Perception of nursing profession – focus group interview among applicants to nursing education

Niina Glerean, Maija Hupli, Kirsi Talman, Elina Haavisto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Aims and objectives: To explore nursing applicants’ perceptions of the nursing profession and to identify the factors influencing their perceptions. Background: Perceptions guide the career choice in nursing and the retainment in the profession. Perceptions of nursing profession are said to be outdated and unrealistic among public. Therefore, more information is needed about the perceptions of nursing applicants. Design: Exploratory qualitative design using focus group interviews. Methods: Three focus group interviews (n = 18) were conducted among applicants to undergraduate Bachelor of Science (BSc) nursing programmes. The focus group interviews were recorded transcribed and analysed using qualitative content analysis. In this study, the ethical principles set by Finnish law and the National Advisory Board on Research Ethics were followed. Findings: Applicants perceived nursing through characteristics of a nurse, content of nursing work, nature of nursing work and career possibilities in nursing. According to applicants, nursing requires suitable attitude and character with knowledge, theoretical competence and good general education. Nurses were seen to work in multi-professional teams and tasks of a nurse were described through caring role of a nurse. The decision-making in nursing was regarded limited. Nursing was considered as secure job with versatile career options although the career options or the further educational possibilities were not fully recognised among applicants. Personal factors, family and friends, media and career counselling at school influenced applicants’ perceptions. Conclusions: Applicants’ perceptions of the nursing profession are one-sided and partly unrealistic. Future research should concentrate on planning interventions aiming to change the public image of the nursing profession.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)390-399
Number of pages10
JournalScandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019
Externally publishedYes
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • applicant
  • attrition
  • focus group
  • nurse image
  • nursing profession
  • perception
  • student admission

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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