Supporting newly qualified nurse transition: A case study in a UK hospital
BACKGROUND: Nurse education in the United Kingdom (UK) has been university based since the mid-1990s but despite careful preparation and assessment of student nurses it has been considered necessary to provide a period of additional support for newly qualified nurses (NQNs) to help them settle into their new role and responsibilities. Preceptorship is the process of supporting NQNs over the transition from student to registered nurse (RN) and it is recognised that this can be a difficult time for NQNs. LITERATURE REVIEW: A systematic review was conducted as part of this project and has been published in an earlier edition of Nurse Education Today (Whitehead et al, 2013). This suggests that preceptorship is a positive and essential experience for NQNs. METHODS: Lincoln and Guba's Naturalistic Inquiry (1985) was used. A qualitative case study method was developed and consisted of a multi-stage approach including semi-structured interviews with key personnel; documentary analysis of preceptorship material; and focus groups with key actors. Ethical approval was attained for the project. The aim was to interpret the social phenomena and to produce an evidence based tool to improve preceptorship. RESULTS: Findings are grouped under the headings indicated by the research design. In addition a further 11 themes emerged, including: the need for specific time for preceptors and preceptees; formal recognition of the role and a culture of support; selection and preparation of preceptors and the management structure to support preceptorship. CONCLUSIONS: The findings indicate that there are a range of factors which are reported to affect the successful transition from student to NQN. Based on these factors recommendations are made for practice and for further research. Practice recommendations: to provide supported preceptorship following the recommendations of the research findings. RESEARCH RECOMMENDATIONS: To concentrate on enhancing preceptorship as preceptorship in any form is better than none.