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

M. van Iersel, C.H.M. Latour, Rien De Vos, Paul Kirschner, W.J.M. Scholte op Reimer

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    Background: Despite increasing shortages of highly educated community nurses, far too few nursing students choose community care. This means that a strong societal problem is emerging that desperately needs resolution.
    Objectives: To acquire a solid understanding of the causes for the low popularity of community care by exploring first-year baccalaureate nursing students' perceptions of community care, their placement preferences, and the
    assumptions underlying these preferences.
    Design: A quantitative cross-sectional design.
    Settings: Six universities of applied sciences in the Netherlands.
    Participants: Nursing students in the first semester of their 4-year programme (n =1058).
    Methods: Data were collected in September–December 2014. The students completed the ‘Scale on Community Care Perceptions’ (SCOPE), consisting of demographic data and three subscales measuring the affective component
    of community care perception, perceptions of a placement and a profession in community care, and students' current placement preferences. Descriptive statistics were used.
    Results: For a practice placement, 71.2% of first-year students prefer the general hospital and 5.4% community care, whereas 23.4% opt for another healthcare area. Students consider opportunities for advancement and enjoyable relationships with patients as most important for choosing a placement. Community care is perceived as a ‘low-status-field’ with many elderly patients, where students expect to find little variety in caregiving and few opportunities for advancement. Students' perceptions of the field are at odds with things they believe to be important for their placement.
    Conclusion: Due to misconceptions, students perceive community care as offering them few challenges. Strategies to positively influence students' perceptions of community nursing are urgently required to halt the
    dissonance between students' preference for the hospital and society's need for highly educated community nurses.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number10.1016/j.nedt.2017.09.016
    Pages (from-to)92/97
    Number of pages6
    JournalNurse Education Today
    Issue number60
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018


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