Good Work in Nursing: A Comparison of BSN Graduate Perceptions on Entry into Practice and One Year Later

Tuesday, 23 July 2013: 11:25 AM

Dorette Sugg Welk, PhD, RN
Faculty Emeritus, Department of Nursing, Bloomsburg University, Bloomsburg, PA
M. Christine Alichnie, PhD, RN
Department of Nursing, Chair and Professor Emerita, Bloomsburg University, Bloomsburg, PA

Learning Objective 1: Identify characteristics and applications of good work in nursing that broadly influence preparing the BSN graduate for practice settings and assisting with work place adaptations.

Learning Objective 2: Discuss the global implications for applications to work place settings and practices of BSN graduates at two comparable points in their early careers.

Purpose: The purpose of Phase I of this qualitative longitudinal study was to describe the perceptions of new BSN graduates about what constitutes good work in nursing (GWN) as they entered their first professional positions compared to Phase II one-year after the initial employment was underway. Efforts to reduce the nursing shortage through identification of issues that affect retention and avoid “burn-out” of nurses are in order.  

Methods: A purposive sample of 12 graduates met criteria as having fewer than three months of experience in the work environment and a recommendation from a faculty member. Each participant was interviewed for approximately one-hour using a semi-structured interview protocol adapted from the GoodWork Project©. Perceptions were obtained for both phases regarding beliefs, values, goals, responsibilities, opportunities, supports, obstacles, pressures, and conditions of the domain. Content analysis of verbatim transcripts and researcher triangulation were used to identify category descriptors and themes. The identical methods were employed for both phases.

Results: Examples of results after one year included that BSN graduates expanded care focus to that which is more holistic, with an increasing sense of responsibility not equal to scope of authority, still unwilling to compromise patient safety, increasing use of research in practice, viewing role models as primarily peers versus formal mentors, and aligning with co-workers with similar values.

Conclusion: After one year, BSN graduates sustain a set of core values and behaviors and expand their views based primarily on unit-based activities with patients, nurses, and physicians. Graduates can identify responsibilities, obstacles with suggestions for overcoming them, and leadership characteristics which can inform the nurse leaders at both time frames to support new graduates. Understanding factors which play a role in promoting good work in nursing deemed to be of high quality and socially responsible may influence curricular and institutional change.