Nurses' choice of clinical field in early career

Authors


Abstract

Aim

To investigate how undergraduate nursing students' perceived professional qualifications and job values relate to their choice of clinical field after graduation, particularly about employment in care of older people and psychiatric fields.

Background

In the light of greater demand for highly qualified nurses, it is important to understand how professional qualifications and job values relate to career choices.

Design

A quantitative longitudinal study of 290 undergraduate nursing students based on a questionnaire survey and register data.

Methods

Data were analysed by multinomial logistic regression analyses. The questionnaire was distributed to all undergraduate nursing students during the final semester of study at two university colleges in Norway (N = 411) to collect the students' perceived professional qualifications and job values (2001). Register data on clinical fields after graduation (2002–2006) were merged into the survey data in 2008 (Statistics Norway).

Results

The tendency among undergraduate nursing students to choose care of older people rather than general hospital care after graduation increases as their score on altruism decreases, but is not correlated with their score on theoretical knowledge. The tendency to choose psychiatric fields rather than general hospital care increases with an increasing score on perceived practical skills and decreases with an increasing score on perceived theoretical knowledge.

Conclusion

The choice of clinical field after graduation correlates with undergraduate nursing students' perceived professional qualifications and job values.

Ancillary