Date of Award


Document Type


Copyright Status, No Creative Commons License

All Rights Reserved

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Nursing




Background: The transition into practice of new graduate nurses continues to be of concern to the nursing profession. Smooth transition into practice takes on increased importance in the current era of healthcare transformation and resulting impact on the clinical environments within which nurses practice. It is important to study the stressors and challenges new graduates face in the practice environment. Methods: This descriptive study utilized secondary data analysis to explore new graduate nurses' self-report of clinical stressors during their transition into the professional RN role. Meleis’ Transitions Theory and Lazarus and Folkman’s Transactional Model of Stress and Coping provided the theoretical framework for the study. The study purpose was to identify sources of work environment stress and their magnitude as stressors perceived by new graduate registered nurses during their first year of clinical practice in acute care settings. The study additionally sought to examine trends in stress levels over time and identify factors that may be predictive of stress levels in new graduate nurses. Findings: The study utilized a large national sample of new graduate nurses responding to the National Student Nurses Association annual assessment of new graduates. Quantitative data analyses from this study identified that stressors related to work environment, interpersonal work environment characteristics, and unpredictable work environment characteristics were perceived differently by new graduate nurses based on gender, age, and education. The study additionally revealed there were significant increases in the level of stress perceived by new graduates between 2013 through 2015. Conclusions: As new graduates enter demanding practice environments, smooth transitions are vital. Knowing the new graduate experience from these data is essential to enable nurse leaders in education and practice settings to develop interventions to diminish work environment stressors for new graduate nurses and support their successful transition into professional practice.

Related Pillar(s)


Included in

Nursing Commons