New graduate nurses' experiences about lack of professional confidence

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Professional confidence is an essential trait for new graduate nurses to possess in order to provide quality patient care in today's complex hospital setting. However, many new graduates are entering the workforce without it and this remains to be explored. This study describes how new graduate nurses accounted for their lack of professional confidence upon entry into professional practice and how it developed during their first year of practice in the hospital setting. Two face-to-face, individual interviews of 12 participants were utilized to capture the lived experiences of new graduate nurses to gain an understanding of this phenomenon. After manual content analysis seven themes emerged: communication is huge, making mistakes, disconnect between school and practice, independence, relationship building, positive feedback is important, and gaining experience. The findings indicate that the development of professional confidence is a dynamic process that occurs throughout the first year of practice. New graduate nurses must experience both positive and negative circumstances in order to move toward the attainment of professional confidence. Knowing this, nurse educators in academia as well as in the hospital setting may better support the development of professional confidence both before and during the first year of practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-24
Number of pages6
JournalNurse Education in Practice
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Nursing
  • Education


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