Bahraini nursing students’ attitudes: from student to nurse-A longitudinal research study

Eman Tawash, Seamus Cowman


Nursing manpower in the Middle East is highly dependent on expatriates and this presents a challenge in establishing and sustaining indigenous nursing developments. Understanding the perceptions of local nursing students and nurses joining the profession is essential to successful strategies for recruitment and retention of nurses. In contrast to the west, very little is known about this topic in the Middle East. This article aims to identify the perceptions of a Bahraini cohort of nursing students about nursing as a career choice and how these perceptions may change during the course of a programme of nursing education and one year after graduation as a nurse. A longitudinal research design was employed to study the perceptions of the first intake of nursing students enrolled into a new School of Nursing \& Midwifery providing a BSc Nursing Programme; data were collected between 2006 and 2012. A methodological triangulation research approach was used incorporating quantitative and qualitative dimensions. The data collection methods included written reflections, self-administered questionnaires and focus groups. Bahraini nursing students expressed positive perceptions about nursing from their graduate programme years and through the staff nurse year. Observations made about the public image of nursing in Bahrain suggest that nursing is perceived as a low paying, low status job involving excessive hard and unpleasant work. The public perceptions of Bahraini people about nursing may be grounded in strong cultural influences. Any efforts to improve the enrollment and retention of Bahraini nurses should consider enhancing the social values of the nursing profession.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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