Exploring the transition experiences of students entering into preregistration nursing degree programs with previous professional nursing qualifications: An integrative review

Marion Tower, Marie Cooke, Bernadette Maria Watson, Nick Buys, Keithia Wilson

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Aims and objectives: This paper aims to investigate the transition experiences of students with previous nursing qualifications (nondegree qualifications) entering a nursing degree program. Background: Nurses with professional nursing qualifications (nondegree) are an important pool of professionals to draw on to help address nursing shortages through providing alternative pathways to becoming registered nurses. However, research suggests this cohort need higher levels of support and intervention to be successful. Design: An integrative review was conducted, guided by Whittemore and Knafl's framework. A comprehensive search was conducted and 14 studies were included in the review. Methods: A five-stage approach was used to conduct the review: problem identification, literature search, data evaluation, data analysis and presentation of results. Constant comparative analysis was used to identify commonalities, differences and themes in the relevant literature. Results: Themes emerged that suggested students struggled with academic and institutional challenges, becoming learners, managing conflicting demands of outside life, developing a student identity and experienced threat to their sense of professional identity. Additionally, the cohort did not view themselves as 'the same' as traditional students. Holland's framework provides a useful framework from which to conceptualise these students' experiences. Conclusion: There are challenges for this cohort of students as they transition into degree level study. Supportive activities that extend and further develop students' personality orientations may be a useful starting point in addressing some of the challenges and providing a more positive transition to university. Relevance to clinical practice: The demand for health care is growing and there remains a shortfall of registered nurses. Nurses with professional qualifications (nondegree) are an important pool of professionals from which to increase registered nurse numbers and address workforce sustainability issues.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1174-1188
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Issue number9-10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Alternative pathways
  • Diploma qualified nurses
  • Enrolled nurses
  • Integrative review
  • Nursing shortage
  • Transition experience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)

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