What to do if your new grad plans don’t work out

Grad 18.05.01



Written by Ingrid VennonenBachelor of Nursing (Graduate Entry) graduate (2017)

“Have you applied for new grad?” “Did you get a new grad interview?” “Where are you doing new grad?”

Reaching the end of third year, these are the questions on everyone’s mind, and to say the least, it is overwhelming and stressful when being asked at times.

There are many positives of taking part in a new graduate program. For instance the program introduces you and eases you into workplace by guiding you through the initial first few days and weeks as a Registered Nurse or Midwife with continued ongoing support and training during your first year. However, suppose you don’t get offered one of these positions or you can’t commit to full time work after graduating?

Fear not, not all is lost (even though it may feel like it in the moment).

Personally, I was unable to undertake a new graduate nursing program as I was unable to work full-time in the year following graduating. Many (many!) people told me I must do a new graduate year to even get a job as a nurse. Initially, I doubted myself, my decision and my abilities, but after some research and renewed confidence in myself, I decided to prove that even without a new graduate program, I was going to get a job as a nurse.

Below are some strategies and useful information I found in my search to attain a job as a Registered Nurse. Sometimes all it takes is a different perspective on a old problem which gets you the results you’re after.

Research the different types of new graduate programs and positions out there


Private hospitals, small hospitals, nursing homes and rural hospitals may also have new graduate programs which aren’t part of the mainstream application process suggested by your university. Some of these programs may also have different start dates or time periods meaning if you miss an intake at one hospital, you may still have time to apply for another program somewhere else.

Keep an open mind whilst applying for and working in different health sectors or workplaces

Alternatives may include working in a general practice assisting a GP, working in a nursing home, working privately for one patient in their home, working in a cosmetic practice or working in an office such as telenursing. Some of these jobs may require learning on the job or doing additional study outside of normal work hours. However, a little extra effort goes a long way.

Enrol in further study

Enrolling in further study such as a masters or short course which specialises in a specific area can enhance your resume and widen your skills scope. Some courses are available online or through your workplace; this makes combining working a new job and studying easier and sometimes cheaper if your workplace offers to pay for the course fees, or if you can claim anything back on tax.

Be flexible


Be flexible with the hours you want to work, the days you work, the times you work and your employment type (full-time, part-time or casual). Simply by being flexible will widen your job search and increase your opportunities. Apply for a lot of jobs, I mean a lot. Even apply for those which say they only take nurses with 2+ years of experience, as some workplaces can be lenient. Personally, I have landed jobs which “required experience”. During the interview I was open and upfront about the experience I didn’t have, but also showed I was confident and keen to learn. Take your chances.

Alternatively, try going for an Assistant In Nursing job in the workplace you want to work in. Once you’re in, trying to transition to a RN position is a possibility. This way, the staff already know you and your work ethic and your chances of being offered a job will be higher.

Put your best foot forward

do something

And finally, everyone has a skill or experience in their past which they can use to help promote themselves. So be fearless. Learn to trust what you are going for or working towards. It’s in your best favour.

Take advantage of UTS Alumni Career Services – UTS Careers provides a variety of services for students and recent graduates, within two years of completing study at UTS.

Find out more about studying health at UTS

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