Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing (ND)

Schools and Centres

Nursing and Midwifery

First Supervisor

Dr. Jenny Prentice

Second Supervisor

Professor Richard Berlach


This research compares the findings of a survey questionnaire sent to 858 newly graduated Registered Nurses (RNs) in 2010, with those from a similar study conducted 10-years previously. The purpose of the present was threefold. Firstly, to investigate how current transition programs compared to those of 10-years ago; second, to gain insight into how well formal programs assisted the transition of the novice nurse into the workforce; and thirdly, to examine what effect transition programs have for making decisions to remain in the nursing workforce. A mixed methods triangulation design was selected to investigate the research questions. Additional questions to those used in 2000 were incorporated into the study to determine the degree to which a supportive program may have had an effect on the novice RN’s intended career trajectory. A small web-based survey of graduate nurse coordinators was utilised to corroborate selected aspects of participant findings.

Findings indicated that the novice nurses’ experiences differed on several measures in the period between the two studies. The 2010 nurses indicated that a robust transition program was conducive to becoming a confident and competent practitioner. Adequate and appropriate support was found to be the most consistent theme respondents perceived as necessary for satisfactory transition. Data revealed that current programs are much more structured, and that nurses are more satisfied with their efficacy. The research findings also demonstrated that supportive transition programs positively influence the nurse’s career pathway, and their tenure within the nursing workforce. Due to the increase in the complexity of nursing science, findings also indicated that undergraduate education was not able to comprehensively prepare the student nurse for all aspects of nursing practice. Suggestions are presented for addressing this concern. To ensure that all nurses graduating from universities as a Registered Nurse are appropriately supported in becoming competent practitioners, a mandatory period of transition ought to be considered; one based on a robust framework and comprehensive guidelines. This research provides a platform for the development of such guidelines.

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