Date of Award

Spring 2019

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Nursing

First Advisor

Bratt, Marilyn M.

Second Advisor

McCarthy, Donna

Third Advisor

Hagle, Mary

Abstract

Problem: Approximately 70% of newly graduated nurses work in hospital settings, but their turnover rates are high, costly to employers, and due, in part, to lack of satisfaction with job orientation processes. Effective preceptorship is widely regarded as pivotal to newly graduated nurses’ successful transition to the professional nurse role; yet, the critical elements of preceptorship have not been empirically determined. Numerous researchers proffer the preceptor - newly graduated nurse interpersonal relationship as key, but preceptorship research has not been focused on this dyadic interaction. Consequently, its true impact remains unknown. Accordingly, this study addressed the following research question, “Are the effects of preceptorship a function of the preceptor – newly graduated nurse interpersonal relationship?”Methodology: A reciprocal, standard dyadic design was used. Survey participants included 50 preceptor-newly graduated nurse dyads recruited from nine Midwestern U.S. hospitals. The differences between and relationships among dyad-member perceptions of the preceptorship experience, newly graduated nurse competence, and work engagement were explored. Informed by Kashy and Kenny’s (2000) Actor –Partner Interdependence Model, actor and partner effects of the preceptorship experience on work engagement and perceptions of newly graduated nurse competence were explored using Bayesian inference analyses.Results: Approximately 42% and 52% of the variance in preceptors’ and newly graduated nurses’ perceptions of newly graduated nurse competence, respectively, were predicted by their collective perceptions of the preceptorship experience. Dyad-member perceptions of the preceptorship experience strongly predicted their own perceptions of newly graduated nurse competence. Preceptor perceptions of the preceptorship experience weakly predicted newly graduated nurse work engagement. Newly graduated nurse perceptions of the preceptorship experience predicted neither their own nor their preceptor’s work engagement.Conclusions: Findings of this study provide initial evidence that preceptor and newly graduated nurse perceptions of the preceptorship experience have direct effects on work engagement and perceptions of newly graduated nurse competence. Therefore, hospital employers should take care to ensure positive preceptorship experiences, including the development of effective preceptor – newly graduated nurse interpersonal relationships, to achieve desired outcomes. Ongoing dyadic preceptorship research is needed to further establish the preceptor-newly graduated nurse relationship as a critical determinant of preceptorship outcomes.

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