The aim of this study was to understand the experiences of nurses making the role transition from clinical nurse specialists (CNSs) (hospital based) into transitional care nurse (TCN) roles (community based).
The shift from fee-for-service to value-based care has led to the development of transitional care programs. However, little is known about the perceptions of nurses transitioning from a hospital- to a community-based position. Their perceptions can inform training and future recommendations for the TCN role.
Five of 6 eligible TCNs from a community rural hospital in Vermont who transitioned from a CNS role to a TCN role participated in individual, face-to-face interviews using a semistructured interview guide. Data were audio recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed using the constant comparative method.
Seven major themes were identified: enhanced patient-centered care, collaboration among the other TCNs, transitioning from expert to novice, recommendations for navigating and negotiating systems, discomfort with the role transition, a level of altruism and autonomy, and recommendations for improving the TCN role. Minor themes supported the major themes.
Our findings provide implications to improve the transitions of CNSs into a TCN role. Transitional care nurse programs are essential in transitioning individuals from hospital to home. To achieve maximum benefit from TCN programs and ensure their sustainability, nursing leaders must address gaps in both community resources and TCN training.