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1304 – Are new registered nursing graduates adequately prepared to be competent practitioners? A Victorian study

Background
Evidence from the literature and anecdotally from clinical settings suggests that newly graduated nurses are not fully prepared to be independent practitioners in healthcare settings, and the transition from nursing student to graduate continues to be stressful and problematic.

Introduction
Qualified nurses employed in Victoria, Australia, were invited to participate in an online survey on the clinical competence of newly registered nursing graduates. This paper reports on findings from this survey which rated new nursing graduates’ abilities in the following seven areas: physical assessments skills, clinical skills, medication administration, emergency procedures, communication skills, preparedness for nursing practice, and coping with the work environment.

Results
Overall participants rated new nursing graduates’ abilities for undertaking clinical skills as good/very good in 35.3% of skills, 33.3% were rated as adequate and 31.4% rated as being performed poorly/very poorly.  A secondary aim of this study was to determine whether the views of qualified nurses differ according to their demographic characteristics, clinical setting and geographical location in which they work.    Significant differences (p ≤ 0.05) were found according to age of the nurse, number of years registered, the educational setting in which nurses undertook their nursing education, their role, and the clinical area in which they work.

Conclusion
Findings from this research will provide evidence to support education providers and health care organisations in developing clinical education models that provide quality learning experiences for graduates to ensure they are clinically competent, with the ultimate aim of improving the quality of patient care.

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