What Newly Licensed Registered Nurses Have to Say about Their First Experiences


More than 85,000 nurses graduated in 2005, which seems like a large number. Research, however, has revealed that many new nurses leave their positions in hospitals within one year of starting them. In an effort to gain a better understanding of nurses’ needs and wants, this study surveyed more than 600 newly licensed registered nurses (NLRNs) to explore their perceptions of their first jobs. Data were collected from a questionnaire sent to NLRNs living in 33 states and the District of Columbia. An option to add comments was provided at the end of the survey. This study collected those comments and analyzed them to better understand a nurse’s expectations and experience.

The content analysis revealed five themes:

  1. Colliding expectations, which meant inconsistencies between what participants were taught in nursing school and actual clinical practice.
  2. Requirement to be up to speed on the job from day one.
  3. Too much is expected of them.
  4. Mistreatment (including verbal abuse) of new nurses by physicians and colleagues.
  5. Hope for the future.

It is clear from the content analysis that the working environment where nurses begin their careers is in need of reform.

The RN Work Project

  1. 1. Newly Licensed RNs' Characteristics, Work Attitudes, and Intentions to Work
  2. 2. Addressing the Complexities of Survey Research
  3. 3. A Comparison of Second-Degree Baccalaureate and Traditional-Baccalaureate New Graduate RNs
  4. 4. Understanding New Registered Nurses' Intent to Stay at Their Jobs
  5. 5. The Nursing Career Process from Application Through the First 2 Years of Employment
  6. 6. What Newly Licensed Registered Nurses Have to Say about Their First Experiences
  7. 7. Moving on, Up, or Out
  8. 8. Generational Differences Among Newly Licensed Registered Nurses
  9. 9. New Nurses Views of Quality Improvement Education
  10. 10. Newly Licensed RNs Describe What They Like Best about Being a Nurse
  11. 11. Early Career RNs' Perceptions of Quality Care in the Hospital Setting
  12. 12. Commuting to Work
  13. 13. State Mandatory Overtime Regulations and Newly Licensed Nurses' Mandatory and Voluntary Overtime and Total Work Hours
  14. 14. Work Environment Factors Other Than Staffing Associated with Nurses' Ratings of Patient Care Quality
  15. 15. The Relative Geographic Immobility of New Registered Nurses Calls for New Strategies to Augment that Workforce
  16. 16. Predictors of Actual Turnover in a National Sample of Newly Licensed Registered Nurses Employed in Hospitals
  17. 17. Charting the Course for Nurses' Achievement of Higher Education Levels
  18. 18. Verbal Abuse From Nurse Colleagues and Work Environment of Early Career Registered Nurses
  19. 19. Early-Career Registered Nurses' Participation in Hospital Quality Improvement Activities
  20. 20. Positive Work Environments of Early-Career Registered Nurses and the Correlation with Physician Verbal Abuse