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  1. Moore, Linda Weaver PhD, RN, CNS, CNL
  2. Kelly, Cynthia W. PhD, RN, CCP, CNL
  3. Schmidt, Susan PhD, RN, CNS, COHN-S, CNL
  4. Miller, Margaret EdD, RN, CNS
  5. Reynolds, Marie MSN, RN, CNL


Objective: The purpose of this study was to gain an understanding of the transition-to-practice experience of second-degree prelicensure master's graduates.


Background: Second-degree graduates are increasingly joining the nursing workforce. Scant empirical literature exists regarding this group.


Methods: Using a qualitative design, second-degree prelicensure master's graduates were interviewed 3 times through a 10-month period regarding their transition to practice.


Results: Participants chose nursing positions based on their perceived ability to grow. Two strengths of the participants included their ability to think critically and to establish relationships. Participants expressed typical novice nurse concerns. Residency and intern programs enhanced their transition to practice. Participants perceived their interactions with the health team as positive, and graduates urged administrators to use their knowledge gained from previous degrees.


Conclusions: Findings enhance understanding of how second-degree prelicensure master's graduates transition to practice. Understanding their transition is imperative if these graduates are to be recruited and used at their fullest potential. Such insights can also help nurse administrators better support these new hires during the transition process.