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Nurse Educ Pract. 2011 Mar;11(2):159-64. doi: 10.1016/j.nepr.2010.08.003. Epub 2010 Sep 9.

Challenging the shock of reality through digital storytelling.

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Division of Nursing, University of Nottingham, London Road Community Hospital, London Road, Derby DE1 2QY, United Kingdom.


The transition from student to qualified nurse is widely acknowledged to entail a difficult period of adjustment, involving significant personal and professional challenges. Kramer [1974. Reality Shock--Why Nurses Leave Nursing. Mosby, St. Louis] originally described this as a "reality shock" due to the dissonance experienced between the expectations of the newly qualified nurse and the actuality of clinical practice. This experience continues to be echoed throughout the literature exploring factors influencing the quality of compassionate care, post-qualification support strategies, and attrition rates. Despite this, the phenomenon of a reality shock appears to have been accepted as an inevitable aspect of professional socialisation. This paper aims to report on an educational development which attempted to challenge these negative experiences and outcomes. The Division of Nursing at the University of Nottingham worked alongside the Patient Voices Programme ( to create reflective digital stories of newly qualified nurses. In their own words and using personal photos, the newly qualified nurses relate stories about an event that they have found particularly challenging during the transition from student to nurse. The stories were intended to provide opportunities for future students to learn and educationalists to reconsider the curriculum to facilitate preparation for the world of clinical practice. A learning environment was developed and piloted that utilises the digital stories to encourage student nurses to reflect upon the challenges of this transition by engaging with the storytellers, empathising with their experience and considering ways they might respond in similar situations. Evaluation of this educational forum suggests that the digital stories offer the audience a unique opportunity to walk in the shoes of the storyteller. As a consequence, an altered story might be told through encouraging newly qualified nurses to develop their core strengths and, in doing so, maintain their capacity to care.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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