Each year since 2006, the University of Auckland Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences Tracking Project have collected information on career intention, debt and income sources from healthcare students at entry and exit, from their respective programmes. This paper describes the demographics and career choices for the first time in this cohort, and identifies changes in demographics and trends of interest for future career choices from entry to exit.
Convenience samples of cohorts were recruited from years 2006 to 2016 with data collected in first year (n = 1057) and final year (n = 818) of the Bachelor of Nursing programme (BNURS). Demographics were analysed, students who answered both the entry and exit survey (n = 564) were paired for further analysis of changes in career interest during the programme.
Students at entry had the strongest interest for emergency care and child health, with little interest for academic/research and older person’s health. By exit, the strongest interest was in child health and surgery (general), while disinterest for academic/research and for older person’s health remained. Between entry and exit, there were clear, consistent decreases in some interest for mental health, decreased strong interest for child health and emergency care, while there was an increased strong interest for primary health care.
This is the first longitudinal study of a large number of New Zealand undergraduate nursing students. Results from this project both confirm and expand on our understanding of student demographics and career interests.