Graduate Certificate in Special Care Nursing

About the Nurseries

Neonatal Services at Mercy Hospital for Women has up to 58 beds comprising of both Special Care and Intensive Care Cots. It is one of the largest nurseries in Australia.

Annually over 1,300 premature and sick babies are cared for in the NICU and Special Care Nurseries. We provide neonatal care for infants admitted to the nursery within the first 28 days of life with gestations as low as 23 weeks. These babies may be premature or sick full term infants requiring supplemental oxygen, intravenous therapy, specialised feeding, incubator care or high technological care such as ventilation, high frequency oscillating ventilation and nitric oxide as well as minor surgery. 

The neonatal team provide a family centred care approach to the management of these vulnerable patients. Parents are encouraged to work together with Mercy Staff, collaboratively to provide optimum care for all of the babies in Neonatal Services.

Developmental care is an important part of the care provided for our neonatal population. Individual needs of the infant are assessed and the nursery environment is modified to ensure optimal neurological outcomes.

The unit is involved in significant research and teaching programs, including international studies and neonatal intensive care and special care nursery training for nursing staff, midwives, students and paediatricians.

Clinical placement is provided for post graduate studies in Neonatal Special Care Nursing.  This is for nurses or midwives interested in developing knowledge and skills in special care nursing.


Graduate Certificate Studies in Neonatal Special Care Nursing

This 1 year program is suitable for registered nurses/midwives with preferably up to two years of nursing or midwifery experience to learn neonatal special care nursing skills. Clinical placement is offered to participants who are undertaking the certificate in Special Care Nursing through La Trobe University.  Applicants are required to apply for a position with La Trobe University and acceptance into the program will be in conjunction with a paid clinical position in the Mercy Hospital for Women Special Care Nursery.

Program outline

Entry Requirement:​

Registered Nurse or Registered Midwife
Minimum 12 months recent acute nursing or midwifery experience
Registered with Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (AHPRA) with current eligibly to practice
Successful application with La Trobe University
Satisfactory references and interview at Mercy Hospital for Women
Learning Contract with Mercy Hospital for Women

Duration of program:
Approximately 52 weeks

Shift Expectations:
Rostered over a rotating roster; minimum 32 hours per week and includes night duty

Theoretical input: Theory will be provided by La Trobe University

Clinical experience
and practical support and will be provided by Mercy Hospital for Women

Associated costs:
Full fees as deemed by La Trobe University (Scholarships may be available).

Assessment: Theoretical assessment by La Trobe University.  Practical Assessment: Including a Learning Contract and competency assessments by Mercy Hospital for Women

Applications: The course will be advertised on the following websites; and


Further information about this program may be obtained by contacting;

Carolyn Morrissey
Neonatal Services Educator

Mercy Hospital for Women
Ph: (03) 8458 4686 or (03) 8458 4444 & request pager: 4686


Post Graduate Special Care Nursing Course Contact

Jacqui McGregor - Lecturer/Course Coordinator Neonatal
Telephone Direct: 9479 5914


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