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Onboarding, primary care, transition to practice, new graduate, physician assistant transition, nurse practitioner transition, role clarity, role performance effectiveness, self-efficacy, organizational commitment, electronic health record, mentorship, self-confidence, recent graduate



  1. Ortiz Pate, Nathalie PA-C, MPH, MHPE (Assistant Professor)


Background: Many new graduate primary care physician assistants (PAs) and nurse practitioners (NPs) can experience stress and difficulty as they transition to practice. Feelings of anxiety and role ambiguity are common and can lead to costly turnover, impact care continuity, and place patients at risk for poor clinical outcomes. Onboarding, the process of helping new hires adjust to social and performance aspects of their new job and has the potential to ease transition to practice for PAs and NPs. Recent research has linked PA/NP onboarding programs to increased engagement, decreased turnover, and higher clinical productivity.


Purpose: To describe new graduate PA and NP perspectives of onboarding programs they completed in their first primary care position.


Methodology: Thirteen semistructured interviews were conducted with new graduate PAs and NPs who participated in onboarding programs. Interviews were transcribed and then analyzed using an inductive coding methodology.


Results: Analyses revealed nine thematic concepts that are described within two frameworks. Structural components include improving competence, training on the electronic health record, promoting mentorship, orienting to organizational dynamics, tailoring ramp-up of patient scheduling, clarifying expectations, and providing clear organizational support. Psychosocial factors include creating comfort and building self-confidence.


Conclusion: Understanding participants' experiences with onboarding programs is essential for ensuring successful transition to practice for new graduate PAs and NPs.


Implications: These findings are beneficial to the health care workforce. Administrators can incorporate these findings into existing and future programs, and new graduate PAs and NPs can negotiate for the inclusion of these components in their first position.