Transition Into a Professional Nurse

Subject: Nursing
Pages: 5
Words: 1190
Reading time:
5 min
Study level: Bachelor

The transition from a student to a professional nurse is a life-changing experience that requires courage, fearlessness, and stress-resistance. There are several important steps to make for a successful start of a nursing career. At first, joining the National Student Nurses Association and participating in its activities can help during the transition. The second step is to find a work aside chosen hospital, but related to nursing. It broadens the understanding of the profession and helps to find mentors or people with the same interests. Thirdly, volunteering, and participating in some nursing conventions can help in getting into the new work. Lastly, the anticipated challenges need to be determined to find ways of dealing with them during the transition period. Edwards et al. (2019) state that “newly qualified nurses can have difficulty adjusting to working in a clinical environment, negative experiences, including reality shock and burnout during the first year of practice” (p. 157). Thus, the transition period vastly impacts the whole career as it sets the expectations and shows the reality beyond academic circumstances.

California is the chosen state, and its Board of Nursing (2020) requires multiple criteria for getting a license. The first criterion is the presence of a Registered Nursing license of any other state. To follow it, getting the license from a home state is a useful practice, as well as taking the National Council Licensure Examination to apply. The second criterion, as per The Board of Registered Nursing website, is to meet the required prerequisites set by the California Code of Regulations Section 1426, in addition to a nursing program. It includes communication skills, such as oral, written, and group speaking, as well as natural sciences like anatomy, physiology, and Microbiology. The third criterion is to be ready to pay fees and renew the license every two years, which is also a paid option in California. A nurse can reach to the Medical Board of California to receive financial aid for licenses.

The preferred fields are float or intense care nursing, thus the positions to work in California as a new graduate are to be found considering the choice. Vacancies found after the research: registered intensive care nurse at Sutter Roseville Medical Center, floating nurse in San Mateo, and intensive care nurse at Santa Rosa Center. The motivators to work at Sutter Roseville Medical Center are the high authority of this hospital, the ability to be around professionals, yet the detractor is the absence of bonuses and no promises of career moves. The benefit of the vacancy of San Mateo is that it includes the night and on-call shifts, which give more spare time for other educational or professional activities. However, the disadvantage is that the hospital does not have any professionals to mentor. Sutter Roseville Medical Center motivates to work because of its flexible shift system and career opportunities. The detractor of this Medical Center is strict working requirements and standards. All of these positions require at least six months of practicing, Registered Nursing license, and skills such as communication, stress tolerance, and willingness to get new knowledge.

Holistic Life Balance

The vital part of a nurse’s wellbeing is to keep its holistic balance both in work and life environment. Nursing is challenging, and it is necessary to get stress-resistance habits during the first year of work and apply them throughout the whole career. To maintain the holistic balance, nurses need to provide high-quality care for themselves that includes proper nutrition, active life, and mental health management. Thus, habits like strict sleeping and eating schedules, meditation, and exercising can lead to a more mindful and balanced life.

At five years of work, burnout might appear, and a nurse must take care of herself to avoid severe consequences. Burnout often arises from a nurse’s constant emotional labor, so practices to deal with emotions need to be used to maintain the balance. Getting rest, defining life purpose, solving problems as they appear, and having people share feelings are helpful for the emotions’ management. Moreover, an organization where nurses work has to take care of their emotional conditions to avoid burnout. Kim (2020) states that hospitals “need to identify how nurses perceive organizationally desired emotional labor and how they cope with the emotional labor” (p. 110). These habits and practices are applicable for work and life, so applying them is crucial for keeping a balanced lifestyle.

Stressors and Challenges

When the professional goal is to be a floating, intense care, or any other type of nurse, many stressors and challenges appear on such a career path. Some several stressors and challenges arise during the first year of being a professional nurse: workload, role changing, lack of knowledge, adaption at working atmosphere, and communication problems (Wong et al., 2018). To manage each of these challenges, nurses must be ready for changes and remind themselves of the goals they aim to achieve in life. Moreover, lack of knowledge, adaptation, and communication stressors can be solved if a nurse is brave enough to make mistakes and learn through all of the career spans.

Five years of working experience can teach a nurse to deal with stressors met at the beginning of a career, yet the new challenges will also appear. Emotional burnout on work, failed professional expectations, and doubts about life and work purposes are the expected stressors at five years stage. To manage them, rethinking the goals, and changing the field of work will help, as well as getting more education or a higher degree in a chosen subject.

Lifelong Learning

Lifelong learning is vital for nurses to gain knowledge to become capable of dealing with a variety of patients. Moreover, new data from research and medical practice appears every year, and awareness of these changes leads to a successful career. California board of registered nursing (2020) requires a nurse to renew the license every two years by getting thirty hours of continuing education. At first, getting a higher nursery category is essential, then some specific programs might be attended, such as basic courses in physical, social, and behavioral sciences. Aside from the nursing programs, a broader education might be obtained, for instance, a degree in psychology from the University of California. It might be a useful educational background while dealing with patients and their families during intense therapy nursing.

Professional Contributions

Joining professional nursing communities is the most convenient way of being aware of changes in the professional, exchanging experience, and solving job-related problems. The National Student Nurses Association is the one to become a part of during the transition: the first year of working as its members can assist with early career development. Within the five years of work, valuable organizations like the American Nurses Association of California, and California Coalition of Nurse Practitioners are to be joined. Nurses need to have their own professional development by measuring the outcomes for quality improvement. Nurses can evaluate how their work affects patients’ treatment results, collect the data, and improve the skills and weak points. Moreover, the experience exchange in professional communities can be used to set quality requirements and goals for nurses and bring safer care for patients.


California board of registered nursing. (2020). Web.

Edwards, D., Carrier, J., & Hawker, C. (2019). Effectiveness of strategies and interventions aiming to assist the transition from student to newly qualified nurse: An update systematic review protocol. JBI Evidence Synthesis, 17(2), 157-163. Web.

Kim, J. S. (2020). Emotional labor strategies, stress, and burnout among hospital nurses: A path analysis. Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 52(1), 105-112. Web.

Wong, S. W. J., Che, W. S. W., Cheng, M. T. C., Cheung, C. K., Cheung, T. Y. J., Lee, K. Y.,… & Yip, S. L. (2018). Challenges of fresh nursing graduates during their transition period. Journal of Nursing Education and Practice, 8(6), 30-37. Web.