The transition from undergraduate nursing student to employment as a registered nurse is fraught with difficulties for a neophyte. This qualitative study used interviews and focus groups with graduate nurses from the Flinders University of South Australia in their first year of practice to ascertain their experiences as new graduates. The results reveal an enculturation of graduates not conducive to ongoing learning, consolidation of skills and application to practice. A rushed environment that was unpredictable, together with a lack of support, were recurrent themes from the graduates' perspective. Graduate nurse programs are run by institutions focused on outcomes and expenditure. There is little or no collaboration with the tertiary sector in providing appropriate programs according to graduates' needs. The graduates, as beginning practitioners, focused on not having the time to nurse holistically, an unrealistic workload, and the need for backup and continuous support on an individual basis. The wards, although possibly efficient and effective in providing health care, provided a culture where the graduates felt inadequate, rushed, overworked and unsupported, which is contrary to the aims and objectives of the graduate nurse programs. The nursing profession as a whole needs to develop a culture that is nurturing, enabling, supportive and protective of our young.