Authors: HUNG Shuk Yu Maria, LAM Kam Ki Stanley, WONG Lai Mei

Abstract: Nurses form the largest group of healthcare professionals in most healthcare systems, but 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 explored the transition experience to identify the factors affecting the adaptation processes of new graduate nurses. Semi-structured, face-to-face individual interviews were conducted with registered nurses who had completed university nursing training and possessed about a year of clinical experience in Hong Kong. The data reached saturation once 14 new graduate nurses had been interviewed. During the transition period, the participants experienced complicated perceptions with fluctuating feelings ranging from frustration to a sense of accomplishment. Four interrelated human and work factors were shown 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 assistance 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 suggested to explore the perceptions of new graduate nurses.

Keywords: adaptation; new graduate nurse; qualitative; transition experience


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