Date of Award

Summer 7-31-2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Susan Burger

Second Advisor

Ellen Abate

Third Advisor

Mary Ellen Doherty


The purpose of this qualitative descriptive study was to explore the experiences of baccalaureate prepared, new graduate nurses who participated in the Dedicated Education Unit (DEU) clinical learning model as students. These new graduate nurses had participated in a DEU clinical learning model during the senior year of their pre-licensed traditional baccalaureate nursing program. The DEU is one clinical learning model utilized in the preparation of nursing students for professional practice. Over forty years ago, Kramer’s (1974) seminal work, Reality Shock, brought insight to the challenges experienced by new graduate nurses during the transition from the role of nursing student to that of professional practice. Today, those challenges still exist. Given the complexities of the current healthcare environment, there continues to be a growing need to better prepare RNs for the transition from student nurse to professional practice. The two theories used as the framework that guided this study were Kramer’s (1974) Reality Shock Theory and Meleis, Sawyer, Im, Messias, & Schumacher’s (2000) Middle Range Theory of Transitions. Purposive sampling was employed; study participants were within their first year of professional practice. The research question guiding the study was: What are the experiences and perceived impacts of participation in a DEU clinical model during the senior year of a pre-licensure baccalaureate-nursing program on transition to professional practice? A qualitative descriptive study design was utilized. Purposive sampling and snowball technique were used, recruiting ten study participants. Initial participants represented a university and a health system. Personal interviews were conducted via FaceTime or telephone at a time convenient for study participants. Data collection was analyzed through coding and the use of NVIVO, a qualitative data analysis software. Five themes and two sub v themes emerged. These findings described the experiences of participating in the DEU and gave insight to how participation in the DEU impacted these new graduate nurses’ transition into professional practice. Participants found value in their experience in the DEU clinical learning model.

Available for download on Wednesday, September 29, 2021