Main Content

Hit an unexpected bump in your grad year?

Hit an unexpected bump in your grad year?

Transitioning into nursing or midwifery is an exciting and challenging time in your career journey. ANMF (Vic Branch) wants to ensure that your graduate program  is safe, positive and supported.

ANMF, universities and health services worked with the Department of Health to develop the ‘Transition to practice guidelines’. In a nutshell, this means that your employer will demonstrate that they model best practice, such as:

  • allocating nurse/midwife preceptors on every shift
  • ensuring experienced nursing or midwifery staff are realistic in their expectations of you
  • ensuring that you are allocated patients and rostering are appropriate to your level of experience.

But what if your graduate year doesn’t live up to expectations?

You may experience a major life event or issues relating to your work performance.

It’s important to raise your concerns as early as possible so ANMF can ensure you’re being supported, treated fairly and provide you with information regarding your rights and responsibilities.

Struggling mentally and/or substance use issues

If you’re experiencing personal issues, feel like you’re not coping or need extra emotional support, the Nursing and Midwifery Health Program Victoria provides a free and confidential support service for nurses and midwives by nurses who understand the demands of our professions. They can assist with sensitive health issues related to mental health, substance use, family violence or any issue impacting your health and wellbeing.

Often, they have worked in tandem with ANMF (if you agree) to support you to discuss matters with your employer.


If you have an ongoing or temporary health issue, ensure you have evidence, such as a medical certificate. Your employer’s enterprise agreement and policy will outline conditions relating to personal/sick leave. Grads often get a bit stuck if an illness or injury occurs early in their first year without having had the time to accrue enough hours of personal leave to cover the time off needed. Please get in touch with us if this is you as we may be able to help.

If you require adjustments to how you may need to perform your work as a result of your temporary or ongoing illness or injury, contact ANMF Member Assistance for advice immediately. ANMF can assist you with negotiating adjustments that allow you to safely and productively perform the genuine and reasonable requirements of your employment and help protect your career.

Performance management

If mistakes occur that were a result of your conduct, your employer may request to have a meeting with you and may implement a Performance Management Plan (PMP)/Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) to address any concerns they might have about your practice.

This can be stressful but try not to panic. As long as the plan has clear and achievable goals and timelines, it’s to ensure you improve.

If possible, prior to being put onto a PMP/PIP, get in touch with Member Assistance to ensure you are being treated equitably and are supported through the process.

Pregnancy and return to work

If you become pregnant during your graduate year, firstly congratulations! And secondly please be reassured that your employer cannot force you to resign nor deny you accommodations to ensure you are safe during your pregnancy at work.

If you are working in the public sector, you will be entitled to paid parental leave after six months continuous service.

However, if you are working in the private sector – unless you’ve been working in the facility for more than 12 months you are unlikely to be eligible for your employer’s paid parental leave scheme. This will also depend on your employer’s enterprise agreement; private sector employers have different conditions and entitlements to public sector workplaces.

Conditions regarding breastfeeding spaces and family-friendly working conditions upon your return will also be outlined in your enterprise agreement. Generally speaking, your employer cannot discriminate against you for caring responsibilities.

As soon as you know you are pregnant, contact ANMF Member Assistance for advice before talking to your employer. We also have a primary carer’s leave membership category, so update your details on the Member Portal.