Fast track graduate entry (Master’s) nursing programmes resulting in registration as a registered nurse, are new to New Zealand. The first programme was established in 2014 by the Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology (CPIT) with the University of Canterbury. Given this, no published research exists in New Zealand about these students. A replicated quantitative exploratory descriptive study, using an existing validated tool (on-line survey) from Monash University was used to gather data from the first four cohorts of students to examine the characteristics of students and their motivation to change their career path.
Results to date suggest that the students are mostly mature people who are highly motivated to become nurses. They come from a variety of education backgrounds (i.e. theology, zoology, psychology) and work experience (i.e. paramedicine, speech language therapy and banking). They view nursing as a way to help others via a rewarding and challenging career which offers career stability. The fast track nature of the programme coupled with the post-grad level of study was considered attractive. Furthermore, the concept of “making my last degree count for something” was important for the students.
Fast track graduate entry (master’s) nursing programmes offer study choice for students, with under graduate degrees, who may not have considered a career move to nursing otherwise. Graduates will add to the diversity of the nursing population. Understanding their characteristics will help to customise such programmes.
Key words: Graduate entry nursing programme; nursing education.