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March 2011

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Bendigo Health welcomes its new group of nurses.

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Clinical nurse educator Vickie Callaghan with graduate nurses Dominique Kettlewell, Lisa Welsh at Christine Wynd at Seymour Hospital.

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Northern Health Graduate Nurse of the Year Ying Chen and Northern Health Medical and Continuing Care Executive Director and Chief Nursing Officer Robynne Cooke.

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Eastern Health nurse graduate Ann Davies at Box Hill Hospital.

Health services pave the way for nurses to follow their career dreams


Twenty-nine newly-registered nurses have begun careers at Bendigo Health.

Bendigo Health Executive Director of Nursing Peter Faulkner said a 12-month program would help the nurses.

‘Bendigo Health’s graduate nurse program supports newly-registered nurses to make the transition into the health services industry.

‘The program is popular among graduates who prefer exposure to a number of different clinical areas, as each graduate spends four months in a clinical area before moving to the next,’ said Mr

This year, graduate nurses have come to Bendigo Health from universities across Australia with most applicants from La Trobe University, Bendigo.

Bendigo Health also has an additional seven graduate nurses who have chosen to undertake their first year of nursing practice within the specialist mental health stream. 

Over the past five years, Bendigo Health has retained over 80 per cent of graduate nurses, raising the professional development of the nursing workforce at the organisation.


Three graduate nurses have started their careers at Seymour Health.

Nicole Brooks, Dominique Kettlewell and Christine Wynd have just completed their university training and are now fully-registered Division 1 nurses.

Chief Executive Officer Doreen Power said the graduates would work in several areas across the hospital such as theatre, acute ward, Barrabill House, dialysis, emergency department and community nursing.

‘The graduates are also exposed to an elective of their choice. 

‘In the past, we have had placements at the Goulburn Valley Base Hospital emergency and oncology departments and the Northern Hospital’s emergency and midwifery departments.’

Ms Power said many student nurses also came through the hospital on placements – in the acute ward, emergency department and community nursing.

‘We also accommodate final year medical students who work between the hospital, ambulance service and local GPs.

Seymour Health aims to employ three new graduate nurses every 12 months.

The graduate program has been running at Seymour Hospital for two years.

The new graduates join Lisa Welch, who is half way through her first year at Seymour.


Fifty-nine Northern Health graduate midwives and nurses and 23 from the post-graduate program have received certificates acknowledging their achievements.

‘Northern Health offers opportunities for nurses to participate in professional development and education at all stages of their careers,’ said Medical and Continuing Care Executive Director and Chief Nursing Officer Robynne Cooke.

‘Graduate nurses and midwives are provided with opportunities during the 54-week program to consolidate their undergraduate skills and knowledge, integrate theory to practice and further develop their professional and clinical skills through a structured, clinical-focused program.

‘Post-graduate courses are available in a variety of specialties including emergency and theatre nursing, peri-operative and critical care and midwifery.

‘This year, about 90 per cent of our post-graduate nurses and midwives began their career as part of the graduate nurse and midwifery program, demonstrating their commitment to treating patients in Melbourne’s north.

The 2010 Graduate Nurse of the Year, Ying Chen, was recognised for her dedication to her own professional development and the high standard of care consistently delivered to her patients.

‘A mature-age graduate nurse, Ying has shown her ability to undertake the challenges of nursing on a daily basis,’ Ms Cooke said.

The Graduate Nurse of the Year Award is provided by the Wall family, in memory of Olive Wall, a Northern Health volunteer, tireless in her efforts to raise money at Bundoora Extended Care.


When Ann Davies decided to further her nursing career, she wanted to prove to her teenage daughter that anything was possible no matter your age.

Ms Davies is one of 165 nurse graduates from across Victoria, interstate and New Zealand who have settled into work at Eastern Health – 20 more than in previous years.

With two decades as an aged care nurse behind her, Ms Davies was eager to learn more, even though it meant juggling full-time work and family commitments.

Her determination and commitment resulted in a Bachelor of Nursing from Charles Darwin University.

It will be a very special occasion when Ms Davies attends her graduation ceremony in May – she is the first person in her family to complete a university degree.

‘I wanted to prove you can achieve anything if you put your mind to it,’ Ms Davies said.

As part of her studies, Ms Davies worked across regional Australia, including the Northern Territory.

‘It was an eye-opener to visit rural and Aboriginal communities and see firsthand the effects of medical issues such as obesity and diabetes.’

Ms Davies, who is based at Box Hill Hospital, said Eastern Health had provided a positive learning environment that included plenty of staff willing to share their wisdom and offer great support.

‘It’s been a learning curve to get a bit more knowledge but they have all given me more confidence.

‘They say they were all there once – and we’re all still learning.’

‘We are proud to be the launching pad for these new nursing and midwifery careers,’ Eastern Health’s Chief Nursing Officer David Plunkett said

‘They are careers that can be as diverse as the many patients that nurses and midwives see each day, which ensures there is always something new to learn or a responsibility to take on.’