Document Type

DNP Project


School of Nursing

Date of Degree

Spring 2018


Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Primary Advisor

Ellen Kurtzman, MPH, RN, FAAN PhD; Susan Watson, PhD, MSN, ARNP-C; Judith Elkins, PhD, MSN, MBA, RNC-OB


Background: In 2017, approximately 230,569 new Registered Nurses (RNs) were licensed in the United States. Of these, over a quarter will leave their first position in less than a year. While 90% of academic leaders feel nursing graduates are ready for practice, only 10% of clinical leaders agree. Recent changes in health care, and an intensifying theory-practice gap hint that newly licensed nurses (NLNs) may not be equipped for today’s workplace.

Objective: This qualitative project asked, “What do nurse managers and hospital educators perceive as required knowledge, skills and attitudes (KSAs) for NLNs to ensure successful and safe orientation or residency?”

Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with twelve nurse managers and hospital- based nurse educators responsible for orienting NLNs. Interviews were conducted between October 2017 and January 2018 in the Las Vegas, Nevada and Salt Lake City, Utah nursing markets.

Results: Ten themes emerged from the project. Among them “readiness to learn,” “customer service,” “physical assessment skills” and “empowerment” ranked highest. Understanding the KSAs hiring nurse managers felt NLNs should possess may help academia better prepare new nurses for today’s work environment.

Conclusion: Colleges of nursing and facility partners need to communicate more frequently to ensure graduates leave school prepared to enter the workforce with the knowledge and skills relevant to the current healthcare environment. Nursing is a science, and an art. Have we sacrificed the art of nursing to focus on the science only? Increased focus on the art of nursing may help the NLN in essential skill areas for today’s work environment.

Open Access




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