In a time when nursing shortages are acute and many leave their jobs or leave nursing altogether, there is increasing attention on the experience of newly qualified nurses. The aim of the present study from Australia by Feltrin et al (2018) and published in JAN was to: 'increase understanding of strategies graduate nurses use on a day‐to‐day basis to integrate themselves into pre‐existing social frameworks.'
A small sample of nurses was interviewed who were at least four months into their first year of clinical practice. The strategies used by new nurses included: self‐embodiment and self‐consciousness, navigating the social constructs and raising consciousness. Self‐embodiment and self‐consciousness was exemplified by a comment from one of the nurses: 'Being vocal about what you don't know and being confident with what you do know.' In terms of navigating the social constructs, one students said: 'Learning from the senior staff. I guess they've been there the longest. They know what they are talking about.' And, as the authors explained: 'Raising consciousness involved the adaptation processes through reflectivity. Being aware of the differences between fitting in
not fitting in was integral to the (graduate nurses') eventual successful navigation of the social constructs.'
The authors concluded that newly qualified nurses: 'require preparation and to be adequately supported in their adaptation to ward culture' and if they: 'are not supported in this process, the individual, their colleagues and the patient are probably affected.'
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