© Borgis - New Medicine 1/2010, s. 22-24
*Judit Helga Feith1, Péter Balázs2, Erika Garaj1, Ágnes Tóth Kovácsné3, István Vingender1
Plans for working abroad and career preferences among nursing students in Hungary
1Department of Social Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary
Head of Department: István Vingender Ph.D.
2Department of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary
Head of Department: Anna Tompa Ph.D.
3Department of Health and Social Care, Széchenyi István University, Győr, Hungary
Head of Department: Sándor Nagy Ph.D.
Aim. The aim of the present study was to gain an objective evaluation of female nursing students' future work expectations in the context of a national labour market recently integrated with the EU.
Material and method. This study is based on cross-sectional quantitative surveys among female nursing college students in Hungary. There were 267 students invited to participate (41 refused, response rate 84.6%).
Results. Nearly two in ten nursing students (78.3%) taking part in the survey rejected work as a nurse in the future. Those who indicated plans for working abroad (57.0%) were statistically related to several other variables as well. Students were influenced by their pessimistic future expectations, by perceived difficulties in maintaining a present partnership or finding a partner, by opportunities of learning a foreign language in a native environment, and by being a home owner at the time of the survey in Hungary. Future plans that were either extremely career-oriented or extremely child-centred were dismissed by a large percentage of the students.
Conclusion. According to our results the nursing workforce migration will escalate in the future, creating additional disadvantages for the Hungarian health care system.
An increasing number of Hungarian physicians, dentists, nurses and other trained health professionals have accepted jobs in more developed European countries following the country's accession to the European Union (EU) on 1 May 2004 (1). Hungary complied with the Bologna Declaration of 19 June 1999 on educational systems and restructured its professional training in health care.
Providing health care with qualified professionals is a worldwide problem. According to the OECD Indicators, the challenge is increasing due to the global workforce migration (2). Nurses are the largest group of health care providers worldwide and are disproportionately women; thus female workforce migration has escalated in recent decades, creating additional disadvantages for women and the health care system (3). The main cause of the lack of professional people is the lack of social appreciation, the possibility of career development and the inappropriate planning of human resources (4).
Studies on the changing nature of women's roles in the family and work have been well documented in the past few decades (5, 6, 7). These studies emerged as a result of a growing number of women in the labour market (8), and because of the rapidly spreading model (9) of the dual wage-earning couple (10). In health care, the majority of studies on these topics have examined the incompatibility of family and work-related roles, specifically the conflicts arising from this incompatibility (11, 12). In Hungary there are many things unchanged in the health care system, including low incomes, inflexible work schedules, changing shifts and night duties, inadequate workplace conditions, lack of proper tools and equipment, and the severe psychological burden placed on employees by the nature of their job (13, 14, 15).
Aim of the study
To our knowledge, there are few studies that have explored the future expectations of students currently studying in health colleges, especially as it relates to their propensity to migrate and their career plans. The aim of the present study was to gain an objective evaluation of female nursing students' future work expectations.
Material and methods
This study is based on cross-sectional quantitative surveys conducted in November 2003 among female nursing college students. Nursing students from all Hungarian higher education institutions were approached in their third or fourth academic year to complete a self-administered questionnaire in a group setting. There were 267 female students who were invited to participate, of whom 41 refused (84.6% response rate, N=226).
Questions included demographic characteristics of the respondents and items related to a chosen profession, career plans, and traditional female roles. The main dependent variables considered in this study were likelihood of working as a nurse and propensity to work abroad after graduation. The questions were selected to take into account the role model and role obligations of the modern woman to compare them with future plans and role assumptions. Cronbach's alpha internal reliability coefficient was applied to scales in the questionnaire. Alpha coefficients ranged between 0.70 and 0.83.
Data from the questionnaires were entered in the SPSS Data Entry. In addition to distribution tests, Pearson's chi-squared test was applied to measure relationships between categorical variables and logistic regression models were applied in order to predict students' future expectations.
The respondents' average age was 23 years. The majority (79.5%) had never been married, 16.5% were living with a partner, 3.6% were married, and one person (0.4%) was divorced. The majority of respondents (78.3%) were planning to enter the nursing profession upon completion of their degree. Students' positive opinion of their college education has a substantial impact on whether they are planning to start working as nurses (p<0.001). Those who clearly rejected entering the nursing profession indicated two main reasons with the same frequency for their decision: first the low level of respect generally shown to this profession (58.1%), and secondly the incompatibility of nursing with family life (58.1%).
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