Nursing and Midwifery GradStart Program

The Mid North Coast Local Health District offers well supported and comprehensive Nursing and Midwifery GradStart programs for newly graduated Registered Nurses and Midwives across a number of different health settings and facilities. The Mental Health Service offers a structured specialty 12 month GradStart program. Refer to ‘Mental Health Service GradStart Program’ below for detailed information about the program.

Nursing and Midwifery GradStart positions across MNCLHD offer successful applicants  temporary full-time or temporary part-time employment of 12 months duration.  Opportunity for permanent full-time employment is available in some facilities. Applications are processed as part of the NSW Health state-wide recruitment for this program.


Number of Positions

Coffs Clinical Network (Bellingen River District Hospital/Coffs Harbour Health Campus/Macksville Hospital)


Coffs Harbour Health Campus – Midwifery


Coffs Harbour Health Campus – Mental Health


Hastings Macleay Network (Kempsey District Hospital/Port Macquarie Base Hospital/Wauchope District Hospital)


Hastings Macleay Network Midwifery (Kempsey District Hospital/Port Macquarie Base Hospital)


Hastings Macleay Network – Mental Health


Application information can be found here.

The 2021 Graduate Nursing and Midwifery GradStart Handbook will provide you with the information that you need to make the process of applying for a Graduate position easier as we appreciate that it can be confusing and a little daunting.

Please note that for the 2021 recruitment Coffs Clinical Network (CCN) and Hastings Macleay Network (HMN) have altered the way the facilities are preferenced on the on-line application form  e.g.  CCN is listed as MNCLHD – CCN (Coffs Harbour/Bellingen/Macksville). Prior to interview you will be contacted by the Nurse Educator of that network requesting you list your preferences for hospitals within the  chosen network in order of priority.

If you are having any problems understanding this information, the local MNCLHD contact is:

GradStart nurses and midwives in the Mid North Coast have access to clinical nurse educators in a structured program including study days, choice of clinical rotations and mentorships. In addition to clinical rotations within inpatient services, Coffs Harbour Health Campus provides graduates an opportunity to rotate to the smaller rural facilities of Bellingen River District Hospital and Macksville District Hospital. Port Macquarie Base Hospital offers rotations to the smaller rural facility of Wauchope Memorial District Hospital.

Mental Health and Alcohol and Other Drugs Service GradStart Program:

Interested in a career in Mental Health Nursing?

Around 45% of Australians will experience a mental illness during adolescence or adulthood. Mental health nurses play a critical role in supporting individuals and their carers in patient recovery from Mental Illness and make up the largest part of the mental health workforce in Australia. As a Mental Health Nurse you will lead the way in the prevention, planning and delivery of mental health care.

What skills do I need to be a Mental Health Nurse & how will I learn them?

This information is provided through a 12 month GradStart Program. You will be provided with clinical supervision, orientation, nine (9) allocated study days and access to professional development including Nurse Educators, Clinical Nurse Educators, Preceptors/Mentors, Clinical Nurse Consultants, Mental Health Professional Online Development (MHPOD) modules and HETI online.

The Mid north Coast Mental Health and Alcohol and Other Drugs Service offer a choice of completing your GradStart Mental Health Program from two of the most desirable locations in NSW, Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie. Both Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie programs adopt the same curriculum. Although in different locations, they both provide equivalent Mental Health clinical rotations through their respective Acute Mental Health Inpatient unit, Rehabilitation unit  & Community Mental health teams along with experience within the Mental Health Rapid response Service and Drug & Alcohol services when available.

Commencement date

An annual intakes is offered in February for both Coffs Harbour and HMN graduates .

Program structure

This GradStart Mental Health program has been developed for new graduates and experienced nurses who are new to mental health. The program has two main goals recruitment/retention and education/support.

The program integrates theory into clinical practice through clinical learning objectives, study days and local support by preceptor’s and educators. The learning objectives/tools cover: psychopharmacology, disorders, assessment, crisis intervention, counselling, management planning, aggression management, alcohol & other drugs, working with families, diversity, Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people, health promotion and prevention, integration and partnership. Completion of this program contributes to advanced standing at Southern Cross University.

Within this program you are provided with a range of opportunities and a chance to experience acute, rehabilitation and community mental health nursing specialty areas to build your nursing career.

The program is designed to provide you with the necessary clinical skills and knowledge to practice safely and deliver high quality, person centred, strengths based care within a recovery framework.

Program Features
  • One year contracted GradStart program
  • Orientation Program – 5 Days
  • Education Study Days – 9 Days
  • Minimum of two (2)  placements (approximately 16 weeks each) within Acute and non-acute Mental Health services.
  • Supernumerary at orientation and the beginning of each new rotation
  • Completion of clinical competencies.
  • Completion of mandatory and non-mandatory training and education programs
  • Case presentation opportunities
  • Support and input from clinical experts within the  Mental Health field
  • Regular reflective Clinical Supervision
  • Access to Nurse Educators
  • Support from placement preceptors/mentors
  • Gateway to a challenging and rewarding career with many opportunities for professional development and career advancement
  • Opportunity to obtain advanced standing for Southern Cross University’s Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma & Master of Mental Health nursing degree.
  • Knowledge of the range of MI’s
  • Medication used in Psychiatry
  • Treatment modalities used in psychiatry
  • Managing challenging behavior
  • Over 50 diverse Mental health topics are covered
Our hospital and location

Our hospitals are located on the Mid North Coast of NSW, approximately half way between Sydney and Brisbane. Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie are coastal cities with easy access to pristine beaches and rivers.

Essential Selection Criteria
  • Commitment to undertake 12 month GradStart Mental Health Nursing Program
  • Current registration with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulatory Authority as a Registered Nurse
  • Commitment to personal & professional development
  • Willingness to be involved in Quality Improvement activities
  • Computer literacy.
The Application Process

Applications will only be accepted through the NSW Nursing and Midwifery Office (NaMO) centralised online recruitment site.  Application information can be found here 

You will asked to select up to 8 GradStart Program preferences, the facility you select as your first preference has an obligation to offer you an interview if you meet all the selection criteria.

Interviews will be held at Coffs Harbour Health Campus for CCN applicants and Port Macquarie Hospital for HMN applicants.

Coffs Harbour Mental Health are unable to accommodate telephone and/or Skype interviews for the Mental Health GradStart Program.

Information and contact

If you require further information on mental health nursing within the CCN, you are welcome to email: mailto:

If you require further information on mental health nursing within the HMN, you are welcome to email:

Mid North Coast Local Health District covers an area of 11,335 square kilometres, extending from Port Macquarie in the south to Coffs Harbour in the north. The western and southern borders of the MNC LHD join the Hunter New England LHD with Northern New South Wales LHD to the north.

The Mid North Coast Local Health District (MNC LHD) is divided into two geographical Networks:

Coffs Clinical Network includes:

Hastings Macleay Clinical Network includes: