The Process of Adaptation to the Ward Environment and Identity Shock of the Graduate Nurses: Focusing on the Experiences in their Early Stages

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Mihoko Miyawaki, PhD
School of Health Care and Nursing, Juntendo University, Chiba, Japan

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to know the distinctive experience of graduate nurses in the early stages.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to understand @the concept of@feeling of discontinuity the distinctive experience of new graduate nurses in the early stages.

Purpose: The present study was conducted to illustrate clearly the experiences described by graduate nurses in the early stages of their professional careers through their interaction with the ward environment.
Methods: The study was designed to employ episode interviews for qualitative description. The participants were recruited using the network sampling method. A total of 13 nurses  participated in the study. According to the interview guide, participants were asked about their experiences they had since they started their professional careers. This research was approved by Research Ethics Committee.
Results: Five themes were extracted from the data of the experiences which the graduate nurses have had in the early stages of their professional carrier. These were a pressure as a nurse which they had never experienced in their own life, a meaning of their existence in the ward, a competence to adapt themselves to the ward, an identity shock, and a satisfaction in accomplishing nursing. The interpretations of these different themes were affected by and depended on the workplace atmosphere in the ward. The workplace atmosphere in the ward significantly affected the interpretations of the nurses’ experiences relating to these different themes. In the early stage, most of the participants felt the pressure as a nurse, and the loneliness in the ward. However, they accepted themselves as they were, started to adjust their views to reality and then actively tried to accommodate themselves to the wards. Subsequently, they became used to the ward and to working there and then they experienced an identity shock. This shock experienced at the beginning of their careers remained in the participants’ memories more deeply and became valuable for them to grow further.Conclusion: The problem is a reduction of "Feeling of discontinuity" experienced by the process of role transition from the nursing student to the nurse.