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The Lived Experience of First-Year Nurses at Work

Brown, Jana, BSN, RN; Hochstetler, Glendora A., BSN, RN; Rode, Sarah A., BSN, RN; Abraham, Samuel P., DHA, MS, RN; Gillum, Deborah R., PhD, MSN, RN, CNE

doi: 10.1097/HCM.0000000000000228

The aim of this qualitative phenomenological research study was to gain insight on the lived experiences of newly licensed nurses. First-year nurses describe poor experiences and struggle in their first year of practice, leading to high turnover and burnout. In-depth interviews were conducted with 12 newly licensed registered nurses. Major themes identified were (1) the impact of nursing school, (2) hospital orientation of a new nurse, (3) environment that promotes teamwork, (4) taking time for self-care, (5) confidence, and (6) expectations versus reality in doctor interactions. In conclusion, understanding the lived experiences of a new nurse gives insight to current nursing students, including expectations and tips for succeeding in the first year of practice. Current orientation programs in northern Indiana were found to adequately prepare new graduates for professional practice.

Author Affiliations: Surgical Trauma ICU, Parkview Regional Medical Center, Fort Wayne (Ms Brown); Family Birthplace, St Joseph’s Regional Medical Center, Mishawaka (Ms Hochstetler); St Vincent Hospital, Indianapolis (Ms Rode); and Bethel College (Dr Abraham) and Bethel College School of Nursing (Dr Gillum), Mishawaka, Indiana.

The authors have no funding or conflicts of interest to disclose.

Correspondence: Samuel P. Abraham, DHA, MS, RN, Bethel College, 1001 Bethel Cir, Mishawaka IN 46545 (

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