Recruitment & Retention Report: EXTRA Young adults' perception of an ideal career Does gender matter?
Betty Rambur PhD, RN
Mary Val Palumbo DNP, APRN
Barbara McIntosh PhD
Judy Cohen PhD, RN
Shelly Naud PhD

Nursing Management
April 2011 
Volume 42  Number 4
Pages 19 - 24
  PDF Version Available!

For years, gender diversity in nursing has been recognized as being as important as racial and ethnic diversity in providing quality care for our population.1 Men, nevertheless, remain decidedly underrepresented in the nursing workforce. Despite the recession-related downturn in some healthcare markets, the magnitude of the projected nursing shortage-coupled with the complexity of the care provided by nurses-suggests that it's valuable to recruit from the full potential talent pool to best serve our nation's health needs.This study's aim was to better understand similarities and differences by gender among young adults' perception of an ideal career and their perception of nursing. This approach assumes that career choices, at least in part, are influenced by the perceived fit between a hypothetical ideal and potentially available career choices. The overall objective is to inform the development of evidence-based career recruitment strategies that are appropriately targeted to both men and women.Career choice and gender. Two factors have been consistently theorized to influence traditional career choices: prescribed gender roles and vocational interests.2 Gottfredson, for example, argued that early gender role socialization shapes interests, which in turn circumscribes one's range of acceptable career alternatives.3 Further, a mismatch between college students' work goals and perceived potential goal achievement may explain differences in interest and career choice. Compared with men, for example, women in one study reported interpersonal work goals more frequently and high pay and work status work goals less frequently.4 Similarly, in a study of medical students choosing a specialty, men were more likely to identify technical challenge, earning potential, and prestige as important qualities in a specialty; women were more likely to identify residency conditions, part-time work, and parental leave availability.5 It's argued that cultural beliefs about gender bias individuals'

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