Faculty’s Role in Assisting New Graduate Nurses’ Adjustment to Practice
Lisa L. Sparacino, Ph.D., RN, CCRN, CNE

The gap between the role of the nursing student and that of the practicing registered nurse is well known. Kramer (1974) used the term “reality shock” to explain the anxiety, doubt, and confusion nurses experience as they advance from the role of nursing student to professional registered nurse (p. 9). Reality shock, also called role transition, leads as many as 30% of new nurses to leave the profession or change jobs within their first year of employment (Duchscher, 2009). While studies show how the health care industry addresses the problem of reality shock (Bowles & Candela, 2005; Duteau, 2012; Dyess& Sherman, 2009) and the successful preparation of students’ entry into nursing in terms of student achievement (Benner et al., 2010; Billings & Halstead, 2012), neither approach thoroughly explores the role of nursing faculty from the perspective of the student preparing for the professional role (Benner et al., 2010). Institutions of higher education have been called upon to better equip graduates with the tools necessary to compete in the workforce (Cornish, 2004). Nursingeducators recognize they havean ethical and professional obligation to prepare students to enter practice ready to master the skills needed to ensure safe, high-quality patient care (Benner et al., 2010). Nursing faculty recognize the need to provide an educational experience and positive learning environment for all students, resulting in educators continually introducing multiple teaching, learning, and assessment techniques to support students’learning successes (Billings & Halstead, 2012). Teaching technique evaluations determine whether a methodology improves cognitive and psychomotor learning (Benner, 2010; Billings & Halstead, 2012), but more information is needed to determine what effect multiple teaching methodologies have on promoting new nurses’ clinical competence and confidence. This research study examines the impact of nursing faculty on role transition from the perspective of newly graduated registered professional nurses. For purposes of this study, newly graduated nurses are defined as having less than 3 years of experience.Understanding which nursing faculty behaviors promote a smooth transition from the role of student to that of professional practicemay inform nursing faculty of the impact of their behavior on new graduate nurses and encourage more new nurses to remain in the profession.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/ijn.v2n2a5