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Nursing as a career choice by Hispanic/Latino college students




Stroup, Linda M., author
Kuk, Linda, advisor
Houser, Janet, committee member
Morgan, George, committee member
Quijano, Louise, committee member

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A culturally competent healthcare workforce is essential to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse society. Greater diversity in the healthcare workforce is expected have many benefits, including improved access to care for the medically underserved and the promotion of research in areas of societal need (Cohen, Gabriel, & Terrell, 2002). The need for a culturally diverse healthcare workforce includes the profession of registered nursing. There is a significant disparity between the percentage of Hispanic/Latino individuals in the United States population and the percentage of Hispanic/Latino nurses. Although the number of Hispanic/Latino college students has increased over the past several years, Hispanic/Latino students remain significantly underrepresented in pre-licensure nursing programs. It is necessary for the number of Hispanic/Latino nursing students to increase in order to expand the number of Hispanic/Latino nurses in the healthcare workforce. A quantitative research design was used for this study. The Career Search Questionnaire (CSQ) developed by Roberts (2008) was administered with the addition of four questions and modifications in the demographic section of the instrument. The survey was administered to students enrolled in freshman or sophomore level college courses at three comprehensive state public universities and one community college in a Western state. The total number of participants in the sample was 961. Study findings indicated that Hispanic/Latino students were just as interested in and had as high feelings of confidence about activities associated with nursing as a career choice when compared with non-Hispanic/Latino students. Very few statistically significant differences were found between the two groups of students (Hispanic/Latino and non-Hispanic/Latino), and there were few differences in the correlations of Hispanic/Latino and non-Hispanic/Latino students with demographic and CSQ variables. One exception was that gender was not statistically significant for Hispanic/Latino students, suggesting that gender was not a predictive variable for interest in activities associated with nursing among Hispanic/Latino students. Additional findings indicated that both Hispanic/Latino and non-Hispanic/Latino students identified having lower feelings of confidence in successfully completing math and science courses that are often required pre-requisite courses for nursing programs. Shadowing a nurse, mentoring by a nurse, healthcare work experience, and volunteer healthcare experience were the top factors identified by both Hispanic/Latino and non-Hispanic/Latino students as necessary for success in a nursing program. Analysis of the Career Search Questionnaire indicated that the instrument differentiated between interest in activities associated with nursing and non-nursing careers and, likewise, the CSQ differentiated between nursing and non-nursing career self-efficacy. The CSQ appears to be a better predictor of interest in a healthcare career in general rather than specifically nursing. Implications for practice include use of the CSQ questionnaire as an advising tool for students in the career decision-making process, and identification of strategies that could be implemented by nursing programs to promote success for Hispanic/Latino students considering nursing as a career choice. Future research studies could include broadening the sample to include Hispanic/Latino students enrolled in community colleges, private, and proprietary higher education institutions. Consideration of nursing as a career choice by healthcare providers in related fields such as medical assistants and nursing assistants could also be investigated. Finally, research could be conducted to determine if Hispanic/Latino students who indicate an interest in nursing as a career choice are actually applying to nursing programs and if so, what factors facilitate their acceptance into a nursing program as well as barriers to admission.


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nursing education
Hispanic career choices
Hispanic college students
Hispanic nurses
minority nurses
nursing diversity


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