Date of Conferral







Leslie Hussey


The nurse practitioner (NP) role transition is difficult and ill-supported before and after graduation. Although preceptorships are essential in supporting a NP's role transition, there is a paucity of data on student and novice NPs' experiences with their role transition and how it is supported through preceptorships. The purpose of this hermeneutic phenomenological study was to understand and describe the meaning of NPs' role transition experiences while in a preceptorship before and after graduation. Schlossberg's transition theory and the cognitive apprenticeship models were used to guide the exploration of concepts of role transition and preceptorship. One face-to-face, 3 Skype, and 12 phone interviews were conducted with NPs who were currently practicing in the NP role (>3 months but <5 years) in those states that require collaborative practice agreement. Transcribed interviews were coded using Van Manen's analysis strategies. Findings suggested that NPs' difficult transition to practice was related to their preceptorship support in NP school and in NP work settings. The data showed ill-supported preceptorships when in NP programs. Lack of preceptorships after the graduation was accompanied by employers' expecting novice NPs to function at an expert level, frequently with minimal guidance. Understanding how NPs transition to practice and how their role transition is supported through preceptorships can be used to inform NP educators and organizations that hire NPs of the changes needed to strengthen NPs' role transition. These findings may promote positive social change by guiding stakeholders to improve the NP role transition, which could, in turn, increase NPs' autonomy, retention, and job satisfaction.