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J Clin Nurs. 2011 Dec;20(23-24):3567-76. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2702.2011.03796.x. Epub 2011 Aug 11.

Flying Start NHS™: easing the transition from student to registered health professional.

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  • 1School of Health, Nursing and Midwifery, University of the West of Scotland, Hamilton, UK. pauline.banks@uws.ac.uk



To evaluate the impact and effectiveness of Flying Start NHS™ on the confidence, competence and career development of newly qualified practitioners.


The first year of practice as a registered nurse, midwife, or allied health professional is recognised as challenging. This paper presents the findings of a two-year evaluation of Flying Start NHS™, a web-based programme developed by NHS Education Scotland to support newly qualified health professionals during the transition from student to qualified practitioner.


Descriptive design with one to one and focus group interviews, plus a survey.


The evaluation employed a multi-method approach including telephone interviews with Flying Start NHS™ leads/coordinators (n=21) and mentors (n=22) and focus groups with newly qualified practitioners (n=95). An online survey was completed by 547 newly qualified practitioners.


A majority of newly qualified practitioners reported that Flying Start NHS™ had been useful in terms of clinical skills development and confidence. Those who were able to take protected time were more likely to complete the learning units and report that the support they received was good. Both newly qualified practitioners and mentors reported a lack of time. Newly qualified practitioners who took up posts in the community expressed greater satisfaction with the support received.


NHS Boards should ensure that there is an ethos of support at all levels, as well as an understanding of the purpose of Flying Start NHS™ and what newly qualified practitioners require to do to complete it. The expectation that newly qualified practitioners will enrol on Flying Start NHS™ should be accompanied by an expectation that they will complete the programme in their first year, coupled with support to enable them to do so.


Undertaking Flying Start NHS™ in the first year of employment increases clinical skills development and confidence. Mentors require training and time to enable them to provide support.

© 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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