The pressures of transition

Draper, Jan (2018). The pressures of transition. Nursing Standard, 32(22) p. 35.



After years of study, sacrifice, burning the candle to get assignments in on time, completing practice hours and getting competencies signed off, you’ve finally made it. The dream that motivated you all these years – to make a difference to nursing, patients and colleagues – is now a reality, and you are on the threshold of stepping into your career as a qualified nurse.

So how does it feel? Is it how you thought it was going to be, or is the transition from student to newly qualified nurse much harder than you anticipated? If you’re newly qualified, what has been your experience so far? Or if you will be qualifying soon, how are you preparing for this next big move? Transitions in any context can be difficult as we make the journey from one status or identity to the next, and becoming a registered nurse is no different. An increasing amount of research suggests this can be a stressful and traumatic process, with new staff nurses feeling ill prepared or inadequate, like they’ve been thrown in at the deep end.

I recently had occasion to reflect on my own transition to being a registered nurse back in 1984, and what I would have liked to have known back then – a kind of letter to my younger self. So as you face the same transition, and embark on a career full of opportunity and learning, here are a few tips to help you through.

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