Objective: The future of nursing depends on newly licensed RNs (NLRNs), who often need help in transitioning from an academic to a clinical setting. This study sought to describe the NLRN's orientation experience and to identify ways of enhancing it.
Methods: Using qualitative methods, a convenience sample of NLRNs was recruited and 21 were interviewed; audio recordings of the interviews were transcribed and validated for accuracy. Interpretative analysis of the transcripts sought to identify major patterns and themes.
Results: Four patterns and 10 themes emerged from the data analysis: preceptor variability (with themes of satisfactory and unsatisfactory preceptorship), professional growth and confidence changing with time (with themes of learning through experience, learning to manage time, and learning to communicate), a sense of being nurtured (with themes of support through the program, the preceptor, and peers), and enhancing the transition (with themes of orientation enhancements and human resource enhancements).
Conclusions: These qualitative findings provide insight into the NLRN's transition from student to professional and suggest ways institutions might enhance orientation. Further study is warranted.