Factors Influencing the High School Students' Choice of a Nursing Career in Bahrain: Development of a Best Practice Model for Nursing Recruitment
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Background: In response to the shortage of nurses, the Kingdom of Bahrain continues to have high dependence on expatriate nurses to maintain the health services. Consistent with Bahrainization, the development and expansion of an indigenous nursing profession through increasing the number of Bahrainis working as nurses must be a health service priority. However, in attracting local candidates to study nursing, the public image of nursing in the Middle East continues to be of concern. The study aimed to identify factors that influence the high school students and their parents in Bahrain to choose the nursing profession as a future career. It also aimed to explore and test strategic interventions to promote nursing as a career in Bahrain.
Methods: A mixed methods research approach was used incorporating quantitative and qualitative dimensions. The study sample included high school students, students’ parents, career guidance counselors and nursing students. A one-group pretest-posttest design was also used to introduce a nursing recruitment intervention to a group of high school students. SPSS was used to analyse quantitative data, while Colaizzi's (1978) methodology and Krueger’s (1994) framework were applied to analyse the qualitative data.
Findings: The study reported that generally, high school students, parents, career guidance counselors and nursing students have positive perceptions about nursing. However, nursing does not seem to be an attractive career option. It is proposed that the public perceptions of Bahraini people about nursing may be grounded in strong cultural influences and any efforts to improve the enrolment and retention of Bahraini nurses should consider enhancing the social values of the nursing profession.
Conclusion: This study is significant as it will place the perceptions and understanding of Bahraini people and culture in the centre of nursing promotion and recruitment. It will also be a new and insightful addition to the international literature. Some of the issues raised in the study are reflective of the core international literature; however there are fundamental issues particular to the Gulf region, which will require attention in a context of an overall nursing recruitment strategy for Arabic nursing. The recruitment model NURS-P.R.A.M. is new and is a uniquely Arabic creation. It is focused on recruitment to nursing in the region and in particular Bahrain. The model was built from the evidence developed through this dissertation.