Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Carole Pearce


Effective preceptor-guided clinical orientation programs (PGCOP) help new graduate nurses (NGNs) across the theory-practice gap to provide safe, effective, and efficient patient care. This constructivist-designed qualitative program evaluation study explored NGNs’ and preceptors’ perceptions of a local hospital’s PGCOP as an effective transition vehicle. The conceptual framework combined Knowles’ andragogical process model for learning with the new world Kirkpatrick model evaluation model. The sample included 7 NGNs who graduated in the past year and had no prior orientation experience and 5 preceptors employed by the study site for at least 1 year. A goal-free approach guided data collection with face-to-face semistructured participant interviews. Data analysis was emergent and performed simultaneously with data collection. Data were coded, categorized, and then aggregated into themes. Two cross-categorical themes, PGCOP facilitators and PGCOP barriers emerged. Orientation in smaller acute care areas appeared to expedite interactions between the NGN and preceptor, facilitating the PGCOP process and increasing NGN confidence. Orientation in the larger general medical-surgical units hampered NGN/preceptor interactions resulting in the NGNs feeling intrusive when asking questions of the preceptor, creating a barrier in the PGCOP process. The study culminated in a program evaluation report delivered to study site leadership. Application of the recommendations from this study could result in a theory-based training program for preceptors that promotes evidence-based practices increasing the effectiveness and safety of NGNs entering the organization.

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