Who'd be a nurse? Some evidence on career choice in Australia
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In the context of on-going shortages of nurses, both in Australia and overseas,this paper looks at the factors shaping the decision to enter nursing as acareer. Evidence from four different Australian sources is drawn upon: anational panel survey of young school leavers, a survey of first year universitystudents in WA, a survey of Registered nurses in WA and in-depth interviewswith 30 young women studying for their WA Tertiary Entrance Examinations.The results concur with previous studies that have found entrants to nursingcourses to be of average-to-below academic ability and socio-economic status,to have an affinity for caring and to place greater relative emphasis onbalancing family and work rather than on career success. A number of newinsights into the factors influencing the decision to become a nurse are alsounearthed. These further highlight the importance of perceptions of genderroles in society and are consistent with psychological and feminist approachesto career choice.
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