What factors influence Hong Kong school students in their choice of a career in nursing?

W. Law, D. Arthur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


Chronic and recurrent shortages of nurses, coupled with the increasing demand for high quality and motivated nurses and competition for secondary school leavers from other professions, are issues which prompted this investigation of senior school students' career choice. Using a descriptive survey design, and a questionnaire developed for the study, 1246 Form 6 students in Hong Kong were surveyed, of these 28% respondents reported that they were interested in studying nursing. The findings indicated that students' decision to choose or not choose nursing was significantly influenced by the demographic factors: gender (χ2=42.72, p<0.0005), biology subject pursued (χ2=18.94, p<0.0005), previous academic achievement (χ2=34.33, p<0.0005) and mother's occupation (χ2=21.08, p=0.012); and their perception of nursing as a career score (t=14.21, df=1237, p<0.0005). Students' intention to study nursing was also significantly affected by social influence: parents (χ2=11.53, p=0.001), school career masters (χ2=5.52, p=0.019) and friends (χ2=4.83, p=0.028); past experience with career activities (χ2=84.479, p<0.005); and working in hospital (χ2=31.742, p<0.005). Backward elimination logistic regression analysis concluded that being female (p<0.0005), biology study at Form 5 and A-level (p<0.0005), total perception scores (p<0.0005), and participation in career activities (p<0.0005) were found to be predictors of the students' intention to study nursing. Results of this study can be used by nurse leaders and recruiters to develop strategies and help school leavers perceive nursing in a more positive way. Expanding the informational sources about nursing can facilitate the recruitment process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-32
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Nursing Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2003
Externally publishedYes


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