The lived experience of choosing nursing as a profession
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The aim of this phenomenological study was to examine the lived experience of choosing professional nursing as a career and to explore the impact that public perception of nursing had on this choice for purposes of informing effective recruitment and retention strategies. Semi-structured interviews of 10 nurses who had been practicing between 11 months and two years were conducted. Five themes emerged from the data: Up Close and Personal/Exposure and Connection, The Image of Nursing, The Conflict Inherent in Nursing, Recruitment and Retention and the Work Environment. From these themes a description of the lived experience of choosing a career in nursing was formed. For these participants, the choice of nursing as a career bespoke a passion that had been affected—but not yet eclipsed—by conflict, compromised fulfillment, and the internalization of nursing and gendered stereotypes directly influenced by the image of nursing. Recommendations involved proposals for the support and preservation of the passion for the profession newer nurses demonstrate as well as health policy initiatives for programs, including a new ad campaign for nursing, that would expose the public to the value of a career in nursing and educate them about the significance and complexities of nursing practice.