• mentorship;
  • newcomer adaptation;
  • nurse education;
  • organisational socialisation;
  • peer support;
  • preceptorship;
  • professional issues;
  • students’ socialisation

Aims and objectives

To present a discussion on newcomer adaptation as a lens through which to understand how nursing students adapt to clinical practice and raise awareness of strategies that can be used to enhance their learning experiences.


Socialisation is an important factor that facilitates students’ learning in the clinical setting. Therefore, it is beneficial to examine organisational socialisation literature, particularly that pertaining to newcomer adaptation.


This is a critical review of organisational socialisation literature.


Seminal literature and more recent research in the field of organisational socialisation and newcomer adaptation were accessed. In addition, nursing and allied health literature examining students’ socialisation and the clinical learning environment was retrieved.


It is revealed in this article that to create an appropriate clinical learning environment, an understanding of socialisation tactics could be beneficial. Role modelling is deemed crucial to successful newcomer adaptation. Peer support is necessary but must be advocated with caution as it can have a negative impact when students form a ‘parallel community’. Students with some knowledge of the workplace tend to adapt more easily. Likewise, students’ disposition and, in particular, their confidence can also enhance the socialisation process.

Relevance to clinical practice

Both the organisation and the student can impact on how successfully the nursing student ‘fits in’. Understanding this through the lens of newcomer adaptation means that strategies can be put in place to facilitate this process.