Women's and Children's Hospital, Adelaide
Transition to Professional Practice Program for Registered Nurses 2015

Transition to Professional Practice Program for Registered Nurses 2017

"Take your first steps in Paediatric Nursing with us!"

The Women' s and Children's Health Network is South Australia's leading provider of health services to babies, children, young people and women. The Women's and Children's Hospital provides specialist health care services to children and young people with acute and chronic conditions. The hospital also provides the state's largest neonatal, maternity and obstetric service.

The Transition to Professional Practice Program (TPPP RN) at the Women's and Children's Hospital provides the newly Registered Nurse with an opportunity to gain Paediatric experience, knowledge and clinical skills as they "Take their first steps in Paediatric Nursing". Two program options are available including:

  • Paediatric Pathway (2 x 6 month clinical placements in diverse ward areas)
  • Peri operative Pathway (1 x 12 month clinical placement in Scrub/Scout or Recovery/Anaesthetics)

At the Women's and Children's Hospital we recognise the first year of professional practice is an exciting (but sometimes challenging) time for new nurses. Our program curriculum is based on the principles of the Transition Theory (Stages and Shock models) created by Dr Judy Boychuk Duchscher (2007) with the aim of ensuring that the new Registered Nurse is supported and encouraged throughout their transition journey.

Feedback From Previous Participants

  • "I have progressed through all the stages (of Transition), from not even knowing the routine of the ward and just seeing the next step through to feeling like I have worked on the ward for a very long time and now feel at ease" (TPPP RN)
  • "My confidence has increased dramatically through experience and supervision from specialist staff. Both (placements) were extremely supportive working environments, facilitating growth and self-confidence through constant feedback. I felt comfortable asking questions without feeling 'silly'" (TPPP RN)
  • "I feel the TPPP at WCH assisted in taking away the initial fear of starting as an RN from University, then the ongoing support throughout the year aided in my progression" (TPPP RN)
  • "Amazing program and I feel so lucky to have been given the opportunity to work with such amazing and passionate nurses" (TPPP RN)
  • "The support and guidance from ward educators has been invaluable and their assistance combined with experience and knowledge has helped to increase my confidence" (TPPP RN)
  • "Fantastic program that provides amazing support and educational opportunities. Although the year has provided me with many challenges I feel that the program has allowed me to progress at a pace suited to me so that the challenges could be overcome. The program has made me feel like a valued member of the team. I would recommend the program to any new nurses" (TPPP RN)

TPPP Support

All Registered Nurses participating in the TPPP RN are provided with comprehensive support from a variety of people including:

  • Clinical Learning Coordinators/Clinical Nurse Educators (CLC's/CNE's)
  • Associate Clinical Service Coordinators – Education (ACSC-Ed)
  • Nurse Education Facilitators (NEF's)
  • Practice Support People (Preceptors) and Buddies (previous Graduates)
  • Clinical Service Coordinators (CSC's)
  • Nursing Service Directors (NSD's)
  • Nurse Management Facilitators (NMF's)
  • Transition to Practice Nurse Education Facilitator (TtP NEF)

Program Details

Each TPPP pathway at the Women's and Children's Hospital provides transitioning Nurses with:

  • Transition support (mentorship, preceptorship)
  • Clinical Placement experiences including ward based education and support from clinical educators
  • Clinical Feedback throughout each placement
  • Professional Development Days (Introduction to Paediatrics modules)
  • Weekly Chat Learn and Grow debriefs with the Transition to Practice Nurse Education Facilitator

Paediatric Pathway

The dedicated Paediatric Pathway will provide newly Registered Nurses with a comprehensive Paediatric experience during their first year of practice. Two placements will be offered within the Women's and Children's Hospital. Participants completing this pathway will also complete the Introduction to Paediatrics course during their TPPP.

Perioperative Pathway

The Dedicated Perioperative Pathway provides a unique opportunity for transitioning Nurses who have an interest in this specialised area of Nursing. Participants have the option to choose a twelve month placement in either Recovery and Anaesthetics or Scrub/Scout Please see ‘Clinical Placement Opportunities’ below for more information about these areas.

Clinical Placement Opportunities

Clinical placements for the Paediatric Pathway are conducted in the Medical and Surgical wards and various specialty areas allowing the new Registered Nurse to develop a wide range of Paediatric nursing skills. Placements in 2017 may include:

  • Surgical Inpatient Units
  • Peri operative Services
  • Medical Units
  • Adolescent Ward
  • Rose Ward
  • Paediatric Emergency Department
  • Paediatric Intensive Care and Paediatric High Dependency Unit
  • Oncology/Haematology
  • Boylan Ward
  • Neonatal Intensive Care
  • Special Care Baby Unit

Positions will be offered at 0.84FTE (or full time in selected areas)

Clinical placements for the Perioperative Pathway are conducted in Recovery/Anaesthetic areas or the Scrub/Scout areas allowing the new Registered Nurse to develop a wide range of Perioperative nursing skills.

See below for more details of each placement option.

Paediatric Surgical Services

Paediatric Surgical Services provides many dynamic learning opportunities for Graduate Nurses in the areas of orthopaedics, burns, neurosurgery, craniofacial, ophthalmology, ENT (ear, nose and throat), urology, plastic, minor cardiac and general surgery and includes the following wards/units:

  • Newland Ward
  • Kate Hill Ward
  • Paediatric Surgical Ambulatory Service
    • Day of Surgery Admissions (DOSA)
    • Day Surgery Unit
    • Campbell Ward
  • Perioperative Services

Paediatric Surgical Services provides many dynamic learning opportunities for Graduate Nurses in the areas of orthopaedics, burns, neurosurgery, craniofacial, ophthalmology, ENT (ear, nose and throat), urology, plastic, minor cardiac and general surgery.

Newland Ward

  • Newland ward is a 16 bed ward and is one of the main paediatric surgical wards for South Australia. Newland ward provides expert care to patients and families after surgery or trauma. Newland ward cares for patients from various surgical specialties and provides Graduate Nurses with many fulfilling learning experiences and exposure to a wide variety of skills. Newland ward surgical specialties include – burns, plastic surgery, urology, general surgery and thoracic surgery. In the team trained environment, Graduate Nurses are supported by a buddy each shift. Preceptors are also allocated at the commencement of each placement.

Kate Hill Ward

  • Kate Hill ward is a 16 bed ward and is one of the main paediatric surgical wards for South Australia. Kate Hill ward provides expert care to patients and families admitted under the surgical specialties of Neurosurgery, craniofacial surgery, ophthalmology, orthopaedic surgery, ENT (ear, nose and throat) and rehabilitation services. Kate Hill ward provides Graduate Nurses with the essential skills of paediatric neurological assessment and associated nursing care. Graduate Nurses are supported by a buddy each shift. Preceptors are also allocated at the commencement of each placement.

Paediatric Surgical Ambulatory Service

This area comprises 3 clinical areas of DOSA, DS and Campbell Ward. Graduates working in PSAS will experience each area throughout their 6 month placement.

Day of Surgery Admissions Area

  • Pre-operative area where children are prepared for their elective surgical/medical intervention.
  • Children and families go through an admission process that allows them to ask questions and clarify concerns before their procedure starts.
  • As DOSA is often the first point of contact to the hospital for many families it is essential to have refined communication skills. DOSA also provides graduate nurses with the opportunity to improve their handover, assessment and communication skills.

Paediatric Day Surgery Unit

  • This unit has 20 beds which cater for paediatric patients undergoing day surgery procedures under anaesthetic. The average length of stay is 1-2 hours.
  • There is a high turn over of patients which allows graduate nurses to refine their organisation and observation skills and discharge education proficiency.

Campbell Ward

  • Campbell ward has 16 beds and is dedicated to the care of paediatric patients who have undergone procedures requiring anaesthesia followed by a short stay in hospital of up to 36 hours. Campbell ward is team trained and provides graduate nurses with support and learning opportunities in many areas of paediatric surgical nursing.

Perioperative Services

Recovery and Anaesthetics

  • In a dedicated Recovery and Anaesthetic rotation in Rogerson and QVOS Theatres, Transitioning Registered Nurses will be involved in both paediatric and obstetric fields, inclusive of a wide range of surgical specialties. TPPP RN's learn aspects of the theory and practices behind safe, holistic care in the anaesthetic and recovery phases of perioperative care. TPPP RN's also develop skills in critically assessing and reflecting on changes in techniques and approaches, as well decision making and effective communication skills in the acute clinical setting.


  • The dedicated Perioperative program aims to provide the TPPP nurse with the opportunity to develop the skills and understand the concepts required to underpin their practice in the areas of scrub/scout nursing.
  • TPPP nurses will be involved in paediatrics, inclusive of a wide range of surgical specialties, developing skills in critically assessing and reflecting on changes in techniques and approaches, as well decision making and effective communication skills in the acute clinical setting.

Division of Paediatric Medicine

The Division of Paediatric Medicine provides many dynamic learning opportunities for Graduate Nurses in the areas of General Medicine, Respiratory, Endocrine, Metabolic, Cardiac, Renal, Gastroenterology, Neurology, Haematology, Oncology, Rheumatology, Immunology, Dermatology and Child Protection.

Opportunities are provided to work in the following areas of the division:

  • Medical Short Stay Ward
  • Cassia Ward
  • Paediatric Emergency Department
  • Paediatric Intensive Care Unit
  • Adolescent Ward
  • Rose Ward
  • Michael Rice Haematology/Oncology Ward and Clinic 

Medical Short Stay Ward

  • Medical Short Stay Ward is funded for 10 beds all year round. Children admitted to MSSW have an estimated length of stay <48 hours and must be over 6 months old. Children are admitted under one of the medical teams including General Medicine, Neurology, Immunology, Child Protection, Dermatology, Respiratory, Cardiology, Endocrine, Renal, Metabolic and Gastroenterology.The most common admitting reasons are bronchiolitis, asthma, gastroenteritis, UTIs, seizures and pneumonia. However we also care for some special patients with chronic and complex conditions that require recurrent admissions.

Cassia Ward

  • Cassia Ward is funded for 20 beds and cares for children aged 0-18years. Children are admitted under the specialty and general medical teams and generally have a length of stay greater than 48 hours. Depending on their medical condition they may remain admitted to the ward for significant periods of time. The most common admitting diagnoses on Cassia ward include cystic fibrosis, diabetes, chronic gastrointestinal conditions, renal conditions and transplants, and chronic respiratory conditions.

Adolescent Ward

  • The Adolescent ward offers services to 12-18 year old patients in the many specialties of medical, orthopaedic, endocrine, neurology, rehabilitation and gastroenterology nursing. Although primarily a medical ward, the staff work closely with the Department of Psychological Medicine and surgical services in the provision of care.

Rose Ward

  • Rose ward is a medical and surgical unit delivering care to neonates and infants to one year of age. Many of the infants have complex needs and require hospitalisation for many months. The family plays an integral part in the child's care and the complete needs of the family unit are taken into consideration. The range of conditions treated includes infectious diseases, orthopaedic, respiratory, cardiac, neurology, craniofacial and many others. Nutrition, growth, development and infant mental health issues are primary concerns in this unit. The ward includes facilities to admit the parents of newborn infants requiring care.

Paediatric Emergency Department

  • The Paediatric Emergency Department provides a 24 hour service for children and young adolescents. The department covers all specialties including mental health services and is the Paediatric Trauma Centre for South Australia. Nurses working in the area require exceptional assessment skills and have the opportunity to master several advanced practices including cannulation, trauma cast application and gluing of superficial wounds.

Paediatric of Critical Care Medicine (PICU and PHDU)

  • he Paediatric Intensive Care unit (PICU) is a specialised area where children of all ages receive care from a highly skilled team of health professionals. 8 beds within the unit are allocated for intensive care and 4 beds are allocated for high dependency patients.

Michael Rice Haematology/Oncology Ward and Clinic

Michael Rice Ward is an 9 bed acute ward caring for Oncology and Haematology patients. The majority of patients are admitted for the following reasons:

  • DDiagnosis/treatment
  • Complications of malignancies or treatment
  • Bone marrow transplant
  • Palliative care/respite
  • Pain management
  • Complications of haemophilia
  • Aplastic anaemia
  • Ideopathic Thrombocytopenia (ITP)
  • Other haematological conditions, eg. Thalassaemia

The Michael Rice Clinic is a 9 bed outpatient clinic that cares for patients requiring planned and emergency review and/or treatment. Oncology patients may be admitted to the clinic as day patients for some phases of treatment. The clinic is staffed from 0830-1700, Monday to Friday and manages triage calls and admissions during these hours.

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS)

Boylan Ward

Boylan ward is a 12 bed unit of the Division of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service. It provides an inpatient environment where clients up to the age of 18 years can work through their mental health issues with the assistance of a specialist multidisciplinary team that are experienced in supporting young people and their families. This is a state wide facility and provides a unique experience for graduates to work with experienced mental health nurses in this specialist area.

A placement in Boylan Ward includes providing individual care to the patients, involvement in family therapy, group participation and collaborative liaison with various community services and schools. You will also become familiar with the numerous Acts and legislations that apply to this area.

Boylan ward also supports the Graduate Diploma of Mental Health Nursing for Registered Nurses seeking to become Registered Mental Health Nurses.

Women's and Babies Division (WABS)

Opportunities exist for Graduate Nurses to complete placements in selected units within the Women's and Babies Division. (Please note that positions in the nurseries will be offered at 0.84 FTE only).

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)

The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is responsible for the provision of care for babies in need of intensive (Level 6) care born at the WCH, or elsewhere in South Australia, the Northern Territory, Western Victoria and the far west of New South Wales. It can accommodate up to 16 neonates requiring respiratory support, central line management and continuous observation. Gestational ages range from 23 to 42 weeks. Programs supported by NICU are the Graduate Certificate of Health/Master of Clinical Nursing Neonatal Intensive Care, the Graduate Midwifery Program, the Graduate Nurse Program and the Neonatal Nurse Practitioner role.

Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU)

SCBU is a 37 bed Neonatal Unit (level 5) which provides care to sick and preterm infants. Generally infants born from 32 weeks gestation will be admitted to the unit, as well as those infants who require short term transitional care after birth. Infants may also be admitted to the unit from other hospitals, or readmitted from home.

The unit also provides care to infants needing Level 6 care – these infants may require non -invasive respiratory support, central line management and continuous observation.

Once infants no longer need specialised care they maybe transferred to a hospital closer to home – MeSTAR Kids assists the unit with these inter-hospital transfers.

The unit provides an outreach follow up service for those infants who reside within the metropolitan area. SCBU also offers an early discharge program called The Neonatal Early Discharge (NED) program. This program enables some infants to be discharged home while still on gavage feeds, with the parents performing the gavage feeds and supported by regular home visits from the SCBU nursing / midwifery staff.

Education programs supported by SCBU are the Transition to Nurse Practice, the Transition to Midwifery Practice, the Neonatal Special Care Nursing Course, Refresher/Re-entry Midwives, Aboriginal Maternal and Infant Care Workers, Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP). Enrolled Nurses are also employed in the unit, and many of the Registered Nurses / Midwives have post graduate qualifications in Neonatal Intensive or Special Care Nursing.

Educational Opportunities and Ongoing Career Development

New Registered Nurses are provided with a comprehensive orientation to the organisation at the beginning of the program and to the clinical environments at the commencement of each clinical placement.

All TPPP RN's will attend the Introduction to Paediatrics course which provides an overview of the fundamentals of Paediatric nursing. Participants will complete all 4 modules and will be awarded a certificate of course completion. These study days are also complimented by unit specific education opportunities and other hospital activities.

Specific TPPP RN "Chat Learn and Grow" sessions are also held each Wednesday afternoon. These opportunities allow participants to debrief and develop further clinical knowledge and critical thinking skills.
Following a TPPP RN, employees can access a wide range of educational activities and opportunities to further their Paediatric career.

Performance Development

Clinical feedback forms are completed within the TPPP RN, allowing the Registered Nurse to monitor their progress and clinical development across the year.

Working Hours and Starting Dates

Contracts at the Women's and Children's Hospital will be offered as 0.84FTE – 4 days per week (or 1.0FTE in selected areas). All placements require participants to work over a 7 day roster on all shifts. (Nurses completing a theatre placement will work all shifts over a 5 day roster).

It is anticipated that both the Paediatric Perioperative Pathway and the Paediatric Pathway positions will commence in early 2017 (please note these are subject to final confirmation, more details will be available at the Information Session in July).

Please note the proposed start dates when considering a program option - remember you MUST be registered BEFORE starting your TPPP.

Information Session

The TPPP-RN Information Session will be held on 21st July 2016 1400-1600 in the Queen Victoria Lecture Theatre, Level 1, Zone D. Participants will be given the opportunity to meet with ward based educators, previous participants and the Transition to Practice Coordinator to discuss the program. RSVP is not required

TPPP-RN 2017 Information Session flyer (127kb)

WCH Map (250kb)

Completion of Program

A celebration ceremony is held each year for Registered Nurses who have completed their Transition to Professional Practice Program.

Applying for the Program

Recruitment to 2017 SA Health Transition to Professional Practice Programs will be done via a centralised process. For more detailed information regarding the application process, please visit the SA Health Careers site and search for 'RN TPPP 2017'.

Further Information

For further information about the Transition to Professional Practice Program for Registered Nurses at the Women's and Children's Hospital, please contact:

Jayne Hartwig, Transition to Professional Practice Nurse Education Facilitator:

Email: jayne.hartwig@health.sa.gov.au

last modified: 26 May 2016