New graduate RN’s could be a relatively untapped resource to address the issue of the ageing workforce in primary health care (PHC), and fulfil the vision of increasing the opportunities for nurses and nursing in the community. This quantitative non-experimental descriptive study has explored employers’ perceptions of new graduate registered nurses’ preparedness to work in primary health care. The research also looked at what support the workforce has put in place for their new graduates. The participants surveyed were PHC directors of nurses, nurse managers and nurse leaders who employed new graduate registered nurses.
International research purporting that new graduates are not prepared to work in primary health, the seminal work on socialisation of Judy Duchscher and low employment rates for new graduates provided the context for this study.
This research has revealed that new graduates are work ready in a number of key primary health care nursing areas of practice. Chronic illness care, family health and child health were identified as areas where new graduates are not as well prepared. Participants placed high value on socialisation of new graduates into the workforce.
New graduate registered nurses are the future primary health care workforce and we need to grow and support them in their transition from nursing student to new graduate. Do we do this well in New Zealand?
Key words: Primary health care; new graduates; socialisation.