From Nursing Student to Registered Nurse: Development of Resilience and Professional Self

Monday, 9 November 2015

Tammy D. Barbé, PhD, RN, CNE
Georgia Baptist College of Nursing, Mercer University, Atlanta, GA, USA

Resilience is identified as the ability to successfully cope with or rebound from adversity. Individuals with higher levels of resilience are more adaptable to change than those less resilient. While resilience has been studied in numerous clinical populations, little is known about resilience in nursing students and nurses. Nursing requires a high-degree of self-giving. Nurses are often required to work in environments with inadequate staffing, critically ill patients, and need to make rapid life-changing decisions. They interact daily with patients and caregivers in distress. Higher resilience in nursing students may help them navigate the transition into the role of a practicing nurse and ameliorate the multiple stressors that may lead to decisions to leave the nursing workforce.

The purpose of this study is to investigate how professional development, professional values, and resilience of baccalaureate degree nurses evolve over time, by following individuals from entry into a nursing program until five years post-graduation. In addition, the changes in these variable over time will be examined with respect to race, to examine whether the experiences of students from racial minorities is different from students who are not from racial minorities.

A non-experimental, longitudinal study is in progress. Demographic variables collected for the sample include age, gender, race, ethnicity, marital status, any prior degrees, and experiences working in healthcare prior to or while in the baccalaureate program. Three validated questionnaires are administered at five points in time, upon program entry, at the end of the junior year, at graduation, at one year following graduation, and at five years following graduation. The Professional Development Self-Assessment Matrix (PDSAM) is administered to determine the level of professional development for each participant. Nurses Professional Values Scale- Revised (NPVS-R) is administered to measure professional nursing values. Resiliency is measured using the Resilience Scale (RS) developed by Wagnild and Young.

At this point in the study, participants were surveyed at program entry and again at the end of the junior year. Descriptive statistics were used to characterize the sample and examine individual items and subscales. Repeated measures ANOVA, one per variable, were conducted to determine whether there was a significant change over time from initial program admission to the end of junior year. This presentation will be a discussion of the first year findings.