Background: In recent years, with the rapid development of nursing in China, the number of undergraduate nursing students has increased significantly. As professional perception has a great influence on the development of nursing students and the future quality of nursing, exploring factors that influence this perception are very important.
Aim: To describe undergraduate nursing students' attitudes towards nursing and to explore if their perceptions of nursing are influenced by demographic characteristics, clinical experience and/or different curriculum designs.
Methods: A cross-sectional descriptive study was carried out in two nursing schools: one with a traditional curriculum and one that had undertaken curriculum reform. Following institutional approval, 176 (92.6%) of the targeted population of 190 students responded to a demographic questionnaire with two semi-structured questions and the Attitude Towards the Nursing Profession Scale. The results were analysed using descriptive statistics, t-test and Spearman correlation analysis.
Findings: No correlations were found between nursing students' attitudes towards nursing and their demographic characteristics. Clinical experience apparently had no impact on nursing students' professional perception. However, the curriculum design appears to play an important role in forming the students' attitudes towards nursing. Significant implications and suggestions for nursing educators and nursing managers are presented.