Graduate nurses’ experiences of mental health services in their first year of practice: An integrative review

Mary-Ellen Hooper, Graeme Browne, Anthony (Tony) O’Brien

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


New graduate nurses have reported negative experiences in mental health settings,
particularly during the transitional period of practice. Previous research has focused on addressing the undergraduate preparation of nurses for practice instead of the experiences and outcomes of the transitional period. Recently, there has been growing interest in exploring the experiences of graduate nurses in transition and the implementation of promising interventions to facilitate new graduates’ assimilation to practice. Despite these initiatives, the overall shortage of mental health nurses continues to rise, and graduates still report negative experiences in the mental health setting. The purpose of this study was to identify and explore the experiences of new graduate nurses in mental health services in their first year of clinical practice. An integrative review was conducted with 22 studies sourced from the CINAHL, PubMed, Scopus, and PsychINFO electronic databases, as well as through hand-searching
the literature. Literature review findings have highlighted negative clinical experiences and increased attrition from mental health services for graduate nurses. These experiences were closely linked with the changes in the training of mental health nurses, role ambiguity, inadequate clinical preceptorship, encountering the reality of mental health services, and the role of health services in transitioning graduate
nurses into clinical practice. Established research into organizational cultures demonstrates that negative organizational outcomes result from negative workplace experiences. Therefore, further research into new graduate nurses’ experiences of mental health nursing and its culture might clarify the reasons why they might not be attracted to the discipline and/or are leaving early in their career.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)286-298
Number of pages13
JournalThe Australian and New Zealand journal of mental health nursing
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Graduate nurses’ experiences of mental health services in their first year of practice: An integrative review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this