Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Mary Okada


This study focused on the transitioning of graduate nurses (GNs) employed by a teaching hospital in the eastern United States to the professional role of registered nurse after a 6-week orientation was the focus of this study. Benner's novice-to-expert theory served as the framework for this qualitative case study. Twelve participants were chosen from 3 specific populations: GNs, nursing preceptors, and nurse managers. Three research questions asked about the perceptions of newly licensed nurses after completion of the orientation process related to their ability to make critical decisions in the professional role of RN, how the preceptor educational training program prepared staff nurses for the role of preceptor, and the beliefs of newly licensed nurses and nurse managers regarding the role of nurse mentor. Interviews and documents were the sources of the qualitative data collected from the participants and the organization. The data were coded manually in a comparative manner to extract the themes that emerged from the findings. Participants agreed that the orientation program did not provide sufficient time and education for GNs to learn and grow professionally and did not offer training to nurses serving as preceptors. Results identified the need for revisions to the orientation program that would offer consistency and relevancy to the needs of all stakeholders. The preceptor workshop and a transition-to-practice (TTP) program were developed based on the outcomes. The TTP program could benefit this teaching hospital as well as local, state, and national health care facilities that employ newly licensed nurses. Improving the training of preceptors and implementing the orientation program for GNs for a minimum of 6 to 12 months would improve patient outcomes and increase nurse competency.