Does the choice of pre-registration paid employment impact on graduate nurse transition: An Australian study

Craig Phillips, Amanda Kenny, Adrian Esterman, Colleen Smith

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    19 Citations (Scopus)


    The process of transition for newly qualified registered nurses in their first year of practice remains a difficult and onerous proposition. Aside from well-documented issues pertaining to orientation, preceptorship, appropriate patient allocation, indifferent communication and feedback from senior nursing staff, other influences can determine how new graduates adjust to the role of beginning registered nurse. The dataset from a large Australian study, that examined the impact of pre-registration paid employment on graduate nurse transition, contained a significant amount of data that indicated that undergraduate work choice might influence how senior colleagues view graduate nurses during their transition to registered nurse practice. Although this issue was beyond the scope of the original study, the volume of data and recurrence of this issue provided a strong rationale for further exploration. A secondary study was designed to explore the research question does previous undergraduate work choice influence how graduate nurses are viewed by senior colleagues during their transition to registered nurse? Using secondary analysis, and an interpretive descriptive approach, two qualitative data sets arising from focus groups and open ended questionnaire responses were analysed and three organising themes identified; drawing on prior learning, the burden of employment choice and outside the setting. The global theme "confidence and perceptions" describes graduate nurses' views about their prior paid employment choice being beneficial to them and perceived to assist them in the process of transition. Findings suggest that depending on the choice of prior paid employment, new graduates (particularly those who were formerly enrolled or second level nurses) are treated differently by their senior colleagues; in terms of the level of support offered in transition, whether prior skills and experiences from previous paid employment are acknowledged, made light of or dismissed. For successful transition to registered nurse practice it is recommended that senior nursing staff treat each new graduate equally, not based on prior paid employment experiences, and that all new graduates regardless of their prior work experiences require a period of adjustment to their new role.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)532-537
    Number of pages6
    JournalNurse Education Today
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014


    • Graduate nurses
    • Qualitative
    • Transition
    • Undergraduate employment experiences


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