From Limbo to Legitimacy: A Theoretical Model of The Transition to the Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Role


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Abstract

The initial transitional year of professional practice is thought to provide the critical foundation on which new professionals build their expertise. The purpose of this study was to describe the experiences of new nurse practitioner graduates during their first year of primary care practice. Thirty-five persons were interviewed alone or in focus groups at approximately 1, 6, and 12 months after graduation. Grounded theory methodology guided the data collection and analysis. A theoretical model was constructed that represents the transition to the primary care nurse practitioner role. This model consists of a process called From Limbo to Legitimacy, which encompasses four major categories: Laying the Foundation, Launching, Meeting the Challenge, and Broadening the Perspective. Each category contains a set of subcategories that detail the multiple aspects of the experience. This model highlights both the distress and the accomplishments of the initial year of advanced practice.

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