Perceptions of New Baccalaureate Graduate Nurses Regarding the Adequacy of Nursing Education and Preparation for Professional Practice

Wednesday, 24 July 2013: 10:30 AM

Linda S. Johanson, RN, MS, EdD
Department of Nursing, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC

Learning Objective 1: Summarize the general impressions of new baccalaureate registered nurses with respect to their perceptions of the impact of their nursing education on their professional practice.

Learning Objective 2: Identify aspects of nursing education that new registered nurses perceive as particular omissions or, conversely, as superfluous with respect to their professional practice.


The research question explored for this study was, “What are the perceptions of new baccalaureate graduate nurses regarding the adequacy of their nursing education in preparing them for professional practice?” The goal was to determine if new baccalaureate nursing students perceived their education to be relevant for the current demands of the profession. 


The design was non-experimental, descriptive, survey research.  Data was gathered using a researcher-designed mailed survey with self-addressed, stamped return envelopes included.  The North Carolina State Board of Nursing was contacted for the addresses for baccalaureate registered nurses who had graduated within two years prior to June of 2012. 


This study found that overall students in the sample perceived their academic preparation to be favorable for transitioning into professional practice, however students desire more opportunities to practice clinical skills while in nursing school. Respondents also perceived that aspects of the health assessment content commonly included in nursing programs may not typically be useful in entry level nursing practice. 


Since a large percentage of the sample perceived inadequate clinical practice time, it is possible that new nurses might not feel completely competent with practice-related skills when beginning their professional careers.  Employers should take this into consideration when structuring orientation programs.  Additionally, the planners for curricula in baccalaureate programs might creatively and strategically consider ways to enlarge, or make more efficient the clinical practice opportunities for nursing students.