Factors influencing high school learners to choose nursing as a career
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Globally there is recognition of a health workforce crisis characterised by critical shortages, migration, and an uneven geographical distribution of health professionals. The Nursing Strategy for South Africa records that for many decades nursing has been a career of choice for South Africans from all sectors of society (Department of Health 2008: 11). That has changed as nursing has become less appealing to learners. This raises questions as to the knowledge, attitudes and perceptions of learners towards the nursing profession. Aim of the study : The aim of the study was to determine factors influencing high school learners towards nursing as a career. Methodology : A descriptive cross-sectional quantitative and qualitative design was used to guide the study. The study was conducted in two high schools that were purposely sampled; the population comprised of high school learners from the two schools. Questionnaires were used to collect data from Grades 10 and 11. Life Orientation subject teachers were interviewed during data collection. Quantitative data was analysed by using SPSS. Qualitative data was analysed by using thematic analysis. Results : The findings of this study revealed that learners had inadequate knowledge of nursing. Interviews with teachers showed that this inadequate knowledge by learners could be associated with a lack of active involvement of the Department of Health in promoting nursing as a career.