Background: Despite nearly two decades of experience with graduate transition programs in Australia little evidence exists regarding the effectiveness of these programs as interventions that enhance the transition from nursing student to professional practitioner. There is general acknowledgement that this is a crucial time for people entering the profession and yet there is little agreement on what constitutes best practice for nurses' transition to the workforce.
Aim: This paper challenges the status quo through a review of current programs and questions whether primacy should be given to formal transition programs or to the development of educationally supportive clinical learning environments.
Conclusion: There is sufficient doubt in the efficacy of formal transition programs to at least investigate potential alternatives such as concentration on the development of a supportive practice culture conducive to learning. Indeed, the type of learning environment suitable for graduate nurses is likely to be one that will also facilitate the continued development and enhanced job satisfaction of the rest of the nursing team.