How to Write a Cover Letter for a Nursing Graduate Program

Updated 22 April 2023

Upon completion of their studies, nurses may seek to transition into the workplace through a nursing graduate program. To apply for a place in a nursing graduate program, a written application that addresses the specific program criteria is typically a requirement. Knowing how to write an effective cover letter for a nursing graduate program can help you submit a convincing application. In this article, we define a nursing graduate program, explain how to write a cover letter for a graduate nurse position and share a cover letter template and example to help you write yours.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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What is a nursing graduate program?

A nursing graduate program is an employment opportunity for newly qualified nurses that allows them to develop their workplace confidence in a nurturing setting while earning a salary. Many hospitals may offer a variety of nursing graduate programs, including positions for enrolled and registered nurses and midwives. These programs typically have a 12-month duration, during which a graduate nurse works on rotation in various areas of the hospital. For nurses wishing to specialise in a field of nursing, this can allow them to develop the experience required to choose an area of specialisation confidently.

Nursing graduate programs often operate on a biannual intake basis. Successful candidates who meet the criteria usually work full-time or part-time in the hospital or other health facility they applied to for at least the duration of their nursing graduate program position. Upon completion of their program, a graduate nurse usually has the option to apply for an ongoing position within the providing facility.

Related: What Is a Graduate Program? (With Definitions and FAQs)

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How to write a cover letter for a nursing graduate program

How you approach your cover letter for a nursing graduate program can depend on the nursing role you're applying for within the program and the hiring hospital or health facility. Below, you can find a general guide to writing an effective cover letter for a graduate nursing job:

1. Review the program description

Reviewing the program description for the nursing graduate program you're applying for can help you write a cover letter that's relevant and convinces hiring managers of your suitability for the position within the program. When reviewing the program description, consider creating a list of information to include or refer to in your cover letter to showcase that you meet the criteria. For example, if you're applying for the role of a registered nurse in a graduate program, the criteria are likely to relate to your education and eligibility to apply for your Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia registration.

Related: Graduate Job vs Internship vs Vacation Program

2. Add a professional cover letter heading

Adding an appropriate heading to your cover letter can enhance its professionalism. A professional heading typically includes your contact details, the date you write your cover letter and the name of the hiring workplace. Your contact details may include your first and last name, your phone number, your professional email address and the city and state or territory where you live. You may also choose to include the name of your nursing degree or certification next to your name.

Related: How to Write a Letter Heading (With Example Letters)

3. Greet the hiring manager

Next, you can greet the hiring manager. Doing this using a professional salutation can help you create a positive impression of yourself as a candidate. For example, if you know the hiring manager's name, you might greet the hiring manager with Dear [hiring manager's name]. If you're unsure of their name, you might use Dear hiring manager as the salutation on your cover letter.

Related: Professional Email Salutations: Tips and Examples

4. Introduce yourself and share your reason for applying

In the first paragraph of your cover letter, you can introduce yourself as a candidate and explain why you're applying for a place in the graduate program. Doing this can help highlight your genuine interest in the program and may encourage the hiring manager to read the rest of your letter. For example:

  • I'm Annabelle, a motivated, inspired and passionate enrolled nurse who recently graduated from West Board University. It's with great excitement that I'm applying for a role within Greyson's Hospital graduate nursing program where I can learn from an experienced and knowledgeable medical team.

  • I'm so excited to have discovered the graduate nurse program at Beechworth Hospital. I've recently graduated as a registered nurse and would love the opportunity to develop my knowledge and experience at a hospital that's a foundational part of our community.

Related: How to Introduce Yourself Professionally

5. Demonstrate how you meet the selection criteria

As a graduate nurse, you're likely to not have extensive work experience. Because of this, the next paragraph of your cover letter can highlight the education, skills and personal attributes you have that make you a great candidate for the program. For example, if you're applying for a registered nurse position, you may include information about the Bachelor of Nursing you completed. You might also discuss your communication skills and empathy and how you believe they can assist you with various tasks associated with the role.


  • What Are Nursing Selection Criteria? (With Examples)

  • How to Show You Meet Key Selection Criteria When Applying for a Job

6. Include a conclusive final paragraph

Finishing your cover letter with a conclusive paragraph and a complimentary close can reaffirm the competitiveness of your candidacy and your professionalism. In this section, consider thanking the hiring manager for reading your cover letter and reiterating your interest in the program. You can also add a call to action here, such as Please contact me for further information.

Related: How to End a Cover Letter (With Tips and Templates)

7. Proofread your cover letter

When you complete writing your cover letter, reviewing it can ensure you notice and correct any errors it contains before submission. Allowing a few hours between completing your cover letter and reviewing it may enhance your ability to notice any grammatical errors, spelling mistakes or areas requiring general improvement. Submitting an error-free cover letter shows you can reach a suitable level of professionalism and attention to detail. Both qualities are relevant to a nursing graduate program.

Related: Cover Letter Checklist: What to Review Before You Submit

Nursing graduate cover letter template

Exploring cover letter templates can help you understand beneficial ways of structuring your letter's content. Below, you can explore a cover letter template for a nursing graduate program application:

[First name] [Last name], [Degree or certification if applicable]
[Phone number] | [Email address] | [City], [State or Territory]


[Organisation name]

Dear [Hiring manager's first name] [Hiring manager's last name],

[Express excitement for the position, including the role title and the organisation name]. [Introduce yourself by explaining why you're applying for the job and how the job aligns with your career goals and what specifically draws you to the organisation].

[Explain your relevant experience and qualifications without repeating what's in your resume]. [Highlight one to two relevant achievements with facts and data when possible]. [Explain why you'd be a good fit for the company]. [Optional – address employment gap or career transition].

[Express gratitude]. [Summarise qualification]. [Restate interest in the role]. [Call to action + availability and preferred contact method]

[Complimentary close],


Nursing graduate cover letter example

Reviewing examples of cover letters for nursing graduate programs can guide you on the type of information to include in yours. Here, you can find a cover letter example for a nursing graduate program application:

Claire McDonald
(02) 5550 9786 | | Sydney, NSW


Brighton Cliffs Hospital

Dear Mark Christi,

I've recently graduated as a registered nurse and was delighted to learn about the nursing graduate program Brighton Cliffs Hospital offers. It's with great excitement that I apply for the role of Registered Nurse within the program. I believe the program offers exactly what I require to successfully transition from my nursing studies to the medical workplace and get a good start on my profession as a registered nurse.

I completed a Bachelor of Science (Nursing) in 2022. While studying for this degree, I was able to gain many invaluable clinical experiences and hone my technical nursing skills. As I love working with children, pediatrics is an area of my clinical experience I found particularly interesting and rewarding. I'm a compassionate individual who possesses excellent communication skills and teamwork abilities. I believe these attributes can help me work effectively with the medical team at Brighton Cliffs Hospital to deliver exceptional patient care.

Thank you for taking the time to consider my application. I'm readily available to discuss the role further with you. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Yours faithfully,

Claire McDonald

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