The importance of Awareness of Nursing Students' denotative images of Nursing

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The aim of this article is to describe the images that recent nursing students in Eurocentric culture have of nursing and discuss how these images can be used to highlight nurses' authority and autonomy in comparison with the medical profession. The empirical material consists of short narratives from 168 nursing students. Three themes emerged from the categories of answers: The Nurse as an Idealistic Helper, The Nurse as a Realistic Developer, and The Nurse as a Young Seeker.

The essence of nursing could be traced in these themes even if a solid ground of nursing shows itself in changing forms. According to this study and previous research, nursing can be considered as a mummified occupation in its essence, given that the old values and stereotypes largely remain. The main motives for becoming a nurse are altruism, a desire for autonomy, and flexibility. To strengthen the profession, both teachers and clinical supervisors should use the students' images of nursing as a starting point in nursing education and develop them in different contexts.

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