The experiences of new graduate nurses hired into adult intensive care units



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It is a common practice that new graduate Registered Nurses (NGRNs) are hired into adult Intensive Care Units (ICUs) on initial entry into practice. There exists a practice readiness gap between nursing curricula and actual clinical practice expectations at adult ICU settings. This practice readiness gap can lead to negative consequences and subsequent nurse turnover, which is a concern nationwide. Nonetheless, many NGRNs survived their initial transition and continue to practice at adult ICU settings. The purpose of this study was to explore the experiences of nurses who were hired into adult ICU as NGRNs and were starting their third year of practice. Nurses hired into critical care areas tend to exhibit competence within two years of initial hire (Benner, Kyriakidis, & Stannard, 2011). The study used the hermeneutic phenomenology research approach. Data analysis revealed the overall meaning of the experience: coming to terms with being comfortable with being uncomfortable. The six themes associated with being comfortable with being uncomfortable were confidence and uncertainty, gaining experiences and forever learning, intuitive knowing and intuition, difficult and stressful, being courageous and assertive, and the team and persons of support. NGRNs can survive to become competent adult ICU nurses; however, the findings of this research reveal the need to promote exposure to clinical situations, resilience and self care, and teamwork and mentoring to ensure successful transition and overall retention of new nurses hired into in adult ICU.



Critical care nursing, Intensive care nursing, New graduate nurses, Hermeneutic phenomenology, Competence