The Experience of Newly Qualified Professionial Nurses Allocated to Critical Care Units in Their First Year Post Graduation

Monday, 9 November 2015

Thembekile Masango, PhD, RN
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH STUDIES, University of South Africa, PRETORIA, South Africa

The purpose: The study was to explore and describe the lived experiences of newly qualified professional nurses allocated in ICUs during their first year post–graduation. Further it was to interpret the meaning that these newly qualified professional nurses attach to these experiences during their first year in the critical care unit.

Method and design: An explorative, descriptive, interpretative and qualitative design was conducted to explore the nurses’ experiences. Purposive sampling was used which is based on belief that the researcher’s knowledge about the population can be used to hand pick sample elements. Data was collected through in–depth unstructured interviews and written narratives which were transcribed into verbatim transcripts. A Collaizi’s method of data analysis was used.

Results: The study findings revealed that newly qualified professional nurses experienced difficulties and challenges in adjusting to the unit due to lack of mentors caused the shortage of staff and by the fact that the ICU environment different from the wards that they are used to. Positive and negative feelings regarding their relationship with colleagues in terms of support received were alluded upon.


The study recommended that nurses be exposed to intensive care units during their training. Even after completion they should be introduced to ICu after they have gained confidence in themselves as registered nurses. The study further recommended that mentoring of newly qualified professional nurses should be mandatory in ICU.

Key Concepts:

Critical care unit, critical care nurse, experience newly qualified professional nurse