Investigating a career choice for nursing based on social cognitive career theory

Debbie McGregor, Florida International University


Nursing shortages still exist in the U.S. so it is important to determine factors that influence decisions to pursue nursing as a career. This comparative, correlational research study revealed factors that may contribute to, or deter students from choosing nursing as a career. The purpose of this study was to determine factors that contribute to a career choice for nursing based on the concepts of social cognitive career theory (SCCT), self efficacy, outcome expectations, and personal goals, among senior high school students, final year nursing students, and first year nursing students. Based on the results strategies may be developed to recruit a younger pool of students to the nursing profession and to boost retention efforts among those who already made a career choice in nursing. ^ Data were collected using a three part questionnaire developed by the researcher to obtain demographic information and data about the respondents' self efficacy, outcome expectations, and personal goals with regards to nursing as a career. Point bi-serial correlations were used to determine relationships between the variables. ANOVAs and ANCOVAs were computed to determine differences in self efficacy and outcome expectations, among the three groups. Additional descriptive data determined reasons for and against a choice for nursing as a career. ^ Self efficacy and outcome expectations were significantly correlated to career choice among all three groups. The nursing students had higher self efficacy perceptions than the high school students. There were no significant differences in outcome expectations between the three groups. The main categories identified as reasons for choosing nursing as a career were; (a) caring, (b) career and educational advancement, (c) personal accomplishment, (d) proficiency and love of the medical field. Common categories identified for not choosing nursing as a career were; (a) responsibility, (b) liability, (c) lack of respect, and (d) low salary. Other categories regarding not choosing nursing as a career included; (a) the nursing program and (b) professional (c) alternate career choice options and (d) fear of sickness and death. Findings from this study support the tenets of SCCT and may be used to recruit and retain nurses and develop curricula. ^

Subject Area

Health Sciences, Nursing

Recommended Citation

McGregor, Debbie, "Investigating a career choice for nursing based on social cognitive career theory" (2007). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3268656.