Paper Type

Doctoral Dissertation


College of Education and Human Services

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)



First Advisor

Dr. Katherine M. Kasten

Second Advisor

Dr. Paul Eggen

Rights Statement

Third Advisor

Dr. G. Pritchy Smith

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Henry B. Thomas

Department Chair

Dr. John J. Venn

College Dean

Dr. Katherine M. Kasten


The purpose of this study was twofold--to gain understanding of early professional socialization in beginning nursing practice from the beginning practitioner's perspective and to explore the influences of mentoring on the professional socialization of beginning nurses. Participants were thirty-one novice practitioners from an associate in science degree nursing program in the Southeast section of the United States.

The unique perspectives of beginning nurses were gained through the use of focus groups. Data analysis consisted of content analysis, data display and reduction, identification of themes, and conclusion drawing.

Findings supported the notion that professional socialization occurs in phases. Beginners anticipate initial work environments that facilitate ongoing socialization. Mentoring/preceptorship relationships are anticipated and desired as part of the socialization process.

Early in beginning practice novices demonstrated an external locus of control and focused on their preparation for the role and support systems. Late in beginning practice novices demonstrated an internal locus of control and were concerned about impending independent practice and the continuing need to learn.

Findings may assist nursing educators and nursing practitioners to facilitate beginners' entry and role transition. Future research should address the mentors' perspective, locus of control, and differences based on the professional education program completed by the beginner.

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