A pathway to a healthier you

Students and early career nurses and midwives

For many early career nurses and midwives, the transition from graduation to practice is a positive experience. 

But some are confronted by the shift work, high levels of stress, unacceptable workloads, lack of support and guidance, responsibility and poor cultural attitudes or just the day to day work in their first few years of practice. 

Students are also at risk. Study demands and the stresses of the healthcare environment can bring on mental health challenges. Among nursing and midwifery students, many experience depression, anxiety and stress, as well as stigma to seeking help and support. 

Caring for yourself for success at work

It’s important to take care of yourself so that you can care for others, says Northern Territory remote area early career nurse, Sarah.  

“I think it’s important in my job to look after myself – if I cannot look after myself I cannot look after other people. We’re in such a unique job. I want to be the best nurse I can be.” 

Holly has learnt some tricks of the trade in combating isolation and some of the challenges of remote area nursing. She speaks to her mum (who is a nurse) and friends back home regularly and has her best friend, a Red Heeler. She’s also ready to use support services, including our service and the CRANAplus Bush Support Line, if she needs them. 

Study stress and how we cope

Some nursing and midwifery students report study stress can lead to unhealthy behaviours such eating more snack foods or skipping meals, less exercise, consuming more alcohol and less social interaction. Time spent sitting with depression and stress has been shown to exacerbate lower psychological wellbeing (ref). 

Seek support, choose health

A good way to offset stress is to stay healthy. Like other professions, students of nursing and midwifery in their first few years of practice need the right support and good physical and mental health if they’re to stay and enjoy the work.  

New to nursing or midwifery?

Study stress, feel you're not ready or daunted by your new on-the-job responsibilities? We're here for you.

Early career nurse or midwife

A registered nurse/midwife who has practiced for less than 5 years.   Student nurses and midwives: in their first, second or third year of an undergraduate nursing or midwifery degree or in a TAFE course to become an enrolled nurse.

In a 2020 study of Australian nursing students found:

  • 48.5% reported moderate to severe symptoms of depression
  • 37% reported anxiety 
  • 40% stress
If I was in charge of the degree, I wouldn’t be leaving the topics on nursing, burnout and compassion fatigue until the third year. That is something that I think people should learn about right off the bat.
You can’t pour from an empty glass, and if your glass is starting empty, you’re in for a rough time...
Female aged 22 years


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