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Harbison Memorial Retirement Village (NSW)

Charlotte Street, Burradoo NSW

Graduate Nurse Program

  Harbison Care Moss Vale, Harbison Care Burradoo Hostel,        Harbison Care Burradoo Nursing Home

 Residential - Regional - Organisational wide or multiple home program

Award descriptors

  • Clinical care/medication management
  • Leadership and culture
  • Workforce development

Establishing a graduate nurse program that included clinical rotations across residential aged care, public and private hospitals, and community health as a foundation for providing the best level of care to residents and across the community.

About this program

Our organisation’s Graduate Nurse Program was conceived in 2015 following conversations between staff from our local public hospital and senior organisation nursing staff about the increasing need in our local area for specialised aged nursing .
In response to the increasing and complex needs of the community it was agreed that the level of confidence of the nurses directing the care of our elderly would be improved with a greater understanding of all aspects of care throughout our community.

We conceived a Graduate Nurse Program that included clinical rotations across Residential Aged Care ( nursing home, hostel and secure dementia care), Public and Private Hospitals (medical/surgical ward, emergency ward, high dependency ward, operating room/anaesthetics/recovery, children’s and maternity wards), and Community Health as the best way to provide newly graduated nurses with 12 months practical experience as a foundation for providing the best level of care to the residents in our facilities and across the community.
Enrolled Nurses represent a significant percentage of the senior staff directing and delivering residential aged care. At the time of developing our Graduate Nurse Program there were few post-graduate training positions in our area for the Enrolled Nurse qualification. Those training positions that were available for Enrolled Nurses did not include the same depth of training and skill development offered to Bachelor of Nursing graduates. Our goal was to address this, and improve the knowledge and skill of our Enrolled Nurses in managing resident care and leading the staff responsible for care delivery, while understanding their capacity to operate within their scope of practice.

The inaugural Graduate Nurse Program commenced in March 2016 with five Registered Nurse graduates and two Enrolled Nurse graduates. The graduates were employed by our organisation and completed the rotations set out above over a period of one year.
During the program there was a noticeable increase in the number of residents with higher care needs who were treated in-situ (e.g. by administration of intravenous antibiotics or sub-cutaneous fluid supplementation to prevent and treat dehydration/sepsis) as opposed to being transferred to or remaining in hospital. There was an improved confidence level amongst the newly graduated nurses in communication with visiting General Practitioner/Specialist medical staff, residents and their families.

The Aged Care Clinical Nurse Consultant from the local public hospital conducted a review of the number of resident presentations from our facilities and noted a decrease during the course of the program. This is still being reviewed and a submission has been made to use this program as a research project to review the success of a Public Private Partnership Graduate Nurse training program in improving the health outcomes for residents in the residential aged care setting, as well as reducing hospital presentations and associated complications and costs to the community.

More information about this program

Susan Macdonald at or call (02) 4868 6200

Friday, 21 December 2018 - 6:29am