Change the world

School of Clinical Care Sciences


ABSTRACT: The transition from student nurse to professional nurse has been acknowledged as being very stressful as final year nursing students try to consolidate the experience and knowledge gained during their four year training period and translate it into clinical decision making and problem solving skills applied in the working environment. The students require support and guidance to effect a successful transition from being a student to being a professional nurse. The transition of students in the military health setting might be experienced differently due to the context that is vastly different from the other health care settings (Moore, 2006: 541).

The aim of the research was to explore the experiences of final year nursing students concerning role transition, particularly their preparedness to take up the role of a professional nurse in the military health setting. Findings will be used to assist managers and educators better facilitate this transitional phase of becoming a professional nurse. The study used a three-phase approach. Phase one comprised of a qualitative approach, where semi-structured and focus group interviews were conducted to gather the data. Nurse managers, nurse educators, final year nursing students and novice professional nurses formed part of the population for the study. Creswell’s method of data analysis was employed in the analysis of data. The second phase comprised of a literature review concerning the transition from final year nursing student to that of a professional nurse. In phase three, based on data collected in the first two phases, a best practice guideline was developed to assist managers and educators better facilitate this transition period from student nurse to professional nurse.