A phenomenological exploration of graduate nurse transition to professional practice within a transition to practice program

Matthew D. Ankers, Christopher A. Barton, Yvonne K. Parry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: To explore the experiences of graduate nurses enrolled in a transition program, to gain insight into what graduates experienced as beneficial, as barriers and to seek meaning to the phenomena of transition as experienced within a transition program. Background: A graduate nurse's transition to professional practice is a time of high emotion where graduates leave the familiar grounds of university for the unknown of professional practice. Numerous studies, spanning many decades, have investigated issues regarding transition leading to the development of transition programs to aid the recognised burden. Method: The researchers used principles of hermeneutic phenomenology to explore the language used in semi-structured interviews of seven graduate nurses undertaking a Transition to Professional Practice Program in an Australian metropolitan hospital to investigate the lived experiences of transition within a transition program. Results: Thematic analysis of transcribed interviews revealed that transition from student to professional is a time of many new demands that causes shock and can lead to negative emotions. However, many constructive responses and positive emotions were also present. These responses included positive feelings in the care of patients and of support received by graduates from dedicated educators linked to the transition program and by senior nurses on the ward. Conclusion: Transition to practice is an important stage in the career of a Registered Nurse and the transition issues related by graduate nurses in this study corresponded with issues raised in similar transition literature suggesting that continued work is required. However, the benefits of dedicated staff in aiding transition as expressed by the participants of this study is a positive affirmation of the advantages of graduates being enrolled in a transition program.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)319-325
Number of pages7
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018


  • Graduate nurse
  • Hermeneutic phenomenology
  • Nurse transition
  • Shock
  • Transition to practice

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