Date of Conferral


Date of Award





Health Services


Jeanne L. Connors


The nursing field is beginning to emerge as a profession with curricula that emphasis nursing as a discipline distinguished from a medically dominated paradigm. This changing focus places emphasis on professional competence upon graduation and entry into practice to foster fitness for purpose within an environment of continuously changing expectations of the nurse by society. Despite a growing body of research on transition into practice, a gap exists as to when this transition occurs and how this finding may influence educational preparation of nurses. This qualitative, exploratory study examined nurses’ perceptions of their transformation from novice to professional practitioner by examining a pivotal moment in their practice that affected their self-reported professional competence, Twenty-five nurses who had worked in a hospital setting between 2 and 5 years were interviewed. The primary research question sought to address whether a common thread became apparent after conducting interviews that may have implications for nurse educators to enhance or change their curriculum. Analysis of the interviews was conducted utilizing a constructivist approach. The data collected were analyzed using ATLAS.ti, Using participants’ words that described people, settings, themes and ideas that appeared in the data, coding was done acknowledging that some codes were based on the research questions and the initial review of the data. A common theme emerged from analysis that respondents felt that what they were taught in school was not valid in real life. Nurse educators need to re-envision their social responsibility and interrogate the traditional principles that have guided the curricula to prepare and train nurses’ for the holistic welfare of all individuals in society. This is necessary to meet the needs of a changing social structure within the nursing profession and society as a whole.