Transition to practice: Supporting first year nurses within a collaborative faith based graduate program


Objective: Faith-based organisations play a major role in health care in Australia providing a unique service supported by compassionate and concerned staff. In response to the changing Australian health care landscape the increasing demands placed on first year registered nurses, a graduate program provided in partnership with a Catholic University, engages students in academic and clinical learning. The study aimed to determine if the provision of nursing care in the context of catholic faith and values provides first year nurses with a supportive learning environment.

Methods: This study used a mixed method explanatory sequential design in two phases: (1) quantitative online surveys sent to graduate nurses (n = 60) to report on their perceptions of work integrated learning prior to and during their first year of nursing at the private catholic hospital; and (2) focus groups were conducted to explore key themes in further detail. The evaluation occurred at both the halfway and the end point of the 12-month Graduate Program. Data was analysed using descriptive statistics and theming of the text data to identify emergent ideas.

Results: The findings suggest that the graduate nurses felt engaged with the programs academic and clinical learning outcomes. This was achieved in a supportive pastoral care environment underpinned by catholic faith and values.

Conclusions: The Graduate Program in collaboration with a Catholic University School of Nursing and Midwifery has provided a positive learning experience and support structure for its first year registered nurses with the achievement of a formally recognised qualification.


nursing education, newly qualified nurses, Catholic healthcare, Catholic university

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