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Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Nursing



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Graduating from a baccalaureate program as a new registered nurse is a great accomplishment. The years of academic study and integrated clinical experiences combine in an intensive curriculum for all nursing students. Apart from the classroom work, the clinical aspect is integral to the development of a nurse, whether it is with a clinical instructor during the program, or with a preceptor towards the end of the nursing program. The clinical experiences provide critical opportunities for the purpose of preparing students to become confident and ready to be productive in the work force. The literature abounds with research about the state of new nurse graduates in their new role. Although their practicum education should prepare them for the great responsibility of the Registered Nurse’s (RN) role, new nurses often feel like they do not possess the expertise to perform adequately in their chosen career. A certain level of stress is expected in every new role, but to feel inadequate to deliver care puts patients at risk. In any setting where such new nurses find themselves, the feeling of incompetence affects practice, including patient care. While there is evidence of the problem in the literature, there is less known about how the student-preceptor relationship impacts students’ perceptions of their self-reported competence in learned clinical skills, acquired self-esteem and readiness to work as a Registered Nurse (RN). The aim of this study was to describe and explore the relationship between student report of preceptor characteristics and student-preceptor relationship in the final pre-graduation clinical experience (also known as practicum, capstone, clinical intensive etc.) and (a) personal self-esteem; (b) selected student learned professional competencies/skills; and (c) student self reported readiness to begin practicing as a Registered Nurse (RN). V This study used a web based survey of a national sample of more than 1,000 graduating seniors from baccalaureate programs who are members of the National Nursing Students’ Association (NSNA). This descriptive correlational study identified how the student-preceptor relationship influences these new nurses as they are about to enter their careers as registered professional nurses.

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