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Davis, Sarah K.
Jambunathan, Jaya
MS, Nursing - Nurse Educator
May 2009
Nursing job satisfaction; Nurses job stress; Nursing psychological aspects; Nursing practice
Limited studies exist regarding new graduate nurses' perceptions of nursing during their role transition. By understanding how a 1-year baccalaureate-prepared nurse perceives being a nurse, those involved in the transition process can better understand how to help prepare the nurse for his/her first year out of school. The research question was: How do baccalaureate-prepared nurses perceive being a nurse 1 year post-graduation? The theoretical frameworks chosen to guide this study were Benner's (1984) Novice to Expert Model, and Meleis, Sawyer, Im, Messias, & Schumacher's (2000) Transition Theory. A qualitative design was used to discover the new nurses' perceptions of the experience of transition. A convenience sample of 20, 1-year baccalaureate nurses between the ages of 23 and 31, who had graduated from a Midwestern university and had been working in a healthcare setting for at least 1 year post-graduation, comprised the sample. Data were gathered through in-depth, unstructured face-to-face interviews, and analyzed using Colaizzi's approach (Polit & Beck, 2008; Speziale & Carpenter, 2007). Results indicated that the sample was White, and comprised 2 males and 18 females. The mean age of the sample was 25 years. All participants had graduated between 12 and 18 months at the time of the study. At 3 months into transition, 80% reported being at the advanced beginner stage; at the competent stage at 6 months; and at the proficient stage at 1 year. The overarching theme was: The transitional journey: being a nurse. Data analysis revealed three main themes: (a) starting transition, (b) during transition, and (c) moving beyond transition. Several subthemes emerged from the main themes. The conceptual frameworks guided the exploration of the stages of proficiency and the transitional journey of new nurses. These nurses enter their role with perceptions of being thrown in, overworked, and lacking competence. They soon realize the need to find balance and expand knowledge. When moving beyond transition, they gain confidence, and a feeling of acceptance into the profession. By understanding the perceptions of 1-year baccalaureate-prepared nurses, educators and hospital administrators can better understand how to prepare new graduates for the work setting. Findings may also have implications for future nursing students and/or newly graduated nurses.
A Thesis Submitted In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science in Nursing - Nurse Educator
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