Centre of Expertise Urban Vitality

Factors underlying perceptions of community care and other healthcare areas in first-year baccalaureate nursing students

a focus group study


Background: Despite the increasing labour market shortage of well-educated community nurses, few baccalaureate nursing students choose for a career in community care. Obtaining knowledge of how students perceive healthcare areas early in their education is important to take meaningful steps in counteracting any existing misconceptions with targeted curriculum redesign.<br/><br/>Objective: Determination of factors underlying perceptions of healthcare areas in first-year baccalaureate nursing students. <br/><br/>Design: A descriptive qualitative study using focus group inquiry. <br/><br/>Methods: This study follows up on a large-sample quantitative multicentre survey study. Fourteen first-year nursing students at a university of applied sciences in the Netherlands participated in focus group discussions in October 2014. Transcripts of the discussions were coded by two independent researchers at three levels – open, axial and selective coding – on the basis of two templates. The codes were sorted into categories and assigned to suitable main codes in the templates. The number of sub-codes per category and code were added together.<br/><br/>Results: Eight main themes were formulated, to wit (1) variety and diversity, (2) challenges, (3) improving people's health, (4) collaboration, (5) role models, (6) patient- or environment-based perceptions, (7) self-efficacy and (8) immediate vicinity. Data suggest that first-year students have clear ideas about the characteristics which they consider important in professional practice. Their perceptions do not necessarily reflect the actual situation, as they expect the hospital to possess all desired characteristics while community nursing seems to be undervalued.<br/><br/>Conclusion: To remedy students’ misperceptions, four recommendations are formulated for curriculum redesign strategies deriving from the eight themes. These recommendations are based on collaboration between school and care organisations as well as on themes related to in-depth knowledge within the educational programme. The interventions will potentially help to strengthen the focus on community care, which will foster a more optimistic and realistic career outlook on this field. <br/><br/>

Reference van Iersel, M., Latour, C. H. M., van Rijn, M., de Vos, R., Kirschner, P. A., & Scholte op Reimer, W. J. M. (2018). Factors underlying perceptions of community care and other healthcare areas in first-year baccalaureate nursing students: a focus group study. Nurse Education Today, 66(July), 57-62. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nedt.2018.04.004
9 April 2018

Publication date

Apr 2018


Margriet van Iersel
Rien de Vos
Paul A. Kirschner
Wilma J.M. Scholte op Reimer


Research database