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Choosing to pursue a career in nursing at the age of twelve

All the focus groups had the same observer, the second author of the paper AOwho observed the interactions between the participants. Focus groups were conducted in Polish, the obtained data were also analyzed in Polish and then translated into English by a professional translator and then the translation was checked for correct interpretation of meaning by the last author TP.

Data analysis The data were analyzed using thematic analysis. They were coded by theme and the key data representing each theme were extracted and subjected to inductive qualitative analysis [ 29 ] and open coding [ 30 ].

Open coding was performed independently by two authors LM and AO. Transcripts from all focus groups were printed in two copies. The content of the transcripts was read several times and expressions referring to motivations for the choice of career were underlined in the choosing to pursue a career in nursing at the age of twelve. Then the expressions were characterized and given names using key words. The coding results of the two researchers LM and AO were compared and in the cases of disagreement a solution was discussed with the third author BS until consent was reached.

The analysis ended when no new information emerged during the coding and saturation of themes was achieved [ 30 ]. To ensure credibility, we tried to identify representative quotations from the transcripts [ 31 ]. Results The reasons for choosing the nursing profession Data analysis revealed several reasons why students had chosen nursing as a career. For example, altruistic motivations associated with helping others were expressed like this: In other countries nursing is a good job, you are better treated, respected and well paid.

On the one hand, students chose nursing for practical reasons, e. On the other hand, the decisions were affected by their family situation. But why nursing in the end? A few years before I went to university, my grandma got seriously ill and I spent a lot of time at the hospital and hospice; that situation kind of inspired me to do this.

I wanted to be a psychologist very much. I suppose I chose nursing a bit subconsciously. So I thought I could try too. I was thinking about a medical course and finally I chose nursing. I was considering changing the course. I want to complete it. I took to it when I was in the second year. Before, I was ashamed to say I studied nursing. I thought so in the beginning, before I got to know the job better. They explained it by saying that the decision to choose a future profession is taken too early and young people often do not know what they want to do in life.

Everything I do at the hospital, I do casually.


If I were to make a choice once again, I would choose something else. And later you regret. I remember them to be rather unkind and insensitive. A nurse is obviously not perceived very well, she is not considered as important.

But I think maybe if the staff are young, they will behave differently, maybe the image of a nurse will change a little, maybe she will be kinder and more sensitive for the patient. I only learned at university how much work is needed to start doing this job. I thought I would study here and it would be so easy.

It seems in my family the nursing profession was not perceived as very ambitious. They also had their own explanations for such attitudes of nurses. Because it is the doctor who is always regarded to save lives, treat patients and help. A nurse has always been on the sidelines, the least important, nobody used to pay attention to what she was doing. I think this is the reason why nurses have always felt undervalued.

And this has continued from generation to generation, I would say a kind of internal anger. In my opinion if a person chooses a job, they should try to do it professionally. However, it seems that participants raise their self-esteem as future nurses by emphasizing the fact that they study at a university and devote large numbers of hours to that study.

10 Reasons Why You Should Choose Nursing

They thought nurses often contributed to the disrespect by their inappropriate attitudes and behaviors. They seem not to see really how much a nurse must do in the ward before the doctor comes to work. Yet, they were of the opinion that both doctors and nurses were to blame for this. We do what they tell us to do. The orders come top down. No respect, no cooperation. There are some wards where you can see some cooperation with the physicians. This depends both on them and on us.

Some of them thought the respect for the profession depends on the nurses themselves. The surprise was great! Can you study this at university? She has many more responsibilities.

She has to support the patients and talk to them. They go on strike from time to time because they want to earn more. People think that if they earn little, it means they know little and do little, too.

The complex character of the motivating forces which propelled the young Polish students nearly all women in our study to train as nurses has also been described by other investigators in Poland. Our research also shows negative motivations, namely that young people sometimes choose the nursing profession without full awareness of what it involves.

A Polish study by Slusarska et al. For instance, a continuing problem for Polish nursing is the shortage of support staff. The process of changing commonly held views is a long-term one. It seems, however, that the contemporary higher education now required of the nursing profession in Poland is enabling the students to think critically about their discipline and the importance of their work.

Interactions among the participants during the group discussion produced data which present both positive and negative aspects of the profession. During the discussion, the participants gave mutual encouragement, which made them feel free to express criticism, too. This allowed us to obtain data which could never be generated using other research methods.

For example, although vocation is a desired quality reported by nurses-to-be [ 19 ], the findings presented here suggest that the new generation of future Polish nurses prefers to stress professionalism in this occupation. The participants see chances for increasing respect for the nursing profession both in their own attitudes and behaviors as nurses-to-be, in organizational matters e. A cross-sectional study of the nursing profession conducted among Polish medical students confirmed that they mostly perceive nurses in terms of the tasks associated with the therapeutic process rather than the development of independence.

Polish medical students mainly perceive nurses through skills and abilities such as professional reliability, good technical skills and being friendly and courteous [ 34 ]. The problems of doctor-nurse cooperation found in this original study are also confirmed in the international literature [ 35 ].

Sharing of learning experiences between nursing and medical students might improve understanding of the respective roles, which is supported by the findings of a systematic review [ 36 ]. Results obtained by other authors show that interprofessional education leads to improved self-reported effectiveness as an interprofessional team member, and self-perceived knowledge and ability to collaborate with others to improve patient outcomes [ 37 ]. The lack of mutual respect among nurses, pointed out by the participants in our study, has also been reported by scholars studying Iranian nurses [ 38 ].

Another aspect that needs to be stressed in the Polish socio-occupational situation of young people deciding choosing to pursue a career in nursing at the age of twelve their future career, is the perception of nursing in terms of its ability to ensure job security and permanent income albeit the latter currently low.

Our research shows how important this perspective is for the participants, mainly by their statements that they plan to work abroad in the EU. To counteract this, efforts are needed to promote the nursing profession and to create the conditions conducive to nurses staying in Poland. It must be pointed out that our participants, apart from one man, are female students, because in Poland the nursing profession is female-dominated.

Conclusions Within the scope of medical professions, the decision about nursing is mainly determined by practical aspects, e. Although young people are aware of the low prestige of the nursing profession in Poland, they believe it is possible to improve its image and enhance its prestige.

Students can see the chance for improvement of the nursing profession by means of accreditation requiring professional preparation at the university level. During the university course, nursing students point out the need to enhance the esteem in this profession. Acknowledgements We would like to thank all the students who participated in the focus group discussions.

Availability of data and materials The datasets supporting the conclusions of this article are included within the article. AO was involved in the collection, analysis and interpretation of the data. BS contributed to the analysis and interpretation of the data.


DZ participated in the review of the results and was involved in the interpretation of the data. TP revised the manuscript critically and was involved in the interpretation of the data. All the authors read and approved the final manuscript.

  1. Nurses will always be needed.
  2. Masters in nursing MSN programs usually are two years in length for full time study or longer for part time study.
  3. I was thinking about a medical course and finally I chose nursing. Why did you choose a career in pediatric nursing?
  4. The career mobility is outstanding. In addition, pediatric RNs must acknowledge the experience of the family and collaborate with them to provide care for the child.

Competing interests The authors declare that they have no competing interests. Consent for publication Not applicable. Participation in this study was voluntary and informed consent was obtained. Additional file The focus group guide.