Objective To study the relationships between newly graduated nurses' (NGNs') perceptions of their professional competence, and individual and organizational work-related factors. Methods A multivariate, quantitative, descriptive, correlation design was applied. Data collection took place in November 2012 with a national convenience sample of 318 NGNs representing all main healthcare settings in Finland. Five instruments measured NGNs' perceptions of their professional competence, occupational commitment, empowerment, practice environment, and its ethical climate, with additional questions on turnover intentions, job satisfaction, and demographics. Descriptive statistics summarized the demographic data, and inferential statistics multivariate path analysis modeling estimated the relationships between the variables. Results The strongest relationship was found between professional competence and empowerment, competence explaining 20% of the variance of empowerment. The explanatory power of competence regarding practice environment, ethical climate of the work unit, and occupational commitment, and competence's associations with turnover intentions, job satisfaction, and age, were statistically significant but considerably weaker. Higher competence and satisfaction with quality of care were associated with more positive perceptions of practice environment and its ethical climate as well as higher empowerment and occupational commitment. Conclusions Apart from its association with empowerment, competence seems to be a rather independent factor in relation to the measured work-related factors. Further exploration would deepen the knowledge of this relationship, providing support for planning educational and developmental programs. Research on other individual and organizational factors is warranted to shed light on factors associated with professional competence in providing high-quality and safe care as well as retaining new nurses in the workforce. Clinical Relevance The study sheds light on the strength and direction of the significantly associated work-related factors. Nursing professional bodies, managers, and supervisors can use the findings in planning orientation programs and other occupational interventions for NGNs.
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