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Int J Nurs Stud. 2007 Sep;44(7):1196-209. Epub 2006 Jun 21.

Career choices in health care: is nursing a special case? A content analysis of survey data.

Author information

1
Faculty of Health and Social Care, University of the West of England, Bristol, Glenside Campus, Blackberry Hill, Stapleton, Bristol BS16 1DD, UK. margaret.miers@uwe.ac.uk

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

As demand for nurses and other health professionals continues to outstrip supply it is important to understand what motivates individuals to join a non-medical health profession.

OBJECTIVES:

The objectives of this study were to investigate students' reasons for choosing a particular nursing specialism, midwifery or other non-medical health profession, and to compare motivation factors across professions, gender, age, level of award, prior qualifications, prior experience and over time.

DESIGN:

A prospective follow-up study collected survey responses at the beginning and end of pre-qualifying professional programmes.

SETTING:

The study took place in one large United Kingdom faculty.

PARTICIPANTS:

The study participants were 775 first-year students undertaking non-medical health professional programmes and 393 qualifying students.

METHODS:

An open-ended question was included in a self-completed questionnaire administered at entry and at qualification. Content analysis identified themes.

RESULTS:

Altruism was the most frequently cited reason for wishing to join a non-medical health profession, followed by personal interest/abilities, professional values/rewards, and prior experience of the area. Students entering nursing were less likely to cite an altruistic motivation than those entering other non-medical health professions (chi(2)=21.61, df=1, p<0.001). On entry, adult nursing, children's nursing and radiotherapy students were least likely to cite professional values/rewards (chi(2)=20.38, df=8, p=0.009). Students on degree level programmes were more likely to report altruism than those on diploma level courses (chi(2)=17.37, df=1, p<0.001). Differences were also identified between the two data collection points. The number of students identifying altruism (chi(2)=3.97, p=0.046) and professional values/rewards (chi(2)=6.67, p=0.010) decreased over time.

CONCLUSION:

Findings suggest that although a service orientation remains a key factor in choosing nursing, students also look for a career which matches their interests and attributes, as well as offering professional values and rewards. Nursing may be in danger of losing service orientated recruits to other non-medical health professions.

PMID:
16793043
DOI:
10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2006.04.010
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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