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Keywords:

  • autonomy;
  • leadership;
  • nursing skills;
  • retention;
  • role modelling;
  • support;
  • transition

Aims and objectives

To assess recent nurse graduates of a large university and seeks their views of university preparation, requisite nursing skills and qualities, workplace transition, supports received, nurse leadership and role models, and career development and retention.

Background

Concern about attracting and retaining registered nurses is a continuing workforce issue in parts of Asia and throughout the world.

Design

Qualitative interviews with recent nursing graduates.

Methods

Seventeen face-to-face interviews took place using a structured schedule of 23 questions. Data were coded and analysed by hand to determine clusters of interest and develop themes.

Results

Four broad topics emerged: (1) skills and qualities graduates consider central to nursing; (2) the support they received during the transition from graduate to novice practitioner and that which continues; (3) elements they value in nursing role models and leaders; and (4) the ward characteristics that will encourage them to remain in nursing and develop a career. Interviewees expressed concerns about retention-related issues, making suggestions for improvements. Unique findings focus on the blaming culture that many respondents consider they are working in, and the system whereby they are not free to access postgraduate studies until a specific time frame has elapsed, and when they do pursue further studies, they are bonded to the auspicing hospital/health service.

Conclusions

Responses unique to this research are the explicit concerns about a blaming culture, and complaints about rigid rules (bonding system) that virtually prevent an individual from accessing postgraduate studies independent of the hospital system. Interviewees strongly resent the bonding system that indentures them to that place of work.

Relevance to clinical practice

Quality health care is dependent on a well-educated, sustainable and skilled nursing workforce. Recognition of the concerns of newly graduated nurses in relation to nursing skill acquisition, workplace support issues and career concerns can assist in ensuring these issues are adequately addressed and in turn contribute to a stronger, more stable and competent nursing workforce.