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A case study of new nurses’ transition from university to work

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-21, 07:41 authored by Darren PullenDarren Pullen, Ahchay, D

Aim: To explore the experiences of new graduate nurses enrolled in a hospital-based transition to practice program, to gain insight into what new graduate nurses thought about their university training and preparedness for practice.

Background: Nursing transition programs are challenging but are fundamentally about ensuring new graduate nurses are provided the necessary opportunities to allow them to successfully transition into autonomous practice. Understanding the ‘lived’ experiences of new graduate nurses may improve transition programs by considering the difficulties new graduate nurses experience around the rigors and reality of practice.

Method: The researchers used a self-developed Graduate Nurse Workplace Preparation Survey to explore the perceptions of new graduate nurses undertaking a Transition to Professional Practice Program in an Australian metropolitan hospital to investigate the experiences of transition readiness in relation to new graduate nurses’ satisfaction with their undergraduate degree preparation.

Results: A total of 69 new graduate nurses were enrolled in the Transition to Practice Program and 23% (n = 16) completed the New Graduate Nurse Workplace Preparation Survey. Survey responses were analyzed using descriptive statistics and Leximancer was used for thematic analysis of participant comments. The study found that a successful transition from undergraduate nurse to new graduate nurse can be made if undergraduate nurses experience variation during their university clinical placements in terms of patient acuity, complexity, workload, and clinical setting. Successful transition from undergraduate nurse to new graduate nurse is enhanced by Transition to Practice Programs building upon the new graduate nurses’ previous undergraduate nursing clinical experiences.

Conclusion; Transition to practice and readiness for the role of newly Registered Nurse (new graduate nurse) is an important stage in the professional development of a Registered Nurse and the transition issues related to university preparation made by new graduate nurses in this study corresponded with issues raised in similar preparation and transition literature suggesting that continued work in undergraduate training and clinical placement is required. However, by understanding new graduate nurses’ university preparation satisfaction levels and issues faced during the transition to practice period both universities and clinical placement staff can work together to improve new graduate nurses’ success in Transition to Professional Practice Programs.


Publication title

Teaching and Learning in Nursing








Faculty of Education



Place of publication

United States

Rights statement

Copyright 2022 Organization for Associate Degree Nursing

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Higher education; Nursing

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