Objectives: The aim of this review was to identify best practices of formal new graduate nurse transition programs. This information would be useful for organizations in their support and development of formal transition programs for newly hired nurses. Design: An integrative review of the nursing research literature (2000-2011). Data sources: The literature search included PubMed (MEDLINE), the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), and the Excerpta Medica Database (Embase). Studies that dealt with programs geared toward pre-registration nursing students were removed. At least two researchers evaluated the literature to determine if the article met the inclusion and exclusion criteria. The final number of articles included in this review is 47. Review methods: Cooper's (1989) five-stage approach to integrative review guided the process: problem formulation, data collection, evaluation of data points, data analysis and interpretation, presentation of results. Results: Transition program literature was examined according to four major themes: Education (pre-registration and practice), Support/Satisfaction, Competency and Critical Thinking, and Workplace Environment. This included new graduates' retrospective accounts of their undergraduate education and examination of orientation and formal supports provided beyond the traditional unit orientation period. Transition programs included residencies, internships, mentorships, extended preceptorships, and generic programs. Common elements of programs were a specified resource person(s) for new graduates, mentor (mentorship), formal education, and peer support opportunities. The length, type of education, and supports provided varied considerably among programs, yet the presence of a transition program resulted in improved new graduate nurse retention and cost benefits. Conclusions: The variability in research designs limits the conclusions that can be drawn about best practices in transition programs for new graduate nurses. The presence of a formal new graduate transition program resulted in good retention and improved competency. The stronger evidence suggests that new graduate education should focus on practical skill development, preceptors should receive a level of formal training, formal support should be available at least through the difficult six to nine month post-hire period, opportunities for connection with their peers should be provided, and organizations should strive to ensure clinical units with healthy work environments.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Clinical competence, Education, New graduate, Nurse, Personnel selection, Personnel turnover, Staff development, Transition
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2012.06.009
Journal International Journal of Nursing Studies
Rush, K.L. (Kathy L.), Adamack, M. (Monica), Gordon, J. (Jason), Lilly, M, & Janke, R. (Robert). (2013). Best practices of formal new graduate nurse transition programs: An integrative review. International Journal of Nursing Studies (Vol. 50, pp. 345–356). doi:10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2012.06.009