Middle school students' perceptions of an ideal career and a career in nursing

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Many strategies are currently needed to address a profound nursing shortage that is threatening health care quality. One strategy is to increase the interest of youth in the profession of nursing. Middle school students' perception of nursing offers important clues toward successful recruitment of the next generation of nurses. The focus of this exploratory study was to compare a convenience sample of 301 male and female middle school students' perceptions of an ideal career versus a career in nursing. A post hoc analysis of variations by gender was also done. Perceptions of nursing and the ideal career were measured with an instrument developed by May, Champion, and Austin (1991), which has been assessed for reliability and validity in previous studies. Data were analyzed descriptively and inferentially, by using paired t tests and Bonferroni adjustments to control for multicolinearity. The respondents voiced statistically significant differences between nursing and the ideal career in key variables related to autonomy, respect, compensation, and "busyness." When comparing boys with girls, however, there was more congruence between boys' perception of nursing and ideal career than girls'. Implications for the development of timely and effective nursing recruitment campaigns targeting middle school students are offered. © 2004 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Journal of Professional Nursing