Aims and objectives This paper seeks to explore the transition experiences of acute care nurses entering employment in primary health care settings. Background Internationally the provision of care in primary health care settings is increasing. Nurses are moving from acute care settings to meet the growing demand for a primary health care workforce. While there is significant research relating to new graduate transition experiences, little is known about the transition experience from acute care into primary health care employment. Design An integrative review, guided by Whittemore and Knafl's (2005) approach, was undertaken. Following a systematic literature search eight studies met the inclusion criteria. Methods Papers which met the study criteria were identified and assessed against the inclusion and exclusion criteria. Papers were then subjected to methodological quality appraisal. Thematic analysis was undertaken to identify key themes within the data. Results Eight papers met the selection criteria. All described nurses transitioning to either community or home nursing settings. Three themes were identified: (1) a conceptual understanding of transition, (2) role losses and gains and (3) barriers and enablers. Conclusion There is a lack of research specifically exploring the transitioning of acute care nurses to primary health care settings. To better understand this process, and to support the growth of the primary health care workforce there is an urgent need for further well-designed research. Relevance to clinical practice There is an increasing demand for the employment of nurses in primary health care settings. To recruit experienced nurses it is logical that many nurses will transition into primary health care from employment in the acute sector. To optimise retention and enhance the transition experience of these nurses it is important to understand the transition experience.