Student Perceptions about the Influence of a Perioperative Nursing Elective on Career Preferences

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International Journal of Nursing Education Scholarship






It has been suggested that offering perioperative nursing courses will increase the number of nurses and new graduates who enter the perioperative area. There is little research to support that students’ career choices are influenced by immersion in perioperative content. The purpose of this qualitative study was to describe student perceptions of perioperative nursing as a career option following completion of an elective in perioperative nursing. Two focus groups were held involving students (N=19) who completed the course. One hour sessions were audio taped as students described their perceptions about perioperative nursing. Tapes were transcribed verbatim and analyzed for themes. Four themes were identified: 1) opening their eyes: career advantages, 2) being captive: career disadvantages, 3) paradox unrecognized, and 4) I’ll be a better nurse. Although students were not persuaded to alter their primary employment intentions, they acknowledged the possibility of a future career in the perioperative area.