Journal of Clinical Nursing
School of Nursing and Midwifery
Western Australian Nurses Memorial Charitable Trust
Aims and objectives:
To determine whether the current rural graduate programmes in Western Australia adequately support new graduate nurses transitioning into practice.
Graduate nurse's transition to employment is a time of significant change and challenge, often resulting in periods of transition shock. These challenges are magnified in rural areas where graduates have to relocate to commence their career with limited rural nursing experience. Graduate programmes were developed to smooth the transition for university trained bachelor's degree registered nurses into the workforce. Supportive graduate nursing programmes are essential for enabling transition to practice and reduce attrition rates.
Longitudinal convergent mixed method parallel design was informed by Duchscher's transition stage model.
Thematic analysis was applied to all interviews. COREQ checklist was completed. Descriptive statistics and content analysis were used to analyse the survey responses. Results: New graduates cycled through both transition shock and honeymoon periods on commencement of employment, reporting high levels of satisfaction in simultaneity with signs of transition shock. Satisfaction dropped within 7 months indicating a transition crisis before an adjustment period occurred at the end of their graduate year. Limited resources were highlighted as obstacles to providing adequate support to rural graduate nurses.
The honeymoon stage of transition co-existed with transition shock at the commencement of graduate programmes, which may obscure the need for continuing adequate support. Inadequate and/or a lack of preceptorship was evident throughout the Western Australian rural graduate programmes. Graduate programmes need to be structured but flexible to allow for individual differences in graduates’ and clinical contexts.
Relevance to clinical practice:
Structured but flexible graduate programmes allow for individual differences in graduates and clinical situations. New graduate nurses would benefit from a break midway through their graduate year to assist and overcome the transition crisis stage. Education of nurses undertaking the preceptor role is required to deliver adequate support to graduate nurses and decrease transition shock.
This is an author's accepted manuscript of: Graf, A. C., Nattabi, B., Jacob, E., & Twigg, D. (2021). Experiences of Western Australian rural nursing graduates: A mixed method analysis. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 30(23-24), 3466-3480.