Practice readiness of new graduate nurses and factors influencing practice readiness: A scoping review of reviews
International Journal of Nursing Studies
Background: For many years there has been concern that new graduate nurses may not have been adequately prepared for the workplace, often framed in terms of whether they are work ready or practice ready and able to deal with the ‘reality shock’ of transitioning from student to clinician. This has prompted significant research to investigate the practice readiness of new graduate nurses. Objectives: Identify what is known about the practice readiness of new graduate nurses upon commencement of employment, how practice readiness changes over their first year of employment and explore the factors which influence practice readiness. Design: Scoping review of existing reviews guided by the framework developed by Arksey and O'Malley, with search results based on the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) Statement. Methods: MEDLINE, CINAHL, PsycINFO, Scopus and Web of Science were searched to identify literature reviews synthesising evidence about new graduate nurses, work readiness, practice readiness, competency and transition to practice. New graduate nurses were defined as nurses who were working in any clinical setting as a nurse within their first year of employment after graduation. Database searching was supplemented with snowball searching and limited to English language papers published between 2011 and 2020. Full-text copies of included reviews were imported into an NVivo (Version 12) database to facilitate analysis and synthesis of findings. Results: Forty-five reviews were included. The findings indicate that transition is influenced by a wide range of intrapersonal, interpersonal and organisational factors, many of which are beyond the control of new graduate nurses. The findings also suggest that, overall, there are no major concerns about the practice readiness of new graduate nurses consistently supported by strong evidence. However, there is evidence to suggest that they ‘lack confidence’ during the first few months of employment. Conclusions: The ‘receptivity’ of the clinical environment to new graduate nurses appears to be a critical influence on their experience of transitioning from student to clinician and can also influence their readiness for the role of a registered nurse. Rather than focusing on the question of whether new graduate nurses are adequately prepared for the workplace, it may be time to shift the question to whether the workplace is ready to support new graduate nurses. The findings suggest two research priorities for advancing our understanding of workplace support for new graduate nurses.
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