Australian Health Review Australian Health Review Society
Journal of the Australian Healthcare & Hospitals Association
RESEARCH ARTICLE

New graduate transition to practice: how can the literature inform support strategies?

Alis Moores A C and Cate Fitzgerald B
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Townsville Hospital and Health Service, Queensland Health, Douglas, Qld, 4814, Australia.

B Metro South Hospital and Health Service, Queensland Health, Woolloongabba, Qld, 4102, Australia. Email: Cate.Fitzgerald@health.qld.gov.au

C Corresponding author. Email: Alis.Moores@health.qld.gov.au

Australian Health Review 41(3) 308-312 https://doi.org/10.1071/AH15240
Submitted: 21 December 2015  Accepted: 6 May 2016   Published: 4 July 2016

Abstract

Objective The transition to practice for new graduate health professionals has been identified as challenging, with health services typically adopting a range of support and management strategies to assist safe professional practice. Queensland’s state-wide Occupational Therapy Clinical Education Program supporting new graduates within public sector health facilities conducted a narrative literature review to identify evidence-based recommended actions that would assist new graduate occupational therapists’ to transition from student to practitioner.

Method Searches of Medline, CINAHL and PubMed databases were used to locate articles describing or evaluating occupational therapy new graduate support actions.

Results The themes of supervision, support and education emerged from the literature. Additionally, four interactions were identified as factors potentially influencing and being influenced by the processes and outcomes of supervision, support and education actions. The interactions identified were professional reasoning, professional identity, an active approach to learning and reflective practice.

Conclusions The interactions emerging from the literature will serve to inform the delivery and focus of supervision, support and education for new graduate occupational therapists as they transition to practice. The results may have application for other health professions.

What is known about the topic? The transition to practice for new graduate occupational therapists has been reported as challenging with health services implementing various actions to support and assist this transition. A previous literature review of recommended support strategies could not be found providing an impetus for this enquiry.

What does this paper add? This narrative literature review identified three themes of actions supporting the transition of new graduates from student to practitioner. In addition to these themes of supervision, support and education, also emerging from the literature were factors identified as important to facilitating the transition of new graduates to the workplace. These factors, or interactions, are identified in this paper as professional reasoning, professional identity, an active approach to learning, and reflective practice. It is proposed that these interactions have an effect on and can be effected by supervision, support and education actions. The articulation between the interactions and the themes was a notable outcome emerging from this literature review.

What are the implications for practitioners? This literature review will assist those planning actions to guide new graduates’ transition into practice. It is proposed that the methods of implementing supervision, support and education actions are optimised by the identified interactions.


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