Australia’s first transition to professional practice in primary care program for graduate registered nurses: a pilot study
Aggar, C, Bloomfield, J, Thomas, TH & Gordon, CJ 2017, 'Australia’s first transition to professional practice in primary care program for graduate registered nurses: a pilot study', BMC Nursing, vol. 16.
Increases in ageing, chronic illness and complex co-morbidities in the Australian population are adding pressure to the primary care nursing workforce. Initiatives to attract and retain nurses are needed to establish a sustainable and skilled future primary care nursing workforce. We implemented a transition to professional practice program in general practice settings for graduate nurses and evaluated graduate nurse competency, the graduate nurse experience and program satisfaction. This study aimed to determine whether a transition to professional practice program implemented in the general practice setting led to competent practice nurses in their first year post-graduation.
A longitudinal, exploratory mixed-methods design was used to assess the pilot study. Data were collected at three times points (3, 6, 12 months) with complete data sets from graduate nurses (n = 4) and preceptors (n = 7). We assessed perceptions of the graduates’ nursing competency and confidence, satisfaction with the preceptor/graduate relationship, and experiences and satisfaction with the program. Graduate nurse competency was assessed using the National Competency Standards for Nurses in General Practice. Semi-structured interviews with participants at Time 3 sought information about barriers, enablers, and the perceived impact of the program.
Graduate nurses were found to be competent within their first year of clinical practice. Program perceptions from graduate nurses and preceptors were positive and the relationship between the graduate nurse and preceptor was key to this development.
With appropriate support registered nurses can transition directly into primary care and are competent in their first year post-graduation. While wider implementation and research is needed, findings from this study demonstrate the potential value of transition to professional practice programs within primary care as a nursing workforce development strategy