From the staff development bookshelf: New graduate nurse experience

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, May 13, 2011

The topic of what new graduate nurses think, feel, and experience has been widely studied and abundantly documented in the nursing literature. When new graduates leave the collegiate classroom, they leave behind the college student culture that they are familiar with, comfortable in, and have for the most part, mastered. They leave this familiarity for the very difficult culture of 21st century acute care nursing, which is often fraught with complexity, high acuity, overload, inefficiency, and even chaos at times.

This culture shock places new graduate nurses in a significant amount of role strain and confusion as they shed the role of competent student nurse and assume the role of registered nurse. Most new graduates report that during the first year of practice they spend their time "acting" like a nurse because they have not yet learned how to "be" a nurse. This is referred to as imposter phenomenon in nursing literature.

Source: Book excerpt adapted from Nurse Residency Program Builder: Tools for a Successful New Graduate Program by Jim Hansen, MSN, RN-BC.

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