The experience of learning to speak up: A narrative inquiry on newly graduated registered nurses

Bernice Yee Shui Law, Engle Angela Chan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Aims and objectives: To explore the process of learning to speak up in practice among newly graduated registered nurses. Background: Speaking up is an important aspect of communication to ensure patient safety within a healthcare team. However, nurses have reported being hesitant about speaking up or being unable to be heard, despite adopting various safety tools. A power differential could be a factor in their hesitation to speak up. While a large number of new graduates are employed in the lower rungs of the hospital hierarchy to resolve local and global nursing shortages, the process of their learning to speak up remains under-explored. Design: The narrative concept of experience is addressed through the three-dimensional space of a narrative inquiry. Methods: Eighteen new graduates were recruited. Stories of experiences of speaking up emerged naturally during repeated unstructured interviews and ongoing email conversations with three participants. Results: The complex process of learning to speak up is schematically represented. Three interrelated narrative threads were identified: (1) learning to speak up requires more than one-off training and safety tools, (2) mentoring speaking up in the midst of educative and miseducative experiences and (3) making public spaces safe for telling secret stories. Conclusions: Speaking up requires ongoing mentoring to see new possibilities for sustaining professional identities in the midst of miseducative experiences under the potential shaping of the Chinese culture and generational differences. Appreciative inquiry might be a new approach that can be used to promote positive cultural changes to encourage newly graduated registered nurses to learn to speak up to ensure patient safety. Relevance to clinical practice: Cultivating a safe and open culture of communication and mentoring new graduates to speak up will benefit patient safety now and in the future by helping to retain committed patient advocates who could mentor future generations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1837-1848
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Volume24
Issue number13-14
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015

Keywords

  • Assertiveness
  • Communication
  • Experiential learning
  • Hong kong
  • Mentorship
  • Narrative
  • New graduate nurse
  • Patient safety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)

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