Development and pilot testing of the graduate nurse transitional success scale to measure the transition to practice for the newly licensed registered nurse

Joset Brown, Emily Mahon, Jill Nocella


Background: The successful transition to independent practice of the Newly Licensed Registered Nurse (NLRN) secures patient safety and contribute to optimal patient outcomes. In a health care environment where patients present more acutely requiring more complex nursing care, the ability to ensure the NLRN’s successful transition to independent practice is crucial. A review of the literature identified a lack of a tested instrument to measure NLRN transitional success.

Methods: An instrument was developed to meet this deficit. Content validity was established from the literature and from the review of the newly developed tool by an expert panel of nurses. Reliability of the instrument was tested with a sample of 50 self-identified NLRNs who completed the survey anonymously via Qualtrics®.

Results: The final survey instrument consisted of 24 items rated using a 5-point Likert-type scale and five open ended questions. Internal consistency was assessed with Cronbach’s α with Total Score (24 items) α = .932 and the subcategories ranging from α = .770 (4 items) to α = .862 (4 items). Years of Experience was a statistically significant divider in terms of self-reported readiness, with those with 2-3 years' experience significantly different in mean total score from those with < 1 year and 1-2 years.

Conclusions: The development of a tool to measure transitional success for the NLRN is possible. Further confirmatory Factor Analysis of the tool with different groups of NLRNs is required. A valid, reliable instrument to evaluate a successful transition to practice allows for individualized transition plans, orientation periods, and ultimately patient safety.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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