The United States is experiencing a primary care shortage that is expected to worsen. It has been suggested that nurse practitioners (NPs), who are registered nurses with advanced education, are a potential solution to the primary care provider shortage. Many NPs report feeling unprepared for the challenges of primary care. One solution to ensure adequate preparation is the post-graduate NP residency. The purpose of this descriptive phenomenological study is to explore the lived experiences of NPs who participated in a post-graduate residency program and explore their retention in primary care.

Convenience and snowball sampling were used to select NPs for semi-structured interviews regarding their lived experience of transitioning from a post-graduate NP residency program to a primary care provider. The Meleis transition theory was used as a theoretical framework for the study and The Giorgi methodology was used for data analysis.

Four major themes emerged from the analysis: unprepared, time management, role transition, and role ownership. Participants’ experiences in the program better prepared them for primary care roles and enhanced their retention in primary care. The preparation of new NPs using NP programs appears to be a viable option to increase confidence and retention in primary care.

Date of publication

Summer 6-19-2018

Document Type

Dissertation (Local Only Access)



Persistent identifier


Committee members

Jerri Post, PhD, Barbara Haas, PhD, Linda Rath, PhD, Cheryl Cooper, PhD


Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing