Background: The transition from student to newly qualified is critical for nurses in psychiatric settings. More insight into this transition is necessary to improve the interventions for recruiting and retaining.

Aim: To gain an increased understanding of the transition from student to newly qualified nurse in psychiatric settings.

Methods: Seven participants were interviewed in two focus groups. The data analysis was based on a hermeneutic-phenomenological approach, and interpretations were guided by theory on social transition. Findings: Four themes and two sub-themes were identified. 1. Experiences of the nursing education. 2. Experiences of starting in a psychiatric ward. 3. Experiences of everyday life in the clinic. 4. Reflections on the professional nursing role. These experiences could have a facilitating and/or a restricting effect. Conclusion: An introductory programme and a mentor facilitated healthy transitions, and the nursing education needs to give more priority to psychiatric nursing in order to facilitate healthy transitions. Colleagues influence the transition both positively and negatively.