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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Perceptions of Transition to Nurse Among Accelerated Graduate Entry Program Students: A Qualitative Descriptive Study
by Downey, Kathleen, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, 2014, 246; 3581988
Abstract (Summary)

Graduate programs in nursing for non-nurses (GPNNN) are rapidly proliferating in response to demands for innovative strategies to increase the number of nurses to meet health care demands, both actual and anticipated. Transitions Theory (Meleis et al., 2000) provided a framework to identify the gaps in knowledge related to how individuals transition to nurse within these programs. One of the gaps in the literature that was identified was a description of the transition to nurse experience of students enrolled in a GPNNN. This qualitative descriptive research was conducted in response to this gap. It examined the transition from non-nurse to nurse through a GPNNN which prepared non-nurses for advanced nursing practice. The study had three aims: to describe the transition experienced by the students; to describe how they used their prior education and experiences in this transition; and to describe the factors they saw as facilitators and hindrances to this transition.

Responsive interviewing (Rubin & Rubin, 2012) with a purposive sample (n=17) of registered nurses enrolled in the advanced practice curriculum of the GPNNN was used. Data was collected from these nurses between September and December, 2013. Data analysis included initial codification of interviews, and within and between interview comparison of codes, resulting in re-coding and collapsing of codes. To assure the trustworthiness of the data, the criteria thoroughness, accuracy, believability and transparency were used (Rubin & Rubin, 2005).

Data analysis revealed a process of transition that occurred over three distinct time periods, Coming to Nursing (pre-enrollment), Beginning to Learn the Role as Nurse (pre-licensure), and Practicing as Nurse (post-licensure). Influences that impacted the transition across periods included personal goals, knowledge, skills, and professional growth. Indicators of transition that were known to the individual and to others were described. The individual's utilization of prior education and experiences in their personal transition experience was described as primarily influencing study habits and clinical experiences. Facilitators and hindrances to the transition included experience working as a nurse, self-identification as nurse, personal goals, the accelerated program, the programmatic focus on NCLEX style testing and the nursing pedagogy.

Interpretation of the findings of this research was informed by the literature. Identification of three periods of transition through nursing education has been described in transition to nurse in other nursing education populations (Shane, 1980a, 1980b; Neill, 2010), and is consistent with transitional patterns (Meleis, 2010). However, the three transitional periods identified in this study are peculiar to the transition experience through a GPNNN, and don't mirror the characteristics identified in transitional periods in other populations. A rich description of the transition experienced by the participants is presented including characteristics of the transitional periods, the influence of prior education and experience within the transition, and identification of factors that facilitated or hindered the transition experience. This description has not previously been described in the literature.

There are implications of this research for practice, theory, education, policy and research, and these are discussed.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Asselin, Marilyn
School: University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
School Location: United States -- Massachusetts
Source: DAI-B 76/05(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational sociology, Nursing, Higher education
Publication Number: 3581988
ISBN: 978-1-321-52065-1
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