Role transition from registered nurse to advanced practice nurse is a difficult process. A qualitative thematic analysis guided the integration of various experiences of 24 students in a two-credit, web-based role development course in a Master's of Science in Nursing program at a large Midwestern university. Findings supported that students had developed an understanding of the core competencies and complexity of the advanced practice nurse role, and that beginning role transition had occurred. An overarching theme, the essence of nursing was evident. Three sub-themes supported the occurrence of role transition, which included the importance of: a) building a framework for nursing practice, b) direct patient care, and c) comprehension and exemplification of professional responsibilities. This study has implications for nurse educators interested in promoting advanced practice nurse role transition early in the educational process.
©2011 Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin/Boston