Date of Conferral





Health Services


Kimberly Dixon-Lawson


Many entry-level nurses are not prepared to handle medical emergencies. Although responsible for managing the care of individuals with complex medical conditions, many of these nurses compromise the safety of patients due to a lack of experience and an inability to apply clinical judgment. The purpose of this study was to explore the perceptions of registered nurses about their transition from entry-level to advanced beginner. Bandura's social cognitive theory, along with Colaizzi's descriptive method of data analysis, provided a basis for this phenomenological study. Research questions focused on challenges that entry-level nurses have experienced with problem-solving and complex patient care that requires advanced critical thinking and the application of clinical judgment. Criterion sampling facilitated recruitment of advanced-beginner RNs, with data collected through semistructured, one-on-one interviews. Data analysis occurred in a series of steps, including extracting and developing meanings from interview transcripts, clustering meanings into description lists, and eliminating outliers. Data analysis revealed 12 major themes aligned with behavior, clinical environment, and personal/cognitive factors. Among the findings were that nurses often felt unsupported, unable to manage conflict, unprepared, unseasoned, inefficient, and unable to lead others effectively. This study was necessary because its findings may provide insights leaders in health services can use to develop strategies to better prepare entry-level nurses to care for individuals with complex medical conditions. Among the implications for positive social change are developing a better tool for the training and advancement of entry-level nurses, consequently improving patient safety and reducing health care costs.

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Nursing Commons