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The Nurse's Reality Gap

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Title: The Nurse’s Reality Gap Overcoming barriers between academic achievement and clinical success

Author: Leslie Neal-Boylan

Publisher: Renee Wilmeth

Reviewer: Helen Reeves, clinical nurse manager, St Giles Walsall Hospice

What was it like?

The nurse’s reality gap is a book that looks at nursing students qualifying to a staff nurse role and the gaps between the two. It looks at why as students nurses they may excel academically but when in staff nurse role may find that they are failing. The book sets out to find solutions for bridging the gap between being a student nurse and a practising staff nurse. The author sets out to do this by surveying 180 nursing schools and 50 student nurse associations.

What were the highlights?

I particularly found parts of Chapter7 beneficial as this focuses on the transition from student to qualified nurse. I particularly liked page 134, which looked at the learning curve newly qualified nurses experience and provided some advice for their new role. This ranged from being humble to showing respect, asking questions and listening to the answers, not to ever fake it and to take care of yourself. These are valuable reminders for any level of nurse.

Strengths & weaknesses:

The author sets out to cover a vast range of topics ranging from nursing education to preceptors and mentors and getting job. Many chapters look at barriers and challenges ranging from time management to transitioning from student to nurse. While the content is vast and in depth the book is based on US educational institutions and health systems. This therefore makes it difficult to fully translate to UK qualifying student nurses. Caution therefore needs to be taken when trying to relate to UK practice. The book as mentioned is based on a survey looking at the responses to provide answers in bridging the gap. Caution should be used with the answers given as out of 180 nursing schools and 50 student nurse associations the author received fewer than 100 results.

Who should read it? 

This book would be well placed for student nurse close to qualifying and also newly qualified nurses in their first professionally role. This book would also be beneficial for more senior and experienced nurses to understand the struggles that newly qualified nurses find when bridging the gap between student to professional.

The Nurse's Reality Gap

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