Abstract

Many new graduate nurses find the first year of work stressful and, because of this, consider leaving their employer early in their career. The purpose of this study is to describe new graduate nurses' experiences during their first year of practice and to explore factors that may lead them to consider leaving their employer. We held semi-structured interviews with 23 new graduate nurses in New Brunswick. Five themes emerged from the data: surviving the first months; induction into the hospital culture; struggling to maintain a balance; being a nurse: assuming a professional role; and strategic choices: looking at the future. The findings suggest that the first year at work continues to be difficult for new graduates. Several participants changed jobs during their first year, and several others were seriously considering leaving. This study provides a more comprehensive understanding of the reasons new graduate nurses decide to leave and describes strategies that may assist in retaining this important group of healthcare providers.