Date of Conferral







Anna Valdez


Attrition among newly graduated nurses remains a top concern among nursing leaders in the United States. Many published studies about new graduate nurses focus on bachelors-prepared nurses or on mixed populations of nurses that include both associate and baccalaureate degree graduates. No published studies were located that focused specifically on the Associate Degree Nursing (ADN) graduate. The purpose of this qualitative, interpretive phenomenological study was to understand the experiences of transition after graduation and into professional nursing of newly employed nurses who graduated from an ADN program. The theoretical basis for this study was Meleis’s transition theory. The research question focused on the lived experiences of transition after graduation with an ADN into the workplace. An interpretive, phenomenological qualitative methodology with individual interviews was used. Data analysis was done using a modified approach of the van Kaam method. The results showed that new graduate ADN nurses generally did not feel supported during their transition time after graduation and into their first few years of employment. Three themes emerged:

(a) thrown off a cliff, (b) small fish in a big pond, and (c) needing a life jacket. Recommendations are to provide new graduate residency programs to all new-hire RNs with one-to-one dedicated preceptors, provide more feedback on job performance, and continue efforts to reduce lateral violence and bullying. Positive social change can occur when new nurses are more supported throughout their transition period and stay in their jobs longer because these changes can decrease overall health care costs and improve patient outcomes.

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