Public Perceptions of Nursing Careers: The Influence of the Media and Nursing Shortages


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Abstract

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY➤ The high public regard for nurses has not necessarily translated into an adequate supply of individuals who are willing to be nurses.➤ The expected future demand for nurse labor challenges us to look more closely at the public's perceptions of nursing and nursing careers, and consider how they are shaped by personal experience, media messages, and socio-demographic factors.➤ As part of ongoing efforts to examine factors shaping the future of the nursing workforce, a national survey of Americans was conducted to probe attitudes toward the nursing profession and their experiences with nurses.➤ The data in this national survey of the public about nursing demonstrate that the nursing profession is highly respected and that the vast majority of the general public would recommend nursing careers to qualified students.➤ If the profession is so well thought of and so highly recommended, why are there persistent concerns that not enough people are becoming RNs to avoid or at least slow down the development of future shortages?➤ A prolonged and persistent effort is needed to educate people about nursing careers, to stimulate the expanded production of nursing faculty, and to bring creative approaches to financing nursing education and workforce improvements to convert the large number of seriously interested candidates into the nursing profession.

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