Nursing students' perceptions of nursing: a descriptive study of four cohorts


  • This research was funded by the University of Jordan number 5/3/1/4049. This research was also ethically approved by the Faculty of Nursing Research Ethics Committee and the University of Jordan Research Deanship and the IRB Committee.

  • No conflict of interest is also assured by the authors of this manuscript.

Reema R. Safadi, Faculty of Nursing, Maternal and Child Health Nursing, University of Jordan, Amman 11942, Jordan; Tel: 00962-79-5531683; Fax: 00962-6-5355511; E-mail:


SAFADI R.R., SALEH M.Y.N., NASSAR O.S., AMRE H.M. & FROELICHER E.S. (2011) Nursing students' perceptions of nursing: a descriptive study of four cohorts. International Nursing Review58, 420–427

Aims:  The study aims to describe nursing students' changing perception of nursing over 4 years of the nursing programme and examine whether perception differed by gender, previous study or choice of nursing education.

Methods:  A descriptive cross-sectional design was used, with a probability sample of 606 students. Respondents were a random sample of 50% of each of the four educational cohorts studying within the academic year 2008–2009 in one baccalaureate nursing programme at a Jordanian public university. A specifically designed tool of statements of nursing definitions based on nursing theories, the nursing literature and sociocultural beliefs was used to identify student nurses' perception of nursing.

Findings:  Student perceptions changed from lay altruistic beliefs of nursing to theoretical medical technological views of the profession denoting a theory–practice gap. Perceptions also differed by gender, having a previous associate degree in nursing and a priority choice to study nursing.

Conclusion:  Such results delineated the importance of revising nursing schools' curricula and the universities' admission policies into the nursing profession.