Calling to Nursing: Concept Analysis

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Abstract

The aims of this article are (a) to analyze the concept of a calling as it relates nursing and (b) to develop a definition of calling to nursing with the detail and clarity needed to guide reliable and valid research. The classic steps described by Walker and Avant are used for the analysis. Literature from several disciplines is reviewed including vocational psychology, Christian career counseling, sociology, organizational management, and nursing. The analysis provides an operational definition of a calling to nursing and establishes 3 defining attributes of the concept: (a) a passionate intrinsic motivation or desire (perhaps with a religious component), (b) an aspiration to engage in nursing practice, as a means of fulfilling one's purpose in life, and (c) the desire to help others as one's purpose in life. Antecedents to the concept are personal introspection and cognitive awareness. Positive consequences to the concept are improved work meaningfulness, work engagement, career commitment, personal well-being, and satisfaction. Negative consequences of having a calling might include willingness to sacrifice well-being for work and problems with work-life balance. Following the concept analysis, philosophical assumptions, contextual factors, interdisciplinary work, research opportunities, and practice implications are discussed.

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