Monash University

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How graduate nurses adapt to individual ward culture

posted on 2017-11-09, 04:10 authored by Caterina Feltrin
Being a graduate nurse and transitioning from a novice to a beginner Registered Nurse in the first year of practice is stressful, challenging and overwhelming due to steep learning curves and adjusting to working in professional environments. How Graduate Nurses socially adapt and fit in to ward cultures is a hurdle to successful transition and can be challenging.
The objective of the research was to gain an increased understanding of the strategies Graduate Nurses utilise on a day-to-day basis to integrate themselves into pre-existing social frameworks.
A qualitative constructivist grounded theory methodology was utilised. Seven Graduate Nurses were interviewed using open-ended questions in an unstructured format. Transcripts were transcribed verbatim. Data analysis processes included initial coding, focused coding, theory building, memo-writing and theoretical sampling.
Three main categories were found: self-embodiment and self-consciousness, navigating the social constructs and raising consciousness, shedding light on Graduate Nurse adaptation to individual ward culture. Supporting sub-categories encompass the strategies that Graduate Nurses utilise to facilitate adaptation and fitting in to complex clinical environments and ward cultures. Resulting concepts and theory development detail how Graduate Nurses find the delicate balance between social and professional priorities to facilitate fitting in.
Understanding these coping strategies can inform improvements in Graduate Nurse transition programmes. Teaching opportunities need to focus beyond patient care, to facilitating and enhancing Graduate Nurse adaptation as the vanguard to creating more resilient nurses ready to face the challenges that exist in today’s work environments.


Principal supervisor

Jennifer Newton

Additional supervisor 1

Georgina Willetts

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre

School of Nursing and Midwifery

Campus location



Master of Nursing

Degree Type



Faculty of Medicine Nursing and Health Sciences

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