Clarifying Challenges and Exploring Learning Needs of Novice Nurses in Cambodia


Novice nurses
Learning needs
Qualitative research



While the Cambodian healthcare system is continually improving, nursing services have not yet been firmly established, and there are no reports on in-service education, specifically for novice nurses. This literature gap in nursing education is a significant challenge that must be addressed to enhance the quality of healthcare services in Cambodia. Therefore, this study aimed to clarify the challenges and explore the learning needs of novice nurses in Cambodia.


This study adopted a qualitative descriptive research design and followed the Consolidated Criteria for Reporting Qualitative Research (COREQ) guidelines, which provided transparency and enhanced the credibility of the findings. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 11 novice Cambodian nurses. The obtained data were analyzed using thematic analysis, which involved coding the data, identifying patterns, and developing themes to understand participants’ experiences.


Eleven nurses participated in the interviews. The analysis resulted in 5 categories, 18 subcategories, and 69 codes being extracted. Study participants reported experiencing difficulties related to flexibility in handling many tasks and providing patient-centered care. Additionally, participants expressed some satisfaction with the current educational program but wanted to gain practical disease and treatment knowledge. This suggested a need for educational programs that enabled nurses to improve their skills in responding flexibly and delivering patient-centered healthcare in clinical settings. Furthermore, in addition to educating healthcare professionals, patient education is also important and may require novice nurses to acquire knowledge on how to improve patient self-management skills.


The challenges faced by novice nurses in Cambodia indicate gaps between the ideals learned during education and daily practice, and their learning needs centered around bridging the gap between ideals and reality.