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Original Research: Hearing the Voices of Newly Licensed RNs: The Transition to Practice

Spiva, LeeAnna PhD, RN; Hart, Patricia L. PhD, RN; Pruner, Lisa MSN, RN; Johnson, Donna BSN, RN; Martin, Kenzie MSN, RN; Brakovich, Betsy DNP, MPA, RN; McVay, Frank BSN, RN; Mendoza, Sency G. BSN, RN

AJN, American Journal of Nursing: November 2013 - Volume 113 - Issue 11 - p 24–32
doi: 10.1097/01.NAJ.0000437108.76232.20
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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.

This qualitative study describes the orientation experience of new nurses in order to explore how institutions can best transition new nurses from an academic to a clinical setting.

LeeAnna Spiva is director of nursing research, WellStar Health System, Center for Nursing Excellence, Atlanta, where Frank McVay is an RN. Patricia L. Hart is assistant professor, Kennesaw State University, WellStar School of Nursing, Kennesaw, GA. Lisa Pruner is clinical practice nurse, Kennestone Nursing, Marietta, GA, where Donna Johnson is assistant nurse manager, professional practice. Kenzie Martin is a staff nurse at Windy Hill Hospital, Marietta, GA, where Betsy Brakovich is vice president and chief nursing officer and Sency G. Mendoza is clinical educator. Contact author: LeeAnna Spiva, leeanna.eaton@wellstar.org. The authors have disclosed no potential conflicts of interest, financial or otherwise.

© 2013 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. All rights reserved.