Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Career choice by nursing undergraduates

Roger Watson, Editor-in-Chief


I was speaking to a medical doctor recently whose daughter was a nursing student and when I asked which area of nursing she might enter he said that she most liked that last clinical area in which she had worked - whatever that happened to be.  I well recall that phenomenon from my own time as a student nurse.

A recent Norwegian study by Abrahamsen (2104) titled: 'Nurses’ choice of clinical field in early career' and published in JAN investigates what influences undergraduate nursing students' choices.

Two-hundred and ninety students were involved in a longitudinal study which started in 2001.  They were asked throughout about which clinical fields they wanted to enter and also about theoretical professional knowledge and practical skills acquired, and job values.  The outcomes focused on care of older people and psychiatry.  Gender played no part in the decision, but age did, with an increasing tendency to express an interest in working with older people, rather than hospital care, as nurses got older.  The higher the score on acquired practical knowledge and the lower the score on theoretical knowledge, the more likely students were to express an interest in psychiatry and as altruism increased, so did the tendency to express an interest in working with older people.

The study has practical implications; in the words of the author: 'The findings indicate that less popular nursing fields like care of older people and psychiatry need to develop recruitment strategies as to entice qualified nurses to choose these fields.' and 'Further research should pay greater attention to motives behind nurses’ choice of career path...A focus on motivation is essential to develop strategies both about recruitment and to ensure that nurses remain working in those fields.'


Reference

Abrahamsen B (2014) Nurses’ choice of clinical field in early career Journal of Advanced Nursing doi: 10.1111/jan.12512

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