Wednesday, 9 July 2014

From student to staff nurse

Roger Watson, Editor-in-Chief

My transition to practice took place when, soon after registration, the Charge Nurse slid the keys to the
ward along the floor to me as he was leaving for lunch saying something like ‘over to you’… and that was it! With greater awareness of cross-infection I hope we don’t slide keys along the floor these day – although I used to like doing it too – and I also hope that new Staff Nurses are better prepared for their role. Possibly, we were more ready in my day; we were employees of the hospital and attending the School of Nursing in the hospital and seen very much as part of the establishment of the wards we were working on. Possibly, but that is speculation and, of course, we did not do any more clinical practice in those days than students do now.

A systematic review by Missen et al. (2014) titled ‘Satisfaction of newly graduated nurses enrolled in transition-to-practice programmes in their first year of employment: a systematic review’ and published in JAN considers the evidence for the effectiveness of programmes specifically designed to ease the transition of nursing students into practice. The review looked at evidence in nurses qualified less than one year between and including 2000-2012, a period during which more attention has been paid to the issue and also against a background of high turnover of nursing students and also attrition.

The results of the review are promising; there is evidence that transition-to-practice programmes improve the job satisfaction of newly qualified nurses and some evidence that this has a positive effect on turnover. However, there is no standard length of delivery of programme and, while the length of the programme was not relevant, it is not known what the optimum length of such programmes is; something that anyone budgeting for their provision will want to know. As usual, further research is needed but this review provides a foundation for future studies and, we hope, further publication.


Missen K, McKenna L, Beauchamp A (2014) Satisfaction of newly graduated nursesenrolled in transition-to-practice programmes in their first year ofemployment: a systematic review Journal of Advanced Nursing doi: 10.1111/jan.12464

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