Michelle

Thanks Colin. Amanda, I might lean into you for this one. There's a question from our group around the referees. I haven't completed a placement in over 12 months. Do I put down the clinical facilitator from being a student and a manager from my current role? Or 2 clinical facilitators as being a student.

Amanda

Alright. Thanks, Michelle. So, regarding your references, the specifications is that one of them needs to be a clinical supervisor, so that would be from your clinical placement. So a clinical supervisor in that aspect. The second requirement for that is one of them needs to be your line manager. So whoever your line manager is, if you're doing volunteer work who looks after you from a line management point of view, whether you work at McDonald’s who is your manager in McDonald’s. So you'll just need to consider who your line manager is. If you work as an AIN, is that line manager your nurse unit manager. You also need to have a current clinical supervisor. So whoever that is for you, is it a facilitator, a preceptor, a buddy, a clinical coach, what that looks like for you.

Michelle

Thanks Amanda. Colin or Amanda, if you want a chip into this one. I commenced my new grad this February, 5 months in, am I still eligible to apply, even though grads will start later and I will be over the 6 months.

Amanda

Consider your eligibility. So to be eligible to be considered for a graduate program, you need to have worked less than 960 hours as a Registered Nurse. So if you’ve worked more than 960 hours, you're not considered a graduate nurse, so anything outside of that. So if there's anything specifically you want to ask. You're probably eligible to apply right now but by the time you get to commence the grad program, you’re probably over your eligibility requirement. So just consider what that looks like. If you’re already currently working in a graduate program, what is it about that that you want to do another graduate program on? Maybe talk to your current HHS around what opportunities you have moving forward from there. Hopefully that answers your question.

Michelle

Thanks Amanda. There’s a question I can pick up, it's about the Gold Coast Hospital Health Service. They base their recruitment off merit from multiple things such as interview, medical calc exams, written component. How does that work? It would be very similar across all of the HHSs. Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, and some of the larger metropolitan areas have overwhelming number of graduates apply for positions in their Hospital and Health Service, and so they do go and look at a number of aspects of the graduate’s application in terms of their cover letter, their interview, all the things that I have just mentioned before, their medical calculations, a whole raft of content in terms of shortlisting and interviewing in accepting positions for a graduate program. I'm hoping that answers that, but yes, there's multiple things, and it's not dissimilar across all of the Hospital and Health Services when they're reviewing the graduate shortlisting and interview process. There's a question around the cover letter. Should it be one page to 2 pages. Two pages is OK, but ideally one page, but if it needs to move over to 2 pages that's fine. Obviously, the longer it is, it takes more time to read, obviously need to be quite succinct. What holds more weight in regards to being selected: GPA or application quality? Sally, did you want to take that question?

Sally

The GPA doesn't actually come into it, if you've passed all the requirements for your undergraduate degree, you're considered successful. For me it was a lot about the application, the quality and the ability for the graduate to be able to convey the qualities they had as a human being, but also some of the skills and attributes that they'd picked up during their clinical placements. But the interview was probably the most important thing for me, where you really genuinely get an opportunity to talk with the person and understand what drives the decisions they’re making about the clinical specialties they've chosen and also what their vision for their career is like. So for me GPA’s got nothing to do with it, it is really about the quality of your written application, your ability to convey yourself in a paper and then how we chat with each other in interview.

Michelle
Thanks Sally. Jason have you got anything to add to Sally's comments? In terms of how it works in Metro South PA.

Jason
Yeah, very similar. I mean, GPA obviously shows what you've achieved through university studies and high GPA is something we all achieve for, but certainly how are you going to sit an interview with someone, how are you going to communicate with that individual during interview? Because that will then shine to how you're going to communicate and be passionate and caring towards your patients during care. Sometimes if you've done prac on a ward that can play in, someone might know you, you can do some networking that way, but I think yes, the written application, the resume and then absolutely the sit down interview is what we would mainly go off, not necessarily just someone's GPA.

Michelle
Thanks, Jason. There's a question around are interstate applicants considered equally to Queensland applicants? Yes, they are. Traditionally, though, we see more Queensland applicants than interstate. I'm not sure with the recent incentives to move into Queensland and now significant pay rise, whether we will see a change to that. But I think Colin, from memory, we see about 95% of the applicants are from Queensland over the last few years. Is that correct?

Colin

Yeah, probably closer to 90 from Queensland. But there's no, as you said, there's no bias towards where you're from. We are looking for good talent.

Michelle

Thank you. And it's a similar question, are Queensland trained international students considered equally? Yes, that is the same as the comments that we've just made as well. Somebody's listed a question around their visas. It's quite probably a long answer I'm going to have to put in there, but we will come back to you to respond to that. The visas are quite complex so if it's OK, we'll come back.

Gold Coast is my priority, but happy to consider rural and remote for my first 12 months, by ticking the option will that allow me to do that? Yes, it will. And certainly I'm working with the team here in that first week that all the applications come through to all of the Hospital and Health Services, the 3 cluster hubs will be working closely with the Hospital Health Services to identify the people that are very interested in going out to rural and remote in their first year and then coming back in. So yes, that is enough to get you there.

I currently work for Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service and applying again at the same site. Can I use my completed VPD? Yes you can. You just need to submit or upload if that's the right word what you've already got. It will be reassessed at the HHS level if details are missing. Is there anything you wanted to add to that column?

Colin

No, and just the rural remote preference, it will not override the Gold Coast preference. Your HHS preferences are the most important, so your first HHS preference you need to get that as your first preference. Then if you are also interested in a rural and remote pathway then you can also tick that. That is not going to override your first HHS preference.

Michelle

Amanda somebody has put in a question. I'm about to start my last placement in August. Do I put that down in the application even though I've not completed it yet? And I think that would be an OK option. Would that be correct?

Amanda

Yeah, that's correct. So just popping down all of your current placements in there and what you're going to be achieving from that, yes.

Michelle

Another question, Jason, you might be able to answer this one again. It's around referees, whether they can use a person from their second year. I suspect that's pretty OK thing to do as well. With regards to the start data, I understand we need an AHPRA registration. Apart from that, is the start date after we finish our degree and receive all future academic transcripts? Or is it after graduation? Amanda.

Amanda

Yeah. So we do need your academic transcript. We will take your unofficial academic transcript when you're finished, but we definitely need your AHPRA registration to commence you. We understand that universities quite often don't give you your full academic or your graduation certificate until after you've started, so Queensland Health does need that on file. But the thing that we will need is a completion of your non official academic transcript with all your completed subjects and your AHPRA registration. And then from there, we'll then need your graduation certificate once you've started.

Michelle

Thank you. There's another question around the rural and remote pathway. I'm so excited people are so interested in it. So the question is will we get the preference where we go in the first or the second year. You definitely will be placed in a rural and remote facility in your first year, not the other way around. And then you come back into a metropolitan area of your choice and hopefully clinical preference of your choice in your second year.

How does the interview process go? It's highly likely that interview process will be joint between the hub and also the rural and remote HHS, remembering you are actually going to be appointed to your first preference HHS in the first instance, so it could go either way, but highly likely it will be your first preference HHS doing the interview. If not, they will reach out to the rural and remote facility to participate in that interview process. Are the rural facilities offering accommodation? Some do, but again, if you have a look at our website and look at the HHSs listed there, they will be able to provide information around the rural and remote facilities and which ones provide accommodation.

If we don't have clinical experience outside placements, are we less likely to be considered a position? Jason, did you want to pick up that question?

Jason

Hello. Yeah certainly. No, so again, it'll be through the application and the interview process. Whilst I think working, and I was an assistant nurse during my university training, it certainly assists with maybe your prac and maybe you might get some tips and tricks on how to do interviews from the hospital and NUMs and other nurses that you currently work with. As a NUM, when I go to interview and interview grads, I would not get someone's application and they would not score higher purely because they've had an AIN say job prior to.

Michelle
Unfortunately, we've come to the end of the webinar. I feel like we could be answering all your questions for another hour or so. You know, we are so pleased that you joined us today and gave us all the questions. If we haven't answered your questions, we'll go back into the chat and collate what we believe we haven't answered. But please go back to the website. There’s a lot of generic information there and also have a look at our webinar that we did on preparing to succeed again because there's substantial more information there. I'd like to thank our panel for joining me this afternoon. It has been quite fun and quite exciting and I hope you've enjoyed being with us and for all of our potential graduates online, we certainly look forward to receiving your applications and we wish you all the best in your nursing career and we sincerely hope that you do apply and be part of our Queensland Health Nurse and Midwifery workforce. So thank you very much everybody.

Graduate midwifery opportunities – Ask us anything

What does a midwifery career with Queensland Health offer? What questions do you want answered? Ask us anything at this session for graduate midwives.

Format: Teams webinar [40 minutes]
Date: Wednesday 26 July

Ask us anything

Jocelyn

Good afternoon everyone and thank you for joining us this afternoon for today's webinar. Before we begin, I'd like to recognise the Traditional Owners of the lands I am joining from today. For me in Brisbane, that's the Jagera and the Turrbal people, and I also recognise the Traditional Owners of the countries where you all join from today and the First Nations people present in this webinar. I pay my respect to all elders, past and present, and celebrate the diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their cultures and connections to the land and waters of Queensland.

Congratulations on completing your degree or near completing your degree. Just by way of some housekeeping this afternoon, this webinar is recorded and will be available on the Nursing and Midwifery Graduate Program website in the coming weeks. Your microphones are muted. If you have any questions, please post them in the chat and we'll answer these during the session. Anyone on the chat can see the information you post, so please do not put any personal information on there. Today's presentation is part of a series that is designed to help you launch your career as a midwife in Queensland Health. Today's webinar will provide an introduction to a midwifery career with Queensland Health, an opportunity for you to ask any questions you have about a midwifery career in Queensland. By way of introduction, I'd like to introduce myself and then the panel. I'm Dr Jocelyn Toohill. I'm the Director of Midwifery in the Chief Nursing and Midwifery Office in Queensland. Anne could I hand over to yourself.

Anne

Hi everyone. My name's Anne Bousfield. I am the Assistant Director of Midwifery with the Office of the Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer at present.

Jocelyn

Thank you, Anne. Could I just go over to yourself, Melina?

Melina

Hi everyone. I'm Melina Connors. I'm a Clinical Midwifery Consultant in the Chief Nursing and Midwifery Office. I'm currently working on one of the First Nations first maternity strategies, Growing Deadly Families. I've been a midwife and an Aboriginal liaison officer for well over a decade and I'm very excited to have you all on board today.

Jocelyn

Thank you so much, Melina. We're very privileged to have both Anne and Melina. They've got great experience right across Queensland and yeah, just amazing. So any questions please put them forward. We're also joined today by Colin and Michelle and they're both leading the changes that we've made to the graduate portal this year and they'll be able to answer any of the questions that you have regarding the application process. And we also have I believe, Angie, who is our director in that area as well within OCNMO. So we've got a full house, which is wonderful.

The 2024 Registered Nursing and Midwifery Graduate Program Application Portal is now open. The application portal will close on the 13th of August 2023 at 11:59 pm so we've been very precise there. We want everyone to be really well aware that the deadline is absolutely crucial for you to have your applications in. 13th of August 2023. Please make sure that you complete your application well before this time.

Choosing a career as a midwife with Queensland Health can be life changing both for you and for the women and the families who you will care for. You have the option to start your career in midwifery continuity of carer models. Or you could go specifically to a particular area of maternity care, such as neonatal and family care. With your practice and consolidation of that practice and further experience, you can then pursue and expand your practice into roles such as consultancy positions, including being a clinical midwife consultant, a lactation consultant, or an endorsed midwife. The Queensland Health Nursing and Midwifery Graduate Program supports graduate midwives to transition from academic study into their clinical practice. You'll work in a supportive and an inclusive environment. You can choose from many settings to work in. Metropolitan, regional, rural and remote.

Queensland has 16 Hospital and Health Services and within each of the HHSs there are a number of facilities or other services. So whilst there's 16 Hospital and Health Services that you can see on the screen, all in different colours, 15 of the 16 have a maternity service. The only Hospital and Health Service that doesn't offer a maternity service is Queensland Children's Hospital. So anywhere else in the state. There's absolutely unique benefits associated with each of these regions, whether it's the city, the country or the coast that you want to work in.  Each of those areas have really unique opportunities for you to have a look at.

So if you go rural and Anne may speak a little bit about this, but if you go rural you could do any number of things in one day, working right across your full scope of practice. You might be birthing a woman at one time of the day. You may have been able to ably to prepare her postnatally, leave her after having supported her with her breastfeeding etc. and then gone out and done a postnatal visit out on the road at the woman's home. So it could be very varied on any one day in regards to that, you’re seeing women in outreach clinics, in the hospital or in their home. Those sorts of similar arrangements may also occur in metropolitan areas, but more likely where you're working in metropolitan areas, where it'd be a tertiary hospital or another level service, you may work in a continuity model, but you're more likely to work in more segregated ways. So it might be that you have a bit of a time in antenatal clinic, a little bit of a time in postnatal ward, a bit of time in the neonatal nursery and then a little bit of time, perhaps, in birth suite as a graduate. Graduate programs are wonderful. You don't need to do it in that segregated way. You may be able to combine all of those things in one day. It just depends on the area.

So there's different benefits. Look at the lifestyle that you want to do. Do some of your own research. Go on to the geographic have a look at the maps, see what's on offer and those areas. Look at the lifestyle that you want. Obviously we want you for your professional skills, but do make sure you get a good life balance and it also meets your personal skills as well. Right across Queensland all of those Hospital and Health Services have at least one Midwifery Group Practice or continuity of carer programs. So if that's the model that you're choosing or would like to work in, please have a look at it. So consider where you'd like to work and what clinical areas you'd like to work in. Is it a Midwifery Group Practice or a continuity of midwifery carer model? Is it rotational shifts across all areas of midwifery practice? Do you just want to work in one specific area of midwifery, for example, the postnatal ward. So selecting your preferences for work locations is an important part of the application process. You can find more detail about this on the website. We have also published a full list of Hospital and Health Service facilities and the clinical categories that graduate positions may be placed in. This is also available on the website in the how to apply section.

On your screen is the application portal, which as I said is now open and I'd like to introduce you to Colin, who is online with us today from the Workforce Sustainability team in our Office of the Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer. Colin and the team have been working behind the scenes to manage this year's application process. Colin, thanks for joining us today. And perhaps you could give us a brief overview about how this year's application process works, and any tips that you have for everyone online.

Colin

Thanks Jocelyn. So there has been quite a lot of change to the application process this year and I can see quite a lot of questions in the chat so I'll try to address some of those as I go through. First thing is to reinforce what Jocelyn says. The close this year is a hard close. It's a computer close at just before midnight 23:59 on the 13th of August. So please make sure you've got in early and do not leave it until the last minute because it is a bit more complex this year to apply. A lot of the changes we've made this year are to bring about some consistency in the way the information could be presented to our recruitment teams because as you can imagine, some people need to review many, many hundreds of applications and in that sense it's easier if they are all quite uniform. So that's one of the reasons we've gone down this process. The important part of your application process will be the preferences that you're selecting both for your work location preferences and the clinical preferences, for example your midwifery options for working. So there are some I see dual degree students here, so if you are a dual degree student and you're open to working in both of the professions, then you will see both of those options available to you to make selections. If you are a midwifery graduate then you'll see midwifery working options that you'll be able to select from. The HHS facilities for example, your workplace locations, very important you get this as you want it as per your preferences.

Do not try to I guess game the system. In the past, some people have thought about putting another health service first because they heard they wouldn't select you if you weren't first on their list. This year, the HHS that you preference first will consider your application first, it will not go to any other HHS until that HHS has had a look at your application and determined whether they can move you into a recruitment process. In most cases, your first preference HHS will take you into a recruitment process because of simply the way the numbers work. If you are applying for an area that is in high demand, then they may have to make some choices about who they can take into a recruitment process and you may be moved to second or third preferences. That's why we're seeking for those areas that are slightly higher demand, some options. So you will be required to put at least 3 preferences in if you are preferencing the HHSs in say Group B, and that's explained on our website. But if you have selected your HHS in a Group A which is a HHS that typically doesn't experience the same demand for positions, then you only have to pick one. So, for example, if you're looking at Central West Queensland, you can put Central West Queensland then select the facility within that HHS location and move straight through to the other areas. So it is important you do that. You will also get asked for at least one facility preference in each of the HHSs you preference and you can preference up to 6 HHSs. The law of numbers here is such that if you put more preferences in, you can be considered for more opportunities. The first HHS will see your application first and consider it, but if that doesn't work out then you can move down the preferencing list.

You'll also see options there for rural and remote pathways. Now these are in addition to the HHS preferences, and they do not override your HHS preferences. Your HHS preferences are important, and the HHS you preference first will see your application first. They'll also see if you're interested in a rural remote pathway, and if you are, then they may choose to talk with you about that. So it's not an either or. It's an additional preference.

When looking at entering clinical placement information, I might just cover that off as well because there's some questions on that. We talked about that today and midwifery has some slightly different approaches to the way in which the clinical placements might be done. And what we've looked at is saying, if you are working you can put your clinical placements in at a higher category statement. So you could put for something like say a drug and alcohol clinic like a social screening, you know these sort of things, you could put antenatal for example and bundle the hours, so you can just simply put that in there, and then in the facilities area you can list one or more facilities you've been doing this at. Same for labour and birth. You could do birth centred care, home birth, operative birth, things like that, but they could all be bundled up under labour and birth, and you could then put your facilities you've worked in there and you can also bundle the weeks up. In the week’s perspective, we're looking at that being full time weeks. Do if you're doing 100 hours for example placement in a certain area, that would be 100 divided 40 gives you 2.5. You can round to 3, that's entirely appropriate and so your answer would be 3.

And in the uploads area as well, once you get to the final stage of this, you'll be asked to upload a lot of information.  And there was question here too about maybe I could upload a statement. Yes, you could upload a statement, but it would be best if you can get your clinical placements into the clinical placement area because that's where they'll be seen more prominently by the people that are looking at the selection process. In the uploads area there's quite a lot of uploads there required, so make sure you work on those earlier. The portal process will not stop you from submitting your application if you happen to have a shortage of these documents, so you can move through and submit your application. It's got a range of questions at the close to make sure it reminds you that you need to upload these documents. But just say you're short of one and you're on the last weekend. Get your application in without it and you'll have to follow it up. It may not be complete and perfect, but at least it'll be in. I might just hand back to you Jocelyn and see if there's any other questions on it.

Jocelyn

Thank you, Colin. That's great. So please just make sure you apply through the Nursing and Midwifery Graduate Portal, not the general graduate portal. If you do not receive a confirmation email, please contact the email address on your screen that's nursingmidwifery-graduateenquiries@health.qld.gov.au. If you are shortlisted, you will be contacted by the HHS to discuss your next steps regarding the recruitment process and to arrange an interview if required. So for most HHSs, interviews start anywhere from September to November, so keep an eye out for those for up-to-date with what's going on, on the website. And please do ensure you regularly check your email and phone to see if you have been contacted for an interview. The interviews are conducted at the discretion of the HHSs, and they may occur face to face or via a telephone call. You may receive invitations as well to more than one interview, so please just continue to check. We’ll now move on to your questions and we will do our best to answer as many as time does allow. I know that there were some questions, I saw some flash up there before, in regards to a bit more about rural, so I was just wondering if I could just jump over to yourself Anne if that would be OK. And I just sort of wondered if you'd be able to describe the midwifery graduate professional experience in a rural setting compared to a metropolitan site for example.

Anne

It's a great opportunity in rural and remote.  If you haven't lived in rural and remote, you'll find the communities will embrace you as you go to take interest in them and are committed to the local maternity service. As Jocelyn was saying before, you’re obviously in a really, really small group of midwives. You will get your own case load and that's usually a staggered case load so that you get used to time management etc. But you will be able to work across the continuum generally right from the beginning. I remember once we had one of our graduates speaking at a conference and she was basically, I think she was four months out at the time, and she was just talking about how she'd been able to, not even rotate, she was working in continuity of care for four months. She had the experience where she could do antenatal, postnatal and intrapartum care all in the one day and some of her colleagues hadn't even got to birth suite yet. So it's a great opportunity to work across the full scope of practice in a small, really committed maternity service that's really, really committed to their communities.

Jocelyn

That's great. Thanks, Anne. I just can't see the chat at the moment. Were there any other specific questions for rural that anyone can see?

Michelle

It's Michelle. There was some conversation around the rural remote pathway and then if they had expressed an interest in that, would that override the preference, your HHS preference, I've responded to that. Did you want me to read out some of the others for the team, Jocelyn?

Jocelyn

That would be terrific. Thanks, Michelle.

Michelle

I have responded to the graduates online. I have responded to the generic questions, but then I'll just sing out the ones to Jocelyn and the team that are more related to midwifery. Jocelyn and the team, Michaela has said I'm a duel degree student and when we go to enter in all my placements, it won't let me add enough boxes to do so and wondering what I can do. The placements are also hard to be grouped as they are in different areas with different specialties. Not sure if that's a Colin question or Jocelyn.

Jocelyn

I'll flick to Colin and see if there's anything I can add to it.

Colin
OK the best way to do it is to actually group it, and if they're nursing then they can be grouped as per the nursing categories on the website.  And midwifery ones, we’re actually just going through how we might group those at the moment, but logically you can group them under antenatal, labour and birth, postnatal and neonatal. So within those textboxes, there's 200 characters allowed. So there's quite a bit there you can actually get in. I suggest what you do is put in in an abbreviated way as much as you can, and bundle them so you can actually add the weeks up and bundle the weeks together. That's the best way to get that information in. If for some reason you want to add more, you can simply prepare an attachment and upload the attachment as well as part of your submission. But it will be best to get the key things, the important pieces, into that first part.

Michelle

Thank you, Colin.  Our next question Jocelyn and the team, just wanted to know if special care nursery is included in the rotational shifts of a graduate program and if you can work in the special care nursery as a midwife, or do you have to be a nurse?

Jocelyn

OK, so I might answer that. It does depend on the graduate program being offered at the specific HHS. Some will have it included, others won't. The thing is, the midwives have in their preparatory course requirement through ANMAC that they are prepared to care for complex neonates. Not all nursing programs have that included. So, there should be no discrimination between whether you're a nurse or a midwife. You're a graduate either way and the specialist skills of a neonatal nurse come later. So I wouldn't worry too much about that. It really is up to the programs that have been developed locally is my experience. Anne or Melina, did you want to add anything to that?

Anne

I've got nothing to add, just really up to each in terms of the rotation through special care nursery. Certainly in rural and remote, we will sometimes identify that a graduate may want do some special care nursery because they might have had a few difficult neonatal retrievals or just need some upskilling and we will work to organise that but as a whole it’s not generally needed.

Jocelyn

I think also it's always worth bearing in mind asking the question if that's a particular orientation or passion of area that you would like to go into, I think it's really well worth having that that conversation at time of interview and just asking the question. And once you're employed, just look for those opportunities, always put your hand up saying I'd really like an opportunity to work in the nursery if that isn't in your program, because that might well be available it just hadn't been thought about.

Michelle

Thank you. Another question for the team.  When will the role descriptions be uploaded on the website? We can post that back up, we will respond back to that in post the webinar if that's OK, we'll get an update and provide you with some information.

Colin

And the other thing that you can do too is to join the mailing list off the website from the front page and that way we'll be emailing out information as we move along and we've got one going out this week.  So we can easily email out position descriptions when they're done.

Michelle
OK. Thank you, Colin. Another question for the team. If we've previously completed a Bachelor of Nursing prior to Midwifery and currently work as an RN and have been for less than 6 months full time, is there any benefit in putting in nursing placements or just mention our current nursing job?

Jocelyn

Not necessarily. You can reference that you are a Registered Nurse, but if you're concerned are you able to apply for a graduate midwifery program now you've completed that education, of course you can, absolutely. Not necessarily because if you're applying for a midwifery graduate position, just put in your preferences as you would. As Colin said before, in the experience areas that you'd be listing, there's 200 characters there. So you can put in there that you are already a registered nurse, if that's what you would like to identify. That's no problem at all.

Colin

Also, within the qualifications area, you can list additional qualifications so you can list it in there, but when you're looking at your clinical experience placements, then you should focus those on midwifery because that's what you're applying for.

Michelle

Thanks, Colin. I was going to get either you or Jocelyn to expand on that because that was the next part of the questions around what placements they should be recording. So thank you for that.

Another question for the team. Do we interview only for the HHS or for separate interviews for individual hospitals within the HHS?

Jocelyn

My understanding is it's generally the HHS, but once again, the HHSs are all different. They all have different numbers of maternity sites and facilities and services. So some may do it at a central location at the larger clinical service capability level they might do it there and then make the opportunity or the offer for somewhere closer to where you might live. It does vary, but generally it would be done at the HHS level.

Michelle

Yet thanks Jocelyn. Did you want to add something?

Jocelyn

No, I was just going to say, because we've got Melina online who is a very proud Aboriginal experienced midwife, and I don't know how many First Nations applicants we might have but I really thought it was important that Melina possibly provide great insight to those who may be looking to apply. And I just thought, Melina, what do you see that might be some important tips for First Nations midwifery graduates to succeed and reach their career goals, or anything else that you thought was important that you'd like to convey.

Melina

Thanks, Jocelyn. I think one of the biggest things is connecting, staying connected to culture while you're in the hospital so that might be, and it doesn't necessarily have to be just for First Nations students, but finding a mentor or a cultural support within the HHS that you're working at. It may not necessarily be someone that's specifically in midwifery and that's more around that cultural support. And we talk about feeling safe in your settings, so that feeling safe isn't just culturally safe, but it's professionally and emotionally. So ask questions. Practice to your scope and remember that you're not expert level practitioners. You're a grad, so it's OK to ask questions and utilise the support that you'll get from your clinical facilitators or your practice development midwives. And also utilising professional development groups, so the Australian College of Midwives, Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives and Rhodanthe Lipsett, the last was specific to First Nations, professional development groups for support. And just remembering that as a First Nations clinician we have our own ways of knowing, being and doing. And that's something that is really valuable, especially working with First Nations families within the maternity setting. And I think the one thing I'll always say is being mindful of the cultural load and that can lead to cultural burnout. So it's not First Nations clinicians to always be the first to care for First Nations families. Culture is everybody's business. And looking at those opportunities as opportunities for education for our colleagues, opportunities to expand on what we know and what we don't know. Because we always say we don't know what we don't know and it's OK to ask questions. But stay engaged with your cultural mentors, connect to the cultural capability team and engage with other First Nations clinicians. Thanks Jocelyn.

Jocelyn

Thanks Melina that's great. I just want to reiterate that the QR code on the screen will take you to the Nursing and Midwifery Graduates Program website where you can find more information. If you have any questions also I should have said that you weren't feeling comfortable to post, please feel free to send us an email to the graduate enquiries email address on the screen.

Michelle

Jocelyn I've just got another question. Is that OK? Have we got time for another question?

Jocelyn

Yep, I think so.

Michelle

Probably for you. The graduate, as an international student currently with an active student visa, they've applied for permanent residency. They’re holding a bridging visa which will be active until November. If the student visa becomes inactive during that application process, would they be removed automatically from the system? I don't believe that would be the case. It will be up to the HHS, but can you confirm that for me?

Colin

You won't automatically be removed. That doesn't happen. The HHSs will be assessing these things and moving through the applications. You obviously will need a visa to work in Australia to be able to be offered a job. That's the critical part. If you haven't got one of those, of course you won't be offered a job because you can't work in Australia. So you need to progress through the visa process and provide an active visa at this point in time, and should that expire through the process then you need to keep the HHS that is considering your application updated.

Michelle

Thank you, Colin. For everybody that's online, I do believe we've gone through all of the questions, if not, feel free just to repopulate it in the chat. But we've either responded to them verbally or our team is in the background responding to you online. So I'll just give you another couple of seconds to repopulate it if you think we've missed your question.

Jocelyn

So I’d just like to thank everyone for attending today. I'd like to thank the panel members for attending and our great support from Workforce in Michelle and Colin. So thank you so very much for your attendance and please reach out if there's anything we can do to support or answer any further queries you may have. Good afternoon.

Last updated: August 2023