Background: The transition from nursing student to graduate remains problematic internationally with issues arising concerning graduates’ work readiness upon commencing employment. Aim: This exploratory study specifically investigated perceptions of graduate nurse program coordinators on the work readiness of nursing graduates, with the aims of identifying strengths, weaknesses and challenges that exist. Design: Qualitative descriptive design. Methods: Sixteen graduate nurse program coordinators were interviewed from various healthcare services in the state of Victoria, Australia. Interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim and thematic analysis was used to disclose reoccurring themes and sub-themes. Findings: This paper reports on one theme, preparation readiness, and three sub-themes associated with this theme; clinical skills deficits, communication issues and transitioning as an enrolled nurse to a registered nurse. Conclusions: There are several areas of weaknesses and challenges for nursing graduates in their preparation for practice. As a poorly understood area, evidence from this study will inform curriculum development and transition programs, not only in Australia, but also internationally.