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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

From direct patient care to clinical research: Transitioning to an emerging nursing specialty
by Newman, Robin Watson, Ed.D., The George Washington University, 2016, 212; 10141333
Abstract (Summary)

The role of the professional nurse has evolved in numerous and unexpected ways since the founding of Nightingale’s first school of nursing in 1860. One contemporary sphere in which nurses work is the biopharmaceutical and medical device industry, but little research exists regarding how the nurse engages with and experiences this role.

This qualitative, phenomenological study was undertaken to address the research question: What is the nature and process of the transition experience from a direct patient care role to a clinical research specialist role for the professional nurse? Two subquestions were also explored: What barriers and supports are encountered during the transition process? What facilitates successful work role transition from direct patient care to clinical research?

Ten professional nurses who had transitioned to industry based careers at least two years prior to this study were identified and selected via referral sources. Each nurse participated in a series of three in-depth recorded interviews. Through an iterative process of transcript review, coding, and thematic analysis, and utilization of Ashforth’s (2001) ABCs of Role Identification and Nicholson’s (1984, 2013) Work Role Transition Theory as lenses for interpretation, seven key themes emerged. These themes include: 1) I am alone: transition can be an isolating experience, 2) I am unprepared: transition requires mastery of unfamiliar skills and knowledge, 3) I am scared and sometimes overwhelmed: transition is associated with a lack of security, structure and balance, 4) I can do it: self-reliance and resourcefulness facilitate successful work-role transition, 5) I need to build new bridges: transition requires networking and support from others, 6) I am becoming: the transition experience can be empowering and offers opportunity for growth, and 7) I am still a nurse: nursing identity and values endure through transition.

This study offers several recommendations for further research to more deeply explore identified themes and ways to facilitate success in this work-role transition. In addition, using feedback from study participants, recommendations and suggestions are offered for nurse educators, professional nursing credentialing organizations, and to other nurses considering a career in the clinical research arena.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Goldman, Ellen F.
Commitee: Mahler, Elizabeth, Pintz, Christine
School: The George Washington University
Department: Human and Organizational Learning
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: DAI-B 78/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Social research, Nursing, Pharmacy sciences
Keywords: Clinical research, Nursing specialities, Pharmaceutical, Transition
Publication Number: 10141333
ISBN: 978-1-339-96719-6
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