Transition to professional practice

The Canberra Health Service Transition to Practice Program (TTPP) for Registered Nurses is a well established and highly successful program.

The program aims to provide newly graduated nurses with the opportunity to consolidate their knowledge and skills, develop clinical competence and establish themselves as professional Registered Nurses.

2020 Virtual Open Day

Watch our staff showcase the Canberra Health Services clinical areas:


Applications for 2021 are now closed.


The Transition to Practice Program aims to:

  • Provide a structured framework to support the graduate nurse with transition into the workforce
  • Assist the graduate nurse to consolidate their professional practice as outlined in the NMBA Registered Nurse Standards for Practice (2016)
  • Support the graduate nurse to develop their skills and knowledge with experience in two clinical areas or as part of a specialised foundation program or stream

Key components

Key components of the Transition to Practice Program:

  • Two clinical rotations (2 x 6 months)
  • Diversity of rotations to clinical areas across Canberra Health Services
  • Graduate intakes vary each year. In 2021, intakes will be in February, April and May.
  • Three day Canberra Health Services orientation program in addition to a TTPP orientation day
  • Extensive support network including dedicated Graduate Clinical Development Nurses (CDN) accessible all year round in addition to specialist Ward CDNs and preceptors
  • A Transition to Practice Program Coordinator designated to provide leadership and support for the learning and development of all graduate nurses and the TTPP
  • Scheduled fortnightly Graduate Education Sessions
  • Completion of professional development activities as required by the Transition to Practice Program
  • Certificate Ceremony at the end of the TTPP
  • The TTPP is supported by the Canberra Hospital and Health Services, Operational Procedure - Transition to Practice Program for Enrolled and Registered Nurses

Employee benefits

Employee benefits of the Canberra Health Services Transition to Practice Program:

  •  7 weeks annual leave plus a paid ADO per month for full-time employees (on a rotating roster)
  • Salary packaging
  • Employee email account
  • Access to a large comprehensive library with access to biomedical data bases via the internet, available in your home
  • Free secure car parking on campus
  • Organised social club functions and activities • Access to free continuing education each year through in-service and the Staff Development Unit programs

Application Process

Applications for 2021 intakes are NOW CLOSED.

COMPLETE applications which have been electronically submitted via the Canberra Health Services Employment website will be assessed in July/August 2020 and your referees contacted.

Canberra Health Services receives well over 350 applications for this program annually therefore late or incomplete applications are unable to be considered. 

After assessing the application packages, successful applicants are invited to attend an Assessment Centre which involves a short interview. The Assessment Centre sessions will be held on September 7 and 8, 2020 at Canberra Hospital. You are required to attend 1 x half day session only.

* Please note the venue may change, you will be notified of the change in advance. Phone interviews will not be available; to be considered for a position you must attend the Assessment Centre in person.

Employment decisions will be based on written application, referee reports, satisfactory academic history, and interview and Assessment Centre analysis.

If you have any questions please contact Helen Cutler at

DUTY STATEMENT – Registered Nurse

  1. Provides competent and safe patient care within ethical, professional and quality frameworks and practices in accordance with the relevant legislation. Integrates organisational policy and guidelines with professional standards.
  2. Adheres to the scope of practice of a Registered Nurse Level 1. Aware of differences in accountability and responsibility between RN and EN and undertakes role according to the appropriate standard.
  3. Considers and advocates for the rights of the individual and/or groups for nursing care, within the organisational and management structure.
  4. Is responsible for completing all professional development requirements and demonstrating competence as a beginning registered nurse, within the Transition to Practice Program, and in the required timeframes.
  5. Practices in a way that acknowledges the dignity, culture, values, beliefs and rights of individuals and/or groups. Adheres to safe practice and relevant legislation.
Clinical Development Nurses

The TTPP Clinical Development Nurses (CDNs) work exclusively with the Transition to Practice Program to provide clinical support, education, feedback and assessment of competency related to the NMBA Registered Nurse Standards for Practice (2016).

The role of the Transition to Practice Program CDN is to:

  • Support your transition into the organisation and nursing workforce
  • Assist in identifying and facilitating your learning needs
  • Provide assistance with ‘hands on’ clinical support
  • Provide feedback on work performance
  • Enhance your professional development
  • Promote evidence based practice, and
  • Assess competence

A dedicated team of CDNs support the Transition to Practice program at Canberra Hospital and across Canberra Health Services.

Most clinical areas throughout Canberra Health Services have a CDN allocated to their team. These CDNs provide support to all staff in their respective clinical area and also assist new nurses.

Clinical Placements

Note: Clinical placements are allocated based on organisational requirements, graduate preference and placement availability.

The Canberra Health Services Transition to Practice Program recognises that everyone wants something different in their graduate year and for their career. We offer flexibility and choices with rotations to most departments and specialty areas. These areas include:

Division of Surgery

  • 10A General Surgery and Ophthalmology
  • 9B Neurosurgical
  • 6B Urology, Vascular and Cardiothoracic
  • 5A Orthopaedics
  • 5B Plastic, Ear Nose & Throat, Maxillofacial and Orthopaedic Surgery
  • Perioperative Nursing Services (encompassing Anaesthetics, Scrub/Scout, Post Anaesthetic Care Unit and Extended Day Surgery Unit)
  • Acute Surgical Unit (ASU)

Division of Medicine

  • 4B Renal and Acute General Medical Ward
  • 8B General Medicine Unit
  • Coronary Care Unit / Cardiac Catheter Lab
  • 6A Cardiology, Endocrinology, Respiratory and Rheumatology
  • Medical Day Unit and Hospital in the Home
  • 7A Stroke and Infectious Diseases
  • 9A Gastroenterology Medical Unit
  • Gastroenterology and Hepatology Unit

Division of Cancer and Ambulatory Services 

  • 14B Haemotology Ward
  • 4A Medical Oncology Ward
  • Radiation Oncology 
  • Haemotology
  • Outpatients Department

Division of Mental Health, Justice Health, Alcohol and Drug

  • Adult Mental Health Unit
  • Justice Health – Alexander Maconachie Centre
  • Alcohol and Drug Services
  • Brian Hennessy Rehabilitation Centre

Division of Rehabilitation, Aged and Community Services

  • 11A Acute Care for the Elderly
  • 11B Sub Acute Gerontology Unit (SAGU)
  • University Canberra Hospital - Acute Rehabilitation
  • Community Nursing - South, Northside and City Community Centres

Division of Critical Care

  • Intensive Care Unit
  • Emergency Department

Medical Services

  • Medical Imaging
Foundation Programs
  • We also provide opportunities for graduates to participate in dedicated foundation programs within Perioperative, Intensive Care and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. These specialised programs are conducted concurrently with the Transition to Practice program.
  • Once you have been successful in your application to the TTPRN and offered a position in the program, each specialty area offers a meet and greet to prospective candidates and selects graduate registered nurses to undertake their program. Additional educational requirements are expected as part of these specialised programs.
Frequently Asked Questions

How many intakes do you offer?

Graduate intakes vary each year and are dependent on organisational need. In 2020, Canberra Health Services welcomed intakes in February, April and May.

How many registered nurse positions are offered?

This varies each year depending on organisational need. In 2020, the TTPP offered 130 positions across three intakes.

When are applications for the 2021 intake open?

Applications are expected to open in mid-June 2020. Information regarding any future recruitment will be published on the 'Application Process' section of the TTPP website.

If I want to commence my Transition to Practice program (TTPP) in the mid year intakes, when do I have to apply?

If you wished to commence in any of the 2021 intakes, you must apply in June 2020. Information regarding our recruitment process can be found in the 'Application Process' section of the website from June 2020.

Are you able to do the TTPP in a part-time capacity?

Yes, you can work part-time. Canberra Health Services is a family friendly organisation and supports work life balance. The minimum number of shifts you must work is 7 (56 hours) per fortnight to complete the program in 12 months.

Please note that some specialty areas prefer a fulltime commitment.

Do you provide an orientation program as part of the TTPP?

Yes, you participate in a three day Canberra Health Services Orientation program in addition to a TTPP orientation/workshop day, 5 days in total. You will be expected to attend the full 5 days, so if successful please do not make appointments in this week.

Do I have supernumerary time during my clinical placements?

In your initial clinical area you are given two supernumerary days and one day in your second six month placement. Graduates who undertake a foundation program receive an extended supernumerary period as determined by the specialty areas.

How many clinical rotations are there in the TTPP?

There will be two clinical rotations (2 x 6 months) in 2020. These clinical placements are selected based on ward availability, organisational need and your clinical preferences that are submitted at Open Day. Each graduate can expect to get at least 1 x 6 month rotation in an area of preference, however this will depend on availability of the requested placement.

What kind of professional development is available as part of the TTPP?

In addition to the scheduled fortnightly graduate education sessions, you have access to free continuing education each year through ward in-services and the Staff Development Unit programs. Graduates are also able to apply to the Nursing and Midwifery Office postgraduate scholarship scheme if undertaking postgraduate education after their graduate year.

What clinical support is provided to me during my graduate year?

Clinical Development Nurses work exclusively to support the Transition to Practice Program to provide clinical support, education, feedback and assessment of competency related to the Standards of Practice for the Registered Nurse (2016). TTPP CDNs are accessible from 8am-8pm*. Most clinical areas also have a specialised CDN available to assist new staff working in that clinical area. Most areas also allocate preceptors.
* excluding Christmas Day

How do I apply?

Canberra Health Services invites applications from Registered Nurses for its Transition to Practice Program in June each year. Applications for 2021 are expected to open in mid-June. Information regarding this recruitment process will be advertised on the Canberra Health Services employment website.

When will the interview process take place?

Successful applicants are invited to participate in the Assessment Centre, which includes a short interview. The Assessment Centre are scheduled to take place September 7 & 8, 2020. You will be invited to attend a single half day session.

When will I know if I have been offered a position at Canberra Hospital?

Successful applicants will be notified approximately 4-5 weeks after completing the Assessment Centre.

When do I submit preferences for my clinical placements during the TTPP?

Requests for clinical placements are submitted after you have accepted your offer of employment from ACT Health. You will be invited to attend Open Day in November 2020 to submit your preferences.

What happens to my clinical placements if I am unsuccessful in obtaining a Foundation Program position?

In addition to selecting Foundation program requests, it is recommended that you include other area requests as well. If you do not advise us of your clinical requests your placements will be allocated according to organisation need and ward availability.

If am unsuccessful at gaining a specialty Foundation position, am I still able to do a clinical rotation to this area during my TTPP?

Placements are not available for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit/Centre for Newborn Care outside of the foundation program. In 2020, 6 month placements were offered in Perioperative in the specialty of PACU and EDSU as well as the foundation program (12 months in Perioperative).

Open Day

Open Day is designed to showcase the diversity of clinical placement opportunities available within Canberra Health Services. We invite prospective Registered and Enrolled Nurses to visit our interactive ward displays and consider the clinical placements we have on offer as part of the Transition to Practice Program

Event information

Due to the COVID-19 emergency the 2020 Open Day has unfortunately been cancelled.


February 2018-2019 Graduate

  • I found that my two rotations prepared me very well in furthering my career in emergency nursing. Having the ward placement first enabled me to get my foundational skills down before looking at more advanced skills.
  • Learning so many skills and always been supported by the CDN team.

February 2017-2018 Graduate

  • 'An extremely supportive program'
  • 'The program has given me a good basis to now build on my nursing career'
  • 'I felt there was the right amount of being allowed to find your own feet and help from the program staff.  We were not babied but we were definitely not left on our own'

February 2015-2016 Graduate

  • "Everything that I achieved this year, I can’t imagine doing without the support of the TTPP Team
What's next

From 2020, Transition to Practice employment positions are offered as permanent contracts.

Canberra Health Services is committed to the ongoing learning and development of nursing staff. We have strong associations with the University of Canberra and Australian Catholic University who offer a variety of post graduate study options. Canberra Health Services supports nurses with post graduate study through a generous scholarship scheme.


Page last updated on: 24 Feb 2021