The transition from nursing student to registered nurse (RN), enrolled nurse (EN) and or Midwife can be a time of trepidation, filled with many emotions. From feelings of happiness for obtaining a graduate nurse program to feelings of fear and anxiety gaining employment outside of a graduate nurse program.
The novice practitioner questions what they have learnt, their skills and ability, to whether they made the right career choice, to whether they will be like the nurses they are/will be working with.
By providing graduate registered, enrolled nurses and midwives with the skills to start their professional journey transitioning to the workplace will be easier with the awareness of:
- The Award (different in each state for public hospitals);
- Rostering patterns;
- Clinical handover practices.
- Nurse and Midwife Board of Australia (NMBA) Code of Conduct, Code of Ethics for Nurses in Australia and Standards for practice Decision making framework (DMF).
- Documentation guidelines and practices to ensure appropriate communication of events.
- Recording Continuous Professional Development (CPD) – Learning Management System (LMS)
Some of the common issues that occur during this transition period from student nurse to registered nurse include:
- Theory-to-practice gaps
- Caring for increasingly complex patients with multiple comorbidities
- Time management
- Medicine administration – take time, ask questions and or look up the medication
- Patient assessment skills
- Escalation of the deteriorating patient
- Documentation skills
- Limited proficiency in managing and executing technical skills
- Working and collaborating within teams
- Shift work
- Prioritising and coping with unexpected events
- Lack of access to experienced mentors and coaches
- Performance anxiety
It is also important during this time of transition that graduate registered nurse, enrolled nurses and midwives care for themselves and ensure a healthy balance between their new role as a registered nurse and their lifestyle. The nature of nursing work is demanding and can be stressful. A healthy balance between work and home life such as exercise or meditation will keep you feeling energized and ready for work.
The transition from student to RN, EN and midwife can also prove to be an anxious time personally, as well as professionally, depending on location of employment and whether this requires moving away from family.
A Positive Transition to a RN, EN and Midwife:
Some other strategies and factors that have been found to facilitate a positive transition from student nurse to registered nurse include:
- Orientation programs with realistic goals and competencies to achieve technical skills
- Approachable and responsive mentors and senior leaders
- Timely provision of constructive feedback
- Continuing staff development opportunities
- Open communication
- Support when dealing with deteriorating patients, death and dying
Hans, P. 2019. Preparing the Future Front-line Health Care Workforce in North Carolina. North Carolina Medical Journal.
Hofler, L. 2016. Transition of New Graduate Nurses to the Workforce Challenges and Solutions in the Changing Health Care Environment. North Carolina Medical Journal.
Rees, C., Heritage, B., Osseiran-Moisson, R., Chamberlain, D., Cusack, L., Anderson, J., Terry, V., Rogers, C., Hemsworth, D., Cross, W., and Hegney, D. 2016. Can We Predict Burnout among Student Nurses? An Exploration of the ICWR-1 Model of Individual Psychological Resilience. Frontiers in Psychology.