Mary Krieger

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master Of Science In Nursing

Colleges & School

Ruth S. Coleman College Of Nursing And Health Sciences

First Advisor

Margaret Murphy

Library of Congress Subject Heading

Nursing--Study and teaching; Nursing students--Psychology; Nursing students


What is nursing? Despite recent attempts to promote and further the nursing profession, many people, including beginning nursing students, do not have a clear answer to that question. The purpose of this study was to explore beginning nursing students' understanding of nursing, and how that understanding changed overtime. Findings from this study were intended to provide input into specific nursing interventions that could be used to develop education and recruitment strategies to lessen the current nursing shortage. This study was conducted using a qualitative research design. Three nurses who had graduated from an associate degree-nursing program were interviewed regarding their earliest understanding of nursing; how that understanding changed as they progressed through their nursing program; and how it continued to change post graduation. Four more nurses from the same graduating class were asked the same questions in a focus group session. In addition, definitions of nursing written by each nurse while a nursing student were used to provide a triangular approach to data collection and enhanced the rigor of the study. Computer software (NUD*IST), was utilized to assist in data analysis. Early understandings of nursing included nurses as care givers and followers of doctor's orders. Later understandings were more complex and included several roles of nursing, including those of holistic caregiver, patient teacher and advocate. In addition, the nurses interviewed identified the many stressors they faced in their nursing careers. Based on the findings, recommendations were made to increase public awareness of the nursing profession through a variety of strategies.


On-Campus Access

OCLC Number