A Triangulation study: Bahraini nursing students' perceptions of nursing as a career
There is a broad international literature examining the perceptions, experiences and values of nursing students with very little investigative work from the Gulf region and no published work on the perceptions of student nurses from Bahrain. The literature shows that students have a wide range of pre-existing perceptions about nursing and that those early perceptions have a profound influence on their decision to continue with their nursing studies. Historically, in a context of migration, Bahrain has been attractive to expatriate nurses and this has created an overreliance on external manpower which leads to the detriment of developing an indigenous nursing profession. This study aims to identify the perceptions and experiences of student nurses in Bahrain about nursing as a career choice and generate an understanding of the factors influencing recruitment to nursing from the Bahraini population.
A triangulation research design engaging quantitative and qualitative data collection methods was used in the study. Data were obtained through student nurses’ written reflections, self-reporting questionnaires and focus groups collected during their nursing programme. The study participants were the first ever cohort of 38 Bahraini nursing students attending the first private University in Bahrain where the study took place. Qualitative data was analyzed using Colaizzi’s methodology and quantitative data was analyzed using SPSS Version 17.
The participants perceived nursing as caring, helping people and a humanitarian job. Nursing was considered to be a tough job and not well accepted socially with cultural issues impacting on the values attached to nursing as a career choice. Participants prior to entering nursing used the internet as the most potent source of information and they were also motivated by their parents and friends to join nursing. Participants stated their commitment to a nursing career, and their plans to continue with participation in higher education.
Some of the issues raised in the study are reflective of the international literature; however there are fundamental issues particular to the Gulf region, which will require attention in a context of an overall national nursing recruitment strategy.