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Graduate nurses' capability upon entering the workforce: An integrative review

Objectives: To clarify capability for work readiness in newly graduated registered nurses as viewed from the perspective of clinicians in practice, educators in tertiary institutions, and graduates.

Design: Integrative review.

Data sources: Databases searched for peer-reviewed studies included PubMed, MEDLINE, ERIC, Campbell collaboration, Google Scholar, and Cochrane databases.

Review methods: Pragmatism informed this integrative review. The five-stage method described by Whittemore and Knafl was used to enable rigorous examination of the expected capability of graduate nurses. A comprehensive database search was conducted using PRISMA guidelines. Eighteen articles were appraised and analysed for this review. The capability concept was used as a framework for analysis.

Results: Eighteen articles met the inclusion criteria. Findings revealed that although there is no definition for graduate nurses' work readiness, there is a common theme. Graduate nurses are expected to have broad theoretical knowledge (knowing) along with practical knowledge (doing). They are also expected to demonstrate integrity, honesty, respect, compassion, and a moral compass. A list of personal attributes and organisational acumen was also reflective of graduate readiness upon entering the workforce and identified as necessary capabilities for graduates.

Conclusions: A picture of the perfect employee is illustrated in the definition of work readiness by the participants of the original studies. Yet there is a lack of stakeholder consensus on the capabilities expected from a graduate nurse.


Publication title

Nurse Education Today



Article number









School of Nursing


Churchill Livingstone

Place of publication

Journal Production Dept, Robert Stevenson House, 1-3 Baxters Place, Leith Walk, Edinburgh, Scotland, Midlothian, Eh1 3Af

Rights statement

© 2022 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Higher education; Nursing

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