The negative influence of significant others on high academic achieving school pupils' choice of nursing as a career
The International Council of Nurses proposes that the shortage of nurses is global in scale and is expected to become much worse in the years ahead. A major factor impacting on the worldwide nursing shortage is the diminishing number of young people choosing nursing as a career (International Council of Nurses, 2008). One important dimension of the school pupils' career choice process is their interactions with significant others and the influence of these significant others (Hodkinson and Sparkes, 1997). As Schools/Departments of Nursing endeavour to attract more intellectual school leavers it is important to examine what advice and opinions are significant others giving regarding nursing as a career choice and how influential is this advice. This paper is based on interview data from 20 high academic achieving 5th and 6th year school pupils in Scotland, paradigmatic cases from a larger sample, who had considered nursing as a possible career choice within their career preference cluster, but then later disregarded nursing and decided to pursue medicine or another health care profession. The data was particularly striking in revealing the negative influence of significant others on high academic achieving school pupils' choice of nursing as a career. The influence of significant others, these being specifically parents, guardians, guidance teachers and career advisors was very apparent in the data in that they had a very negative view regarding nursing as a career choice for high academic achieving school pupils.