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Int Nurs Rev. 2012 Dec;59(4):525-31. doi: 10.1111/j.1466-7657.2012.01025.x. Epub 2012 Sep 24.

A comparison of student motivation in selecting bachelors of nursing or paediatric nursing at an Italian university.

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  • 1School of Pediatric Nursing, Padova University Hospital, Padova, Italy.



To investigate students' reasons for choosing general or paediatric nursing, and to compare motivation factors and personal characteristics between the two professions.


In Italy, nursing students can choose between two distinct career paths: general and paediatric nursing. However, it is unclear what factors motivate a student to choose between these two pathways.


A cross-sectional approach was used to compare a sample of general and paediatric nursing students enrolled in a university in northeast Italy. We administered a questionnaire that covered socio-demographic characteristics and included an instrument of motivation developed by Zysberg & Berry to 224 students enrolled in the 3-year classes.


We analysed 215 questionnaires (96%). Paediatric nurses were generally younger, had attended a college preparatory high school and had previously failed another university programme. Many students, in both groups, had a relative who was a nurse, or had cared for a sick friend or family member. Students did not vary significantly in how they evaluated items included in the questionnaire.


A career in nursing should be advised for students who are motivated to help other people. Paediatric nursing was identified as an acceptable career choice by students of college preparatory high schools or by students who had initially enrolled in a different university programme. General nursing was a satisfactory choice by students with previous work experience.

© 2012 The Authors. International Nursing Review © 2012 International Council of Nurses.

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