Nursing leaders at MQ Health are aiming for a world first as part of their Grad@MUH 2020 Program recruitment plan.

The groundwork for this innovation was set in place following the launch of the MQ Health Nurse Education and Research Strategy 2019-2022 in June 2019.

Deb O’Neill, Executive Director of Nursing, MQ Health is driving its implementation as it forms a key component of the hospital wide vision of providing the highest quality nursing care to every patient.

‘Development of our education and research strategy provided the opportunity to align our vision for nursing with the organisational values and broader MQ Health Healthcare Services Plan. We have strengthened our focus on continuous improvement and increased the opportunities available for nurse-led research within an academic hospital’.

‘Our nursing vision includes that we will set the gold standard for exceptional patient care and develop outstanding nurse leaders that are recognised nationally and internationally for their expertise and evidence based practice’.

In line with this vision, nurse leaders threw their full support behind the implementation of an innovative recruitment plan targeting newly qualified registered and enrolled nurses. With the duel aim of attracting the highest calibre of nursing applicants and then creating a ‘point of difference’ at every stage of the application process, the Nurse Education and Research Team received over 400 applications for the Grad@MUH 2020 Program.

An updated website, powerful multimedia presentation, information booklet and a highly successful ‘Grad@MUH 2020 Open Evening’ were the product of amazing teamwork and innovation that resulted in unprecedented application numbers. Kath Sharples, Nurse Manager Education and Research led the next stage of the recruitment strategy by implementing a multi mini-interview protocol within the selection process.

While this methodology is commonly used as part of recruitment into undergraduate and postgraduate healthcare programs such as nursing, medicine, pharmacy and physiotherapy, the majority of healthcare organisations have yet to adopt this strategy for selection of newly qualified nurses.

For logistical reasons, traditional interviews involving 2-3 panel members remain the default position despite their known limitations in terms of bias and context specificity. In 2017, Western Sydney Local Health District adopted a modified Multiple Mini-Interview methodology for recruitment of newly qualified nurses and midwives (Sharples et al, 2017) and Sydney Local Health District have also followed suit as of August this year.

The fact that the Nurse Education and Research Team will be adopting a complete multiple mini-interview methodology for the selection of newly qualified nurses in a not-for-profit private teaching hospital is not only a first for Australia, but may also the first time this has been implemented worldwide .

‘MQ Health has many advantages over NSW Health, our ability to adopt a fully evidence based and innovative multiple mini-interview protocol rather than a watered-down version is just one example. Unlike NSW Health, we are not restricted to a small sample of traditional interview questions. Our clinical nurse educators have designed interview stations to ensure we can assess a range of non-cognitive attributes such as critical thinking, teamwork, ethical reasoning and integrity, interpersonal skills and communication.

‘Our recruitment strategy is based on research evidence over many years; we believe that multiple independent sampling methodology in conjunction with a variety of situational and scenario based questions blueprinted to MUH values and standardised rubrics is a far more reliable way of discerning desirable employment characteristics between applicants than a traditional interview approach’

As part of their commitment to nurse-led translational research, the Nurse Education and Research Team will also be conducting a world first research study investigating the reliability of the multiple mini interview protocol in the selection of newly qualified nurses. Deb O’Neill is keen to translate the knowledge gained into future recruitment strategies.
‘I am so proud of our whole nursing team; the Managers, NUM’s, CNC’s, CNE’s and Nurse Educators who have supported our Grad@MUH 2020 Program recruitment plan have shown their commitment to our nursing vision’.

‘By 2032, a worldwide shortage of experienced nurses will result in significant workforce challenges. The results of this research will provide us with valuable insights that we can use to future proof MQ Health from the loss of nursing knowledge and expertise over the next 10 years.

The steps we take now to ensure we are able to reliably select newly qualified registered and enrolled nurses will help us to sustain our nursing workforce pipeline through this period. Attracting, engaging and retaining the best nursing talent is critical to supporting the clinical programs and maintaining the highest care standards’.

Vision for Nursing

Clinical Care

We will set the gold standard for exceptional patient care. Our reputation will be ingrained in the quality and excellence of our everyday work.

Career Pathways

We will provide abundant opportunities for all nurses to progress in their career. We commit to supporting and encouraging all nurses to identify and aspire to a pathway of their choice.

Professional Development

We will drive innovative educational programs that support all nurses; from new graduates to advanced practitioners. We will have a national reputation for the high calibre of our professional development programs and ability to attract and engage exceptional nurses.


We will develop and support outstanding nurse leaders who advocate excellence in care and demonstrate integrity through relationships with each other.

Nurse Led Research

We will embed a culture of nursing research that empowers our staff to be national and international leaders in innovation and pioneers of change.

Sharples, K., Fitzsimons, J., Edwards, J., and Sloane, L. (2017) Multiple mini-interviews for selection of newly qualified registered nurses and midwives: Candidates evaluation results. Nurse Education Today 55 54-57.