Today's nursing students believe in greater honesty with patients, are less likely to agree to short-notice shift changes and are much older than their 1983 counterparts, according to a study published in the latest Journal of Advanced Nursing.
UK researchers recreated a 1983 survey of 176 nursing students by posing the same questions to 618 students at a School of Nursing in Greater Manchester.
As well as differences in attitudes, they discovered that the profile of nursing students had changed considerably in the 22 years between surveys, particularly when it came to age, sex and religion.
Key findings included:
About a fifth of the students in both surveys were unsure about whether keeping the truth from a patient was acceptable. (18 per cent in 2005 and 20 per cent in 1983).
54 per cent of the 1983 students felt that a good nurse should be prepared to change shifts at short notice to help out. By 2005 this figure had fallen to 23 per cent.
1983 students were much more decisive about their attitude to shift changes. Only six per cent were unsure of their response, compared with 25 per cent in 2005.
Five per cent of the 1983 students were over 22 years of age. By 2005, 63 per cent were over 22 and 37 per cent were over 30.
11 per cent of the 2005 sample were male, compared with three per cent in 1983.
The number of students belonging to a specific religion remained stable (71 per cent in 1983 and 72 per cent in 2005) but there were a much greater number of religions named in the more recent survey.
"The demographic changes found in this study are clear and important" says Martin Johnson, Professor in Nursing and Research Direct
Contact: Annette Whibley
Blackwell Publishing Ltd.