Date of Conferral





Health Services


Magdeline Aagard


This study examined the meaning of feeling fearful for nurses entering community/public health (C/PH) nursing. Nurses are entering the C/PH workforce with less experience and education than ever before, and may feel afraid or fearful in their jobs. Additionally, the autonomous nature of C/PH nursing poses significant challenges for this population such as fear of isolation and/ or abandonment. Therefore, the purpose of this qualitative descriptive study was to explicate the meaning of feeling fearful for new C/PH health nurses. Ten nurses with up to 2 years of C/PH experience volunteered for this study. The research questions were guided by the humanbecoming theory and its objectives. The 3 objectives were to describe the significance of feeling fearful; rhythmical patterns of relating connected to feeling fearful; and the concerns, plans, hopes, and dreams related to feeling fearful. Participants provided narratives via face-to-face and telephone interviews. Data were analyzed using manual coding, analysis-synthesis, and were documented in humanbecoming language. The findings revealed a feeling of fear as a disquieting unease arising with the unforeseen, with unpredictable affiliations surfacing amid diverse encounters, and as pondering possibilities arise with potent assuredness. These findings may influence positive social change by providing an opportunity for hospital administrators, nursing faculty, and public health agencies to dialogue about fearful experiences that new C/PH nurses encounter. Moreover, this study could stimulate ideas that foster nonthreatening learning environments in academic nursing programs, C/PH orientations, and nursing residencies.