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Feeling Safe and Taking on Responsibilities: Newly Graduated Nurses' Perceptions and Evaluations of Their Transition Into a Forensic Mental Health Inpatient Setting

Sørensen, Tanja, MScN, RN1; Tingleff, Ellen B., MScN, RN1–5; Gildberg, Frederik A., PhD, MScN, RN1,2

doi: 10.1097/JFN.0000000000000190
Original Articles

Forensic mental health care is faced with serious problems in the recruitment and retention of newly graduated nurses (NGNs). Research into NGNs' experiences of their transition to and evaluations of transition programs in forensic care is sparse, and more studies are called for. This study aimed to investigate the characteristics of NGNs' experiences and perceptions of their transition into a forensic setting and their evaluations of the introduction period. Three focus group interviews were carried out, involving 13 NGNs, lasting 79.68 minutes on average. They were analyzed using thematic analysis. Results show two main themes: “feeling safe” and “taking on responsibilities.” If NGNs felt overburdened with clinical responsibilities during their transition, their feeling of safety reduced. The converse also applied; theThe safer they felt, the greater clinical responsibility they felt capable of handling. The more difficult the NGNs perceived the informal transition, the more unsafe they felt, and the more negatively they perceived the responsibilities placed upon them. Tailored programs designed to support both the informal and formal transitions are recommended, along with preceptorship, theoretical training, and role-based support, such as a shift manager, along with early introduction to conflict management and security measures.

Author Affiliations: 1Research & Development Unit, Department of Psychiatry;

2Center for Psychiatric Nursing and Health Research, Faculty of Health Sciences, Department of Regional Health Research, University of Southern Denmark;

3Odense Patient Data Explorative Network, Odense University Hospital;

4Department of Clinical Research, University of Southern Denmark; and

5Department of Nursing, Vejle and Health Sciences Research Center, University College Lillebaelt.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Correspondence: Frederik A. Gildberg, PhD, MScN, RN, Research & Development Unit, Department of Psychiatry, Oestre Hougvej 70, 5500 Middelfart, Denmark. E-mail:

Received November 22, 2017; accepted for publication February 16, 2018.

© 2018 by the International Association of Forensic Nurses. All rights reserved.
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