Despite the considerable reform in nursing education, the debate regarding Graduate RN (GRN) practice readiness is ongoing. This debate is in part, reflective of a difference in opinion between nurses in education and practice sectors, as to whether recently graduated RNs are in fact practice ready. But what does practice readiness mean?
In order to understand this longstanding debate, a Grounded Theory study examined the phenomenon of practice readiness from the perspectives of nurse unit managers (n=7 NUMs) from the acute care practice sector, and Bachelor of Nursing program coordinators (n=9 BNPCs) from the education sector. Semi-structured interviews were used to collect data following ethical approval. The process of constant comparative data analysis resulted in the emergence of the theory Practice Readiness: A Nebulous Construct.
Findings suggest that as a result of contextual influences and varying system drivers, BNPCs and NUMs in Australia inhabit disparate realities. When it comes to practice readiness, these cohorts view new GRNs through different lenses and as such, have different perspectives and expectations of GRNs. Practice readiness is indeed a nebulous concept as it means different things to different people. These findings have implications for policy, education and practice to consider a new world where all stakeholders involved in preparing the future nursing workforce have an equal say and a shared understanding of what practice readiness means. Perhaps it is time to define what it is that we mean by practice readiness or the debate will continue for many more decades.
Key words: Graduate nurse; practice readiness; fitness to practise; transition to practice.