n Africa Journal of Nursing and Midwifery - Dual transitions in nursing : a military perspective

Supplement 1
  • ISSN : 1682-5055


Military nursing is characterised by a dual transition whereby student nurses need to transition from student nurses to professional nurses and from candidate officers to officers. A military nurse has both nursing and military demands and novice professional nurses often feel inadequately prepared for the responsibilities and the role of a professional nurse. The purpose of this study was to explore and describe the experiences of final year nursing students with regard to these dual transitions in the military health system. A qualitative, explorative, descriptive and contextual research design was used in the study.The target population comprised representatives of the South African Military Health Service (SAMHS), which included final year nursing students, novice professional nurses, unit managers and nurse educators. Purposive sampling was used with 41 participants by means of four focus groups and 18 individual semi-structured interviews. The transcripts were analysed using Creswell's four step process. The final year nursing students particularly reiterated the inadequacy in the preparation for both the roles of the professional nurse and that of a military officer. Specifically highlighted was the lack of clinical accompaniment due to shortage of staff, poor clinical exposure and limited clinical opportunities for experiential learning. The nurse educators alluded to the lack of support that they are not receiving from the unit managers in preparing the students. The unit managers cited the lack of competency of final year nursing students on completion and the military ranking system as impeding a successful transition.

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