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• Students were not optimistic about future career due to the possibility of being jobless.
• The gender, family and cultural issues shape participants' future career preferences.
• Students preferred working in critical care units.
• Students' career decisions are influenced by issues that go beyond economic benefits.
• Students verbalized concerns about the public image of nursing as a future profession.
This study examined employment planning and career preferences of final year nursing students in Jordan. Focus group discussions (n = 4) were conducted by the first author with a convenience sample of 27 nursing students. N-Vivo 9 was used to analyze the qualitative data. The analysis revealed two themes.The first theme focused on “moving from study to work”, and comprised two sub-themes: being uncertain and hesitant and being a real nurse. The second theme was “the place where I want to be”, and referred to participants' preferences concerning their future career. Participants showed interest in critical care units but they were not optimistic about their future career prospects due to the possibility of being jobless and the perceived low public image of nurses.In addition to the nature of placement atmosphere, gender, family and cultural issues were found to shape participants' preferences. It is therefore important to periodically review the considerations of employment planning and career preferences of nursing students, otherwise devising interventions for sound recruitment of nurses in the future will be flawed.
Journal: Nurse Education in Practice - Volume 15, Issue 5, September 2015, Pages 366–372