• new graduate nurse;
  • organisational socialisation;
  • practising nurse;
  • professional socialisation

Aims.  The aim of this study was to explore the socialisation experiences of new graduate baccalaureate nurses to practising nurses.

Background.  How nurses contend with the stress of their professional role has been of interest to both researchers and healthcare administrators over the past 30 years. Work stress of clinical nurses comes mainly from organisational and professional factors. However, few studies have explored the professional and organisational socialisation experiences of new graduate nurses.

Design.  A qualitative descriptive approach was adopted.

Methods.  Participants were graduates of a baccalaureate nursing programme and employed full time at four medical centres in Taiwan, their first full-time work experience. Data were collected through semi-structured, open-ended, in-depth interviews, which were transcribed verbatim and analysed by content analysis. Three themes were identified: overwhelming chaos, learning by doing and being an insider.

Results.  Although the professional socialisation process was hard for the new graduate nurses, they needed much time to increase their knowledge and clinical skills to fulfil clinical needs. However, the hardest work was the organisational socialisation process, which involved fitting into the bureaucratic system, such as maintaining interpersonal relationships with colleagues and familiarising themselves with the ward rules and culture. Neophyte nurse participants were also frustrated by the conflict between professional and organisational values.

Conclusions.  The study findings show that the transition from new graduate nurse to practising nurse was stressful for these participants, particularly due to the clash between the professional value of patient-oriented nursing care and the organisational value of task-oriented nursing.

Relevance to clinical practice.  Senior clinical nurses can consider this study’s descriptions of new graduate nurses’ experiences to help them become insiders and provide quality care.