Nursing Online – August 2008

Diversity in nursing research

The most recent edition of the Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing provides a broad range of articles reflecting the diversity of nursing research activities undertaken in Australia.

Nurses’ and carers’ spiritual wellbeing in the workplace
John Fisher, MSc, MEd, PhD; David Brumley, MBBS, FRACGP, FAChPM, MSc

The aim of the study was to investigate nurses’ and pastoral carers’ spiritual wellbeing (SWB) and how it relates to their workplace. The study design was a survey of total populations in selected health care services. The setting was a public and a private hospital in a regional setting, and three hospices in major cities which had a religious affiliation.

The Spiritual Health and Life Orientation Measure (SHALOM) was used to provide insights into staff ideals for spiritual wellbeing, as well as their lived experiences in relating with self, others, the environment and/or God.

The nurses’ and carers’ perceptions about how well clients are supported in these four domains of spiritual wellbeing in their workplace were also explored.The study found that the beliefs and worldview of health care staff influence their ideals for SWB to a greater ex-tent than age, gender, or workplace setting.

These ideals markedly impact on their lived experiences which reflect their SWB. Ten percent of these staff showed spiritual dissonance in more than one of the four domains of SWB.
The major finding of this study is the influence that nurses’ and carers’ personal experience has on the level of help they thought clients received from the services offered in their workplace. Those who are more fulfilled in relationships, with themselves, others, the environment and/or God, believe that clients receive greater help in these areas from the services provided in their workplace.
Faking it: social desirability response bias in self-report research
Thea F van de Mortel, RN, M.HlthSc., FRCNA, FCN (NSW)

The tendency for people to present a favourable image of themselves on questionnaires is called socially desirable responding (SDR). SDR confounds research results by creating false relationships or obscuring relationships between variables. Social desirability (SD) scales can be used to detect, minimise, and correct for SDR in order to improve the validity of questionnaire-based research. The aim of this review was to determine the proportion of health-related studies that used questionnaires and used SD scales and estimate the proportion that were potentially affected by SDR.

After the graduate year: a phenomenological exploration of how new nurses develop their knowledge and skill during the first 18 months following graduation
Lisa McKenna, RN RM PhD; Jennifer M. Newton, RN EdD

This study seeks to understand how new nurses develop their knowledge and skill during the first 18 months following graduation, as well as factors promoting or inhibiting their development.
The graduate year requires the new nurse to make the transition from student in an academic setting to nurse employed within the health workforce. To facilitate the transition, many public and private hospitals in Australia offer formalised 12-month duration, graduate nurse programs that provide graduates with rotations through a number of clinical areas, preceptor support, and study days. Initially, 25 participants were followed for a period of 18 months, incorporating the graduate year as well as the next six months when they no longer had support from a structured program.
Findings from the focus groups after completion of the final six months are reported in this study, at which time nine participants from three hospitals continued in the study.

The strengths and weaknesses of transitional support programs for newly registered nurses
Jennifer Evans, RN, EdD; Elaine Boxer, RN, MN; Dr Shukri Sanber, PhD

The transition experiences of new graduate nurses from university to the workplace have not changed since the transfer of nurse education to the tertiary sector despite the implementation of transition support programs.

This study aimed to determine the strengths and weaknesses of transition support programs for newly registered nurses. Three themes arose from the analysis: programs operate in a clinical environment which result in unsupportive behaviour toward new graduate nurses; nurse unit managers influence the experiences of new graduate nurses in their workplace; and transition support programs are provided to redress the perceived inadequacy of university preparation for registered nurses.

The research revealed that a key weakness within the system is unrealistically high expectations of what can reasonably be expected of newly registered nurses.

The entire AJAN edition is available online at