Factors associated with students’ orientations to nursing
This paper presents the results of a study focusing on the factors associated with orientations to nursing. Students’ orientations to nursing have not as yet been a focus of nursing research. In some other professions, however, professional orientation has been associated with learning motivation and study performance, and has been seen as a predictor of work satisfaction. In this study, students’ orientations to nursing were defined in terms of caring, nursing expertise and life orientation. The hypothesis of whether students’ pre-educational experiences of nursing, gender, choice of nursing specialty, problems with nursing studies and intention to stay in nursing were associated with different orientations was tested. The extent to which students were orientated to caring, nursing expertise and their own life was also examined. The orientation to nursing measurement tool, which has been developed on the basis of a qualitative study, was used to collect the data. Nurse teachers collected the data from nursing students (n=184) who were studying in three different nursing programmes in Finland. Non-parametric assessments (Mann–Whitney U-test and Kruskal–Wallis test) of the differences between the students’ orientations were carried out. A majority of the students were highly life-orientated, and two-thirds had average nursing expertise or caring orientation scores. The results supported the study hypothesis of an association between students’ orientations and their gender, choice of nursing speciality, problems with nursing studies and intention to stay in nursing. However, the hypothesis of an association between students’ pre-educational nursing experiences and orientation to nursing was not supported. The contradictions between students’ orientation to nursing and the philosophy of nursing underlying the study programme may be a source of motivational problems and dissatisfaction with nursing education. Therefore, nurse educators are challenged to discuss curriculum matters and student supervision in order to promote flexibility in planning personal study programmes.