Graduate Certificate in Neonatal Special Care


This one-year program is suitable for registered nurses and midwives, preferably with up to two years of nursing or midwifery experience, who want 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. Admission into the program will be in conjunction with a paid clinical position in the Mercy Hospital for Women Special Care Nursery.

Entry requirements:

  • registered nurse or registered midwife.
  • minimum 12 months’ recent acute nursing or midwifery experience.
  • registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (AHPRA) with current eligibility to practice.
  • Successful application with La Trobe University.
  • Successful applicant for a fixed-term position at the Mercy Hospital for Women Special Care Nursery.

Duration of program: One year.

Shift expectations: You will be rostered on rotation with a minimum 32 hours per week including night duty.

Theoretical input: Theoretical learning is provided by La Trobe University. Clinical experience and practical support is provided by Mercy Hospital for Women.

Clinical Support includes:

  • hospital orientation
  • supernumerary orientation into the Special Care Nursery
  • Special Care Nursery tutorials at Mercy Hospital for Women
  • clinical support provided by educator and clinical support nurses.

Associated costs:
This is a full-fee program as deemed by La Trobe University. Scholarships may be available.

Assessment: Theoretical assessment is undertaken by La Trobe University. Practical assessment includes a learning contract and competency assessments run by Mercy Hospital for Women.

Department Information

Neonatal Services at Mercy Hospital for Women has up to 62 beds, including neonatal intensive care and special care nursery cots. It is one of the largest nurseries in Australia.

We care for more than 1,300 premature and unwell babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Special Care Nursery each year. We provide neonatal care for infants admitted to the nursery within the first 28 days of life with gestation as low as 23 weeks. These babies may be premature, or unwell full-term infants, requiring respiratory support, intravenous therapy, specialised feeding or incubator care. Some require intensive care such as ventilation, high frequency oscillating ventilation and nitric oxide as well as minor surgery.

The neonatal team provides a family-centred care approach to the management of these vulnerable young patients. Parents are encouraged to partner with staff to provide the best care for their baby. Developmental care is also an important factor in how we look after our our babies. We assess an infant’s individual needs and modify the nursery environment to ensure the best neurological outcomes.

The unit is involved in significant research and teaching programs, including international studies and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Special Care Nursery training for nursing staff, midwives, students and paediatricians.

How to apply

For admission to the Graduate Certificate Studies in Neonatal Special Care Nursing, applicants must first apply directly to La Trobe University or the University of Melbourne. Please identify Mercy Hospital for Women as your preferred hospital for clinical experience.

Affiliated education institution

Latrobe University


Neonatal Services Educator

Mercy Health Careers

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    Successful applicants are required to provide a current Police Record Check and Working with Children Check prior to commencement.

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Last reviewed October 2, 2017.