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Second-Degree Prelicensure Master's Graduates and Their Transition to Practice

Moore, Linda Weaver PhD, RN, CNS, CNL; Kelly, Cynthia W. PhD, RN, CCP, CNL; Schmidt, Susan PhD, RN, CNS, COHN-S, CNL; Miller, Margaret EdD, RN, CNS; Reynolds, Marie MSN, RN, CNL

Journal of Nursing Administration: May 2010 - Volume 40 - Issue 5 - p 219-225
doi: 10.1097/NNA.0b013e3181da4062

Objective: The purpose of this study was to gain an understanding of the transition-to-practice experience of second-degree prelicensure master's graduates.

Background: Second-degree graduates are increasingly joining the nursing workforce. Scant empirical literature exists regarding this group.

Methods: Using a qualitative design, second-degree prelicensure master's graduates were interviewed 3 times through a 10-month period regarding their transition to practice.

Results: Participants chose nursing positions based on their perceived ability to grow. Two strengths of the participants included their ability to think critically and to establish relationships. Participants expressed typical novice nurse concerns. Residency and intern programs enhanced their transition to practice. Participants perceived their interactions with the health team as positive, and graduates urged administrators to use their knowledge gained from previous degrees.

Conclusions: Findings enhance understanding of how second-degree prelicensure master's graduates transition to practice. Understanding their transition is imperative if these graduates are to be recruited and used at their fullest potential. Such insights can also help nurse administrators better support these new hires during the transition process.

Authors' Affiliations: Associate Professor (Dr Moore), Assistant Professor (Dr Kelly), Professor (Dr Schmidt), Faculty (Ms Reynolds), School of Nursing, Xavier University, Cincinnati; Professor Emeritus (Dr Miller), College of Nursing, University of Cincinnati, Ohio.

Corresponding author: Dr Moore, Xavier University, School of Nursing, 3800 Victory Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45207-7351 (

Funding: This project was supported in part by funds from the Division of Nursing, Bureau of Health Professions, Health Resources and Services Administration, Department of Health and Human Services, under grant D65HP05249, Nurse Education Practice and Retention: Career Ladder ($1,109, 911). The content and conclusions are those of the authors and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by the funding agencies. This project was also supported by the Helene Fuld Foundation Trust through Duke University School of Nursing.

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.