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Objective: This study extends knowledge of how nurses' careers interact with their personal lives and professional development.


Background: Extant research suggests that nurses' career patterns are unstable or unplanned. However, these images may be a reflection of the models that are applied. Such models are overwhelmingly normative and do not reflect the actual life experience of nurses.


Methods: A series of interviews explored how nurses make changes in their lives. Questions focused on the stimulus for change and the resources used, problems associated with changes, and the effects of changes on the nurses themselves and others.


Results: The results show that nurses' careers, professional development, and personal lives are interconnected.


Conclusions: The concept of interconnectedness reflects the confluence of events or people and their contemplation and integration by the nurses into their lives and relationships. The results contradict normative admonitions about career planning and have implications for the development of theories on nursing careers and for nurse managers.