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• Study was about unpacking the values-in-action of the profession, and what motivates and stimulates new nurses.
• Results show that many of the traditional values of nursing persist as motivating and driving nursing work and care.
• Nurse graduates take as important, guiding their judgements and behaviours intrinsic, extrinsic and social work values.
• Descriptions about the values and meaning of the nursing profession offer understandings about nursing for future students.
• These insights about nursing can lead to the education and recruitment of individuals suited to the work of nursing.
This paper explores the values and meaning of the nursing profession utilising a sample of new nursing graduates just entering the workforce. Nursing practice has shifted over the course of the 20th and 21st Centuries, with varied and shifting positions on the values and philosophy that underpin it. Reported here is data from a cohort of Australian and New Zealand nurse graduates (n = 97) who submitted survey responses to the open-ended question “I love nursing and/or midwifery because …” as part of the web-based Graduate e-Cohort Study (GeS). Data were analysed relying on qualitative content analysis. Five themes emerged from the complete analysis of the responses. These themes were; self and personal development, immediate reward (intrinsic work values); meaning making and greater good, mobilities and momentum (extrinsic work values); and person-centred care (social work value). The findings suggest that while economic, workplace, organisational and professional influences may have influenced nursing work, when asked about what they value in nursing, the traditional values emerge as central. Nursing curricula and nurse educators would do well to promote these values and meanings leading to the education and recruitment of individuals suited to the work of nursing.
Journal: Nurse Education in Practice - Volume 15, Issue 4, July 2015, Pages 258–264