Publication Date



Background: There appears to be a sense of disappointment with the product of contemporary nursing programs in Australia in that new graduate RNs are often referred to as not possessing appropriate skills by clinical colleagues. This work identifies the skills that the profession believes that newly graduating RN’s should possess at the point of registration. Methods: A qualitative consensus methodology was used in the form of a modified Delphi survey. Expert panels were used to review and validate data. Results: Consensus was reached on the top 25 skills areas that can be reasonably expected of a new graduate Registered Nurse in Australia. The top ranked skills areas included efficient and effective communication, professional nursing behaviours, privacy and dignity and managing medication administration. Conclusions: The consensus methodologies used to develop the skills areas indicated broad agreement across the profession in Australia. The complexity and context of practice was highlighted in the comments within the Delphi rounds. Interestingly no new skills were added and none removed from the initial list – some were prioritised over others but the majority agreed that all the skills areas were important for a newly graduating nurse.

Document Type

Open Access Journal Article

Access Rights

Open Access


© 2016 Brown and Crookes. Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.