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.
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.
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).
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.