Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching & Learning

First Advisor

Richard G. Landry


Just as the world is facing many changes and transitions, nursing care delivery systems and nursing education systems continue to struggle with significant transitions in nursing practice. New, or novice nurses, find it increasingly difficult to transition from the role of the graduate nurse to professional nurse. It is, therefore, not surprising that the most stressful time during a nurse's career is the first three months of initial employment or that 35% to 60% of nurse graduates change jobs during the first year of employment. Many of these new nurses suffer from early disillusionment with the profession and often leave within 24 months. Understanding the relationship between the amount of time a graduate nurse is given to make the transition to a professional nurse is paramount to the success and retention of nurses.

The purpose of the study was to investigate whether six months was an adequate amount of time for new graduate nurses to transition into the role of a professional nurse. Data were collected from graduate nurses, (N=14) completing an Outcomes Engineering Tool, at three different intervals (one, four, and six months). The too} was used to measure graduate nurse mastery on 14-achievement indicators that focused on growth attainment. The 14-achievement indicators encompassed documenting, problem identification, evaluation of care, planning and prioritizing, decision making, delegating, collaborating, accoW1tabi1ity, nursing theory, ethics, competence, leadership, career goals and organizational commitment.

Statistics measuring means, standard deviations, ANOV A and pairwise comparisons were used to determine the differences between the individuals within the group and the variance due to the difference between the groups. The study showed that after six months no graduate nurses had successfully mastered all the 14-achievement indicators. There were significant differences found between the first month and sixth month on all 14-achievement indicators; however, mastery was not achieved on all 14- achievement indicators during any of the three intervals. These findings indicate that the transition period for a new graduate to transition to a professional nurse is longer than six months.