We offer a transition program for experienced registered nurses to take the next step in their career and train as specialised mental health nurses.

Registered nurses are integral to our commitment to developing a specialised mental health nursing workforce.

Our Registered Nurse Transition Program allows for a safe and supportive transition to mental health practice. The program allows you to consolidate and build on your knowledge, skills, and confidence while being supported within the clinical settings.

Our program

The program is approximately 18 months. This includes a six-month short course component then 12 months to complete the postgraduate diploma in mental health nursing.

Our clinical settings include:

Short course component

The short course is an internally designed academic/theoretical program rolled out over a six-month period.

Successfully completing the six-month short course leads to you completing a postgraduate diploma in mental health nursing while you continue to be supported in our clinical settings.

You will also receive recognition of prior learning towards your postgraduate diploma.


We offer two academic intakes per year in January and July. However, you may start before this.

Who can apply

We welcome applications from:

  • Experienced registered nurses who wish to pursue their careers in mental health nursing
  • Experienced enrolled nurses who have worked in a mental health setting and have recently completed a Bachelor of Nursing

Novice enrolled nurses may be interested in our Enrolled Nurse Transition to Mental Health Nurse Program.

What we offer

This program includes part-time or full-time employment with the Royal Melbourne Hospital (RMH) Mental Health Service.

Working at the RMH comes with benefits such as:

  • Salary packaging
  • Flexible working arrangements (0.8 to 1.0 EFT)
  • Convenient facility locations with access to public transport
  • A supportive working and learning environment with dedicated Clinical Nurse Educators

Study days

The 18-month program includes paid study days:

  • Three days orientation at the beginning of the program, which will introduce you to foundation knowledge and skills to prepare you for clinical placement
  • Supernumerary time in the allocated clinical setting when you start the program
  • A further six study days that you are required to attend during the short course
  • Allocated study days as per the EBA during the postgraduate stage

Leave entitlements

We offer annual leave, personal leave, accrued days off (ADOs) and study leave entitlements per the Public Mental Health Services Enterprise Agreement.

After the program

The program will allow you to consolidate and build on your mental health knowledge and skills with confidence in a supportive setting.

After successfully completing the postgraduate diploma, you will become a qualified mental health nurse and be eligible to apply for ongoing employment within a mental health service.

Build your career in mental health with us

We will regularly advertise positions for the Registered Nurse Transition to Mental Health Nurse Program.

Register for job alerts through our online recruitment portal.

Frequently asked questions

Do you offer rotations?

You will be allocated to an inpatient clinical setting or community care unit at the start of the program.

When you begin the postgraduate stage of the program, we will consider you for rotations to an inpatient unit, community teams, Emergency mental health or the community care unit.

We will consider individual preferences for rotations but cannot guarantee rotations in those areas.

Do you have a preceptorship program?

You will either be allocated a preceptor or be part of a learning support team depending on the clinical setting you are allocated to.

Do I have to complete a postgraduate diploma in mental health nursing?

Yes, the postgraduate diploma is a requirement of undertaking our program. You are required to enrol at a university of your choice once you complete of the short course.

Completing the postgraduate qualification ensures you become specialised in mental health nursing and opens up opportunities for your career.

How much does the postgraduate diploma cost?

Postgraduate qualification fees are according to the university you enrol in.

You may be eligible for a subsidy under the universities Commonwealth Supported Place and/or a Scholarship with the Australian College of Nursing.

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Looking for a career at the RMH?

Find out more about current vacancies on our online jobs portal.

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Last updated 20 June 2024