• graduate nurse;
  • nursing education;
  • preparedness for practice;
  • qualitative research

The nursing literature continues to give ongoing attention to university-educated nurses' preparedness for practice in the first year following graduation. This interpretive descriptive study explored the impact of a university-based clinical school of nursing experience on graduate nurses' perceptions of their preparedness for practice. Ten registered nurses who undertook their graduate year programme in the same hospital where they attended the university-based clinical school of nursing were interviewed. The interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analysed to reveal themes and categories. Thematic data analysis revealed three themes: ‘being situated in a clinical school within a hospital’, ‘the university away from the university’ and ‘engagement with practice’. The outcome of the experience of being situated in a university-based clinical school of nursing contributed to the participants' sense of being prepared for practice as a graduate nurse.