The New-to-Setting Nurse

Understanding and Supporting Clinical Transitions

Jennifer Chicca, MS, RN


Am Nurs Today. 2019;14(9):22-25. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


All nurses experience a professional role transition when they move from student nurse to practicing nurse, and this transition is frequently accompanied by high stress and anxiety. Much literature has been devoted to understanding and supporting new graduates as they acclimate to their new professional roles.

Transitions among practicing nurses, however, have been studied far less, even though most will make at least one more professional role change, and many will make multiple moves throughout their careers. They may move away from their specialty area into advanced (advanced practice, academic or clinical educator, leadership) and/or lateral roles (staff positions in new settings, units, specialties, organizations). As their roles change, they may experience some of the same challenges they faced as new nurses. This article focuses on understanding lateral clinical (new-to-setting) transitions and the evidence-based strategies to support experienced nurses making a career change.