Perceptions of community care and placement preferences in baccalaureate nursing students: a multicenter, cross-sectional study

Margriet van Iersel, Corine H.M. Latour, Rien de Vos, Paul A. Kirschner, Wilma J.M. Scholte op Reimer

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Perceptions of community care and placement preferences in first-year nursing students: A multicentre, cross-sectional study

Margriet VAN IERSEL MSc1, Corine H.M. LATOUR PhD1, Rien DE VOS PhD2, Paul A. KIRSCHNER PhD3,5, Wilma J.M. SCHOLTE OP REIMER PhD1,4.

1 ACHIEVE - Centre of Applied Research, Faculty of Health, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands
2 Centre of Evidence Based Education, Academic Medical Centre, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
3 Open University of the Netherlands, Heerlen, The Netherlands
4 Department of Cardiology, Academic Medical Centre, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
5 University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland

Background: Despite increasing shortages of well-educated community nurses, far too few nursing students choose community care for their future profession; a strong societal problem that urgently needs resolution. This study provides a solid understanding of causes for the fields’ low popularity by exploring first-year baccalaureate nursing students' perceptions of community care, and their placement preferences along with their underlying assumptions. Insights from this study can be used by educators to positively influence students’ perceptions with targeted curriculum redesign strategies.
Summary of work: A cross-sectional multicentre survey study was performed. First-year nursing students from six universities of applied sciences in the Netherlands (n = 1058) participated in the study from September-December 2014. The students completed the ‘Scale on Community Care Perceptions’ (SCOPE), consisting of demographic data, current placement preferences, and three subscales measuring the affective component of community care perception, perceptions of a placement, and a profession in community care. Descriptive statistics were used.
Summary of results: For placement, 71.2% of the students prefer the general hospital, 23.4% another area, and only 5.4% choose community care. Students consider opportunities for advancement and enjoyable relationships with patients as most important for their placement. Community care is perceived as a ‘low-status-field’ with many elderly patients, where students expect to find little care variety and few opportunities for advancement.
Discussion and conclusions: This study shows why few students show an interest for a career in community care. Students’ perceptions of the field are at odds with aspects they regard as important for their placement. They also underestimate the complexity of community care, where specific traits are required to ensure appropriate nursing care in patients’ homes.
Take-home messages: The results of this study allow for three recommendations. First, students and educators should be aware of misconceptions about career opportunities in the field of community care. Second, educators should provide students with experiences that foster an optimistic and realistic career outlook on community care. Third, growing shortages in the community care sector urgently require representatives from the field and educators to collaborate to make community nursing an attractive career alternative.

Keywords: Career choice; Students
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventAMEE 2018 - Basel, Switzerland
Duration: 26 Aug 201829 Aug 2018


ConferenceAMEE 2018


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