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Background Determining the reasons people choose to study nursing may help educators and managers develop student-focussed and enticing nursing programmes. In Australia, little research has been undertaken with students entering nursing programmes and the reasons for their choice. Objectives The aim of this study was to determine why new students choose to enter nursing at university. Design A descriptive survey design. Setting An urban university in Sydney, Australia. Participants Undergraduate nursing students at the beginning of their first year of study. Method An open-ended question relating to the reasons for students’ choice of a nursing programme was included in the survey. The transcribed textual data were content analysed for words related to the students’ choice. Results The students’ reasons for entering nursing programmes were both personal and career related, with personal being more dominant. The reasons to start nursing were: being able to help and care for people, job security, the ability to enter tertiary education and the enjoyment or love of nursing. Conclusions Nursing remains a career of choice for young and mature students entering university. It is seen to provide security, interest and opportunity to help and care for others. Universities must focus on this as they develop programmes for a generation where multiple changes of career appear inevitable during their lifetime. The nursing profession needs to look at career pathways after graduation that provide these challenges within nursing itself.

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Journal Article

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