The transition from student nurse to Registered nurse can be fraught with many emotions. Not only happiness and excitement, but also fear, anxiety and uncertainty. It can be a time when new gradNurses are questioning everything from their ability, to whether they made the right career choice, and whether they will ever be like the nurses they are now working with on their new ward.
This transition period is often described by people as a complete reality shock, and let’s face it, apart from nursing not many other occupations come with the added chance that you can severely hurt or kill another human being. But fear not! Every nurse, at one point or another, has experienced these feelings.
It is common for new nurses to feel insecure and unsure about their ability to be a registered nurse, and there is a multitude of issues that may arise, which only serve to add to these feelings of insecurity.
“Issues Faced by New Nurses”
Some of the common issues that occur during this transition period from student nurse to registered nurse include:
Caring for increasingly complex patients with multiple comorbidities
Patient assessment skills
Limited proficiency in managing and executing technical skills
Working and collaborating within teams
Developing competency in planning and organising
Prioritising and coping with unexpected events
Lack of access to experienced mentors and coaches
“Benefits Registered Nurses Bring to the Ward”
It is also important to acknowledge that during this transition period, graduate nurses will also bring many benefits to the workforce.
Research has found that new nursing graduates often had considerable strengths in the following areas:
Communication skills with the patients
Psychosocial assessment skills
Accountability for their own practice
They are very aware of the importance of their role as a professional, registered nurse and uphold their professional values accordingly.
New nurses display an awareness of the different roles a nurse must play, such as being a teacher, a provider of care, a communicator, an advocate, a coordinator, a decision-maker, and also, being able to suggest changes in practice.
Points for a Positive Transition:
Some other strategies and factors that have been found to facilitate a positive transition from student nurse to registered nurse include:
Adequate staffing patterns
Leaders who are approachable and responsive
Support when dealing with deteriorating patients, death and dying
Orientation programs with realistic goals
Timely provision of constructive feedback
Appropriate guidance from senior staff
Continuing staff development opportunities
The availability of support and counselling for staff
Reduction of stress levels in the new graduate by using personal strategies such as exercise or meditation.
Any graduate or newly registered nurses are experiencing difficulties during their transition period, it is important that they seek help from SERVCOM
Source: (Chang & Daly 2012; Hofler & Thomas 2016; Kaihlanen et al. 2013).