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Nurse Preceptor Role in New Graduate Nurses' Transition to Practice

Powers, Kelly, PhD, RN, CNE; Herron, Elizabeth K., PhD, RN, CNE, CHSE; Pagel, Julie, MSN, RN, CCRN, SCRN, CNE-cl

Dimensions of Critical Care Nursing: May/June 2019 - Volume 38 - Issue 3 - p 131–136
doi: 10.1097/DCC.0000000000000354
Educational DIMENSION

The transition to practice period is a challenging and demanding time for new graduate nurses. Leaving the structured environment of nursing school and entering professional practice can cause reality and transition shock for the new nurse resulting in unsafe patient care, as well as intention to leave their position or the profession. Successful transition to practice depends on the new nurse building confidence and gaining essential clinical reasoning abilities while orienting to their role. In critical care settings, patient care is more complex and fast-paced, which adds another dimension of overall stress to the new graduate. Structured orientation programs with trained preceptors have been found to be the most successful means of preparing new graduate nurses for clinical practice. Ensuring preceptors are provided with education related to the development of clinical reasoning is essential to successfully assist new nurses in their transition to practice. Safe and effective patient care, especially in the critical care unit, is dependent upon having nurses who are well prepared for their role through being provided guidance and support from trained preceptors.

Kelly Powers, PhD, RN, CNE, is an assistant professor at the School of Nursing of The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, North Carolina.

Elizabeth K. Herron, PhD, RN, CNE, CHSE, is an assistant professor at the School of Nursing of James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia.

Julie Pagel, MSN, RN, CCRN, SCRN, CNE-cl, is a service line educator at Carolinas HealthCare System/Atrium Health, Carolinas Medical Center, Charlotte, North Carolina.

The authors have disclosed that they have no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Kelly Powers, PhD, RN, CNE, School of Nursing, The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 9201 University City Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28223 (

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