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The experience of preparing for and transitioning to registered practice

28 March 2019
Volume 28 · Issue 6



over the past 10 years higher education institutions (HEIs) have redeveloped their nursing courses so that students follow a degree-level programme. The curriculum requires 50% of the total learning hours to be clinically based. This includes placements within the final year to assess management skills.


this study focuses on exploring retrospective experiences of learning and support within the final placements, as reflected upon by newly qualified nurses in one trust.


phenomenological one-to-one interviews were used, and data were analysed using Colaizzi's method.


the study found a positive experience of placements. The level of support final-placement students experienced was found to be dependent on staffing levels, commitment from staff and their passion for teaching. Placements were found to support preparation for practice. The impact of familiarity with a trust in improving transition was also recognised.


this study recommends supporting transition through targeted placements based on employment, solid links between the HEI and trusts and increased support and teaching for students.

Students' experiences of their final placements may contribute to their ability to transition into registered practice and may help to prevent ‘reality shock’ and burnout, first described by Kramer (1974), which is still evident in recent years (Broad et al, 2011; Walsh, 2015).

The undergraduate nursing curriculum has been revised regularly over the past 50 years, and particularly since the introduction of university-based training in the form of Project 2000 (Bradshaw, 2001a). We are in the process of reinvigorating pre-registration training once again following the publication of the new Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) standards (NMC, 2018a; 2018b; 2018c; 2018d). The current mentor system will be replaced by supervisor and assessor roles, where all registered nurses will be expected to undertake a supervisor role supporting students in their day-to-day practice. Students can, however, be supervised by any registered health professional. The formal assessment role will be undertaken by two assessors, a practice assessor and an academic assessor, who will provide formal assessment of practice and academic achievements. Each year of the programme will require a different academic assessor just as each practice period will have a different practice assessor.

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