The transition challenges faced by new graduate nurses in their first year of professional experience

Dr. HUNG Shuk Yu Maria, WONG Lai Mei, LAM Kam Ki Stanley


Though nurses form the largest group of healthcare professionals in most of the healthcare systems, the transition from an academic to a real-world setting is characterized by high stress and reality shock, which contributes to a high turnover rate during the first year of practice. This qualitative study aimed to illustrate the transition experience of new graduate nurses and to identify the factors affecting their adaptation processes. Registered nurses who had completed university nursing training program and possessed about a year of professional nursing experience in Hong Kong were recruited for semi-structured, face-to-face individual interviews. The data was saturated after 14 new graduate nurses had been interviewed. The participants experienced complicated perceptions with fluctuating feelings ranging from frustration to a sense of accomplishment during the transition period. Four interrelated human and work related factors were illuminated to influence their adaptation to transition: 1) professional accountability and competency, 2) personal adaptation attitude and ability, 3) interpersonal relationships with colleagues and 4) institutional/workplace support and orientation. The findings demonstrated a close link between perceptions and the interrelated factors affecting transition experiences and adaptation processes. Education and healthcare institutions should provide more training and support in the promotion of emotional well-being, the improvement of professional knowledge and skills, and in-service adaptation enhancement programs before and during the transition. Further comprehensive studies with longitudinal designs are recommended to explore the perceptions of new graduate nurses.


adaptation; new graduate nurse; qualitative; transition experience

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