Strategies for Easing the Transformation of Graduate Nurses

Topics: Nursing, Nurse, Nurse education Pages: 6 (4220 words) Published: November 1, 2014
J O U R N A L F O R N U R S E S I N S T A F F D E V E L O P M E N T  Volume 24, Number 3, 105–110  Copyright A 2008 Wolters Kluwer Health l Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Newly graduated nurses’ role conception
and role discrepancy changes that occurred
.. Strategies for Easing the during a 6-week newly graduated nurse ..
hospital orientation program were explored.
Newly graduated nurses’ perceptions of
.. Role Transformation of
ideal and actual nursing behaviors within
three nursing role conceptions (professional,
.. Graduate Nurses
service, and bureaucratic) were identified.
The difference between ideal and actual role
.. Merriam E. Young, MS, RN
conception scores was calculated (role
.. Diane L. Stuenkel, EdD, RN
discrepancy). Findings suggested that a
comprehensive, structured hospital
.. Karen Bawel-Brinkley, PhD, RN
orientation program for newly graduated
nurses eased the transition from nursing
student to practicing nurse by decreasing
role discrepancy.


ewly graduated nurses are confronted with a variety of challenges when entering today’s acute care practice settings. The increasing acuity of patients and
advances in healthcare technology can make the transition from graduate nurse to registered nurse extremely stressful. These factors, combined with attempts by
new graduates to adapt to a hospital’s policies and
procedures, can make for a difficult transition. The failure to adjust to this role is a major factor affecting staff nurse retention (Coeling, 1990).
The transition into professional practice is characterized by the acquisition of the skills, knowledge, and behaviors needed to successfully function as a
professional nurse. This process, known as professional socialization, involves the new nurse’s internalization of the values, attitudes, and goals that comprise his
or her occupational identity (Goldenberg & Iwasiw,
1993). For nurses, this process occurs primarily during

Merriam E. Young, MS, RN, is Assistant Nurse Manager, Intermediate Intensive Care Unit, Stanford Hospital, Palo Alto, California.

Diane L. Stuenkel, EdD, RN, is Professor, San Jose State University, San Jose, California.
Karen Bawel-Brinkley, PhD, RN, is Associate Professor, San Jose State University, San Jose, California.
The authors have disclosed that they have no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this educational activity.

their formal education program and continues during
their orientation to the hospital setting (Marcum &
West, 2004).
The transformations in role and status that occur
during a nurse’s education and career are instrumental in
forming his or her role conception (Corwin, 1961). Role
conceptions are the privileges and obligations that a person perceives to be associated with his or her position. These conceptions generate attitudes and guide behavior
for situations encountered in the profession, and as
they become integrated into the nurse’s personality, they
direct personal goals and motives (Corwin & Taves, 1962).
The development of role conceptions and the transition from student to professional nurse can be difficult. The difference between the new nurses’ ideal role performance and the reality of practice they are exposed to is known as role discrepancy or role deprivation

(Corwin, 1961). When newly graduated nurses are not
supported in adjusting to the role of a working nurse,
they may suppress their professional values or leave
practice altogether to resolve role discrepancy (Kramer,
1974). New nurse hires have a higher turnover rate, and
poor training and lack of support have been identified
as reasons new nurses leave their jobs during the first
year (Patrick, 2000). It is for these reasons that nurse
educators must...

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Merriam E. Young, 2297
Peachtree Lane, San Jose, CA 95128 (e-mail:
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