Registered nurses' perceptions of new nursing graduates' clinical competence: A systematic integrative review

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Over the past decade, many questions have been raised about graduates' clinical competence and fitness for practice upon completion of their undergraduate education. Despite the significance of this issue, the perspectives of registered nurses have rarely been examined. This systematic review explores the perceptions of experienced registered nurses regarding the clinical competence of new nursing graduates. Original research studies published between 2004-2014 were identified using electronic databases, reference lists, and by searching "grey literature." Papers were critically reviewed and relevant data extracted and synthesized using an approach based on Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis. From 153 studies initially identified, 15 original research papers were included. Four main research themes were identified: clinical/technical skills, critical thinking, interaction/communication, and overall readiness for practice. Areas of concern in relation to the clinical competence of new nursing graduates specifically related to two themes: critical thinking and clinical/technical skills. Further research is required on strategies identified within the literature with the ultimate aim of ensuring new nursing graduates are safe and competent practitioners.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-153
Number of pages11
JournalNursing and Health Sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016


  • Competence
  • Experienced nurse
  • New nursing graduates
  • Systematic review
  • Work-readiness

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