The experiences of new graduate nurses working in a pediatric setting: A qualitative systematic review

  • Christine Taylor
    Corresponding author at: School of Nursing and Midwifery, Western Sydney University, Building EB.LG, Parramatta South Campus, Locked Bag 1797, Penrith, NSW 2751, Australia.
    School of Nursing and Midwifery, Western Sydney University, Locked Bag 1797, Penrith, NSW 2751, Australia

    The New South Wales Centre for Evidence Based Health Care (NSWCEBHC), School of Nursing and Midwifery, Western Sydney University, Locked Bag 1797, Penrith, NSW 2751, Australia
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  • Jann Foster
    School of Nursing and Midwifery, Western Sydney University, Locked Bag 1797, Penrith, NSW 2751, Australia

    The New South Wales Centre for Evidence Based Health Care (NSWCEBHC), School of Nursing and Midwifery, Western Sydney University, Locked Bag 1797, Penrith, NSW 2751, Australia

    Ingham Research Institute, Liverpool, NSW 2170, Australia
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      • Meta-aggregation of 9 studies identified the experiences of new graduates in a pediatric setting.
      • Monitoring and surveillance of new graduates requires a fine balance by preceptors and colleagues.
      • Transition experiences should be planned collaboratively with new graduates.
      • Some new graduates struggled with the expectations of themselves and others.
      • There needs to be more quality studies undertaken in different cultures and countries.



      To synthesize the literature regarding the experiences of new graduate nurses working in a pediatric setting.


      The transition experiences of new graduate nurses can be stressful and challenging. Pediatric settings may cause additional stress due to the unique nature of children's nursing and its' environment.

      Inclusion criteria

      Qualitative studies of any design and qualitative components of mixed method studies that explored the experiences of new graduate nurses in a pediatric setting were included in this review: neonatal intensive care units and special care nurseries were excluded.


      The JBI meta-aggregation approach for synthesizing qualitative data was followed. Databases searched were CINAHL, MEDLINE (Ovid), APA PsycInfo, Scopus, PubMed Central, ERIC, and ProQuest Dissertations and Theses. Studies published between January 2000 and January 2022 inclusive were considered.


      2229 records were screened, and nine studies selected. From the nine studies 203 findings were included, resulting in 19 categories and five synthesized findings. The synthesized findings related to support, developing identity and role transition, working conditions and environment, fear and uncertainty, and career and goal planning.


      New graduates in a pediatric setting required support that took account of their development needs with consistent preceptorship. Being considered part of a team and the support of other team members were important in developing identity as a new graduate nurse in a pediatric setting. Working conditions for the new graduate needed to be safe, and new graduates also felt fearful and uncertain when it came to their new accountability and responsibilities.


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