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Graduate nurses’ experience of postgraduate education within a nursing entry to practice programme.

Stuart McDonald, RN, MHSc, Senior Lecturer, Department of Nursing and Health Studies, Manukau Institute of Technology, Auckland

Gail Willis, RN, PGDip (Health Science), Nurse Co-ordinator: Nurse Entry to Practice Programme (NETP) and Undergraduate Placements, Counties Manukau District Health Board, Auckland

Willem Fourie, RN, PhD, FCNA(NZ), Deputy HOD and Research Leader, Department of Nursing and Health Studies, Manukau Institute of Technology, Auckland

Bronwyn Hedgecock, RN, MHlth.Sci.Ed., Lecturer, School of Nursing, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Auckland, Auckland

McDonald, S., Willis, G., Fourie, W., & Hedgecock, B. (2009). Graduate nurses’ experience of postgraduate education within a nursing entry to practice programme. Nursing Praxis in New Zealand, 25(3), 17-26.

Abstract

The first year of practice is usually a challenging time for nursing graduates. In New Zealand most undertake a Nursing Entry to Practice (NETP) programme aimed at socialising them into their new role and work environment. Some of these programmes now have embedded postgraduate courses. This means that graduates undertake higher education while at the same time adjusting to a new role and work environment. Using a cross-sectional survey design the purpose of this study was to explore graduate nurses’ experiences of postgraduate education within a NETP programme. Overall, participants felt well prepared for postgraduate studies at academic, personal and professional levels, although most suggested that NETP programmes could allow for a stand-down period of three to four months before postgraduate education is introduced. This would give the graduate an opportunity to adjust to the clinical environment. They also highlighted the importance of making expectations clear from the outset. This study revealed that the number and nature of postgraduate courses offered in a NETP programme requires further investigation.

Key Words: Graduate nurse; nursing entry to practice programme; postgraduate education; cross-sectional survey.

Introduction

Various District Health Boards within New Zealand of fer postgraduate courses within their Nursing Entry to Practice (NETP) programmes. Graduates are therefore expected to perform the role of a beginning practitioner as well as embark on postgraduate education during their ..............cont.

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