Transition from masters of nursing to clinical practice

Michelle Relster, Sofie Hald Nielsen, Lars Thrysøe, Karin Brochstedt Dieperink, Dorthe Susanne Nielsen, Lærke Kjær Tolstrup

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Introduction: Research indicates that nurses with a Master's degree can contribute to an increasing quality of care, thereby improving care pathways in hospitals. In 2014, the Master's programme in Nursing at the University of Southern Denmark was established to create a relationship between the university and clinical practice to improve nurses' ability to function at a higher clinical level. Therefore, this study aimed to explore the significance of the Master's degree on nurses' self-perceived competencies and their return to clinical practice. Design and methods: A longitudinal qualitative design was used with six focus groups including graduates from the Master's programme in Nursing. The study was conducted in two phases: The first phase in 2017 (n = 16) investigated how the Master's degree affected the graduates' self-perceived competences and their working life. The second phase in 2021–2022 (n = 10) was a follow-up and included a subset of the participants from the first phase. Data were analysed with an inductive approach inspired by Malterud's systematic text condensation. Results: The analysis revealed two main categories: Transition to Practice and The Impact of the Master's Degree, along with five underlying sub-categories. Conclusion: Graduates perceived themselves as better nurses because of the Master's degree. The Master's programme in Nursing enhanced their competencies enabling them to provide more qualified and evidence-based nursing for the benefit of clinical practice. The transition and the conditions under which the graduates were employed, such as the ward culture and the ward management, had a significant impact on how they experienced their return to clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105882
JournalNurse Education Today
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023


  • Clinical nursing
  • Competence
  • Longitudinal study
  • Master's degree
  • Nursing
  • Qualitative
  • Transition to practice


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