Thesis Title

Reasons Students Choose Or Hesitate to Choose Nursing as a Career

Date of Graduation

Fall 2004


Master of Science in Nursing



Committee Chair

Kathryn Hope


Researchers warn that a catastrophe may cripple the healthcare delivery system within ten years, due to a discrepancy between the supply and demand of registered nurses (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, & Health Resources and Services Administration, 2002). In 2001, the American Hospital Association reported that 126,000 nursing positions in hospitals were unfilled, with a predicted 400,000 unfilled positions by 2020 (Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, 2001). Recruitment of nursing students is a priority as severe nursing shortages occur nationwide. Successful recruitment strategies must be formulated based upon research that identifies the desires of the job applicant candidates. The purpose of this study was to identify factors that influence a student's choice of career in nursing. Data for this descriptive study were collected by means of a paper and pencil questionnaire developed by Brendtro (1991). The population consisted of 550 male and female baccalaureate prenursing students. The questionnaire was administered to an accessible population using a convenience sampling (N=300) of a nursing program within the Midwest. A LIkert scale measure evaluated the importance of certain factors in selecting or not selecting a career in nursing. The most frequently reported reasons for choosing nursing were a desire to help others (35.1%) and availability of jobs in the nursing field (12.2%). 'Nursing curriculum difficulty' was identified as the most influential factor that would cause a student to hesitate to choose nursing as a career. This information can direct the marketing of nursing as a career and guide the implementation of strategies to recruit and retain nurses.


careers-in-nursing, recruitment of nursing students, nursing shortage, motivational factors influencing career choices, nursing image

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© Teresa F. Davis