The transitional journey through the graduate year: a focus group study

Jennifer Margaret Newton, Lisa Gaye McKenna

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    142 Citations (Scopus)


    BACKGROUND: Becoming a new graduate nurse is both a complex and stressful transition. Graduates must socialise into the context of nursing practice, become accountable for patient care and ward activities, interact with other health professionals and develop their own clinical expertise. In Australia, many hospitals provide Graduate Year Programmes to assist new graduates to assimilate into their new roles and environments. AIMS: This paper describes a study that explored how graduate nurses develop their knowledge and skills during their graduate programmes, as well as identifies factors assisting or hindering knowledge and skill acquisition. METHODS: Employing a qualitative approach, this study used a series of focus groups and anecdotes to collect data from 25 participants recruited from four different hospitals in Victoria, Australia. Focus groups were conducted between 4 and 6 months, 11 and 12 months into, and 4-6 following completion of the graduate programme. Interview transcripts were analysed allowing feedback to be provided to participants. RESULTS: Six themes emerged from the focus groups analysis that described graduates knowledge and skill acquisition and reflected their development at the different stages. These were: gliding through during undergraduate studies, surviving , beginning to understand , and sheltering under the umbrella in the first interview, knowing how to , and we ve come a long way by the end of their programme. CONCLUSIONS: The year following graduation is one of immense personal and professional development. Despite nurse education being in tertiary settings for many years, preparation of undergraduate students still appears unable to reduce reality shock and ease transition for graduates into their working lives.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1231 - 1237
    Number of pages7
    JournalInternational Journal of Nursing Studies
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - 2007

    Cite this