Anglia Ruskin University
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Perceptions of the community toward the nursing profession and its impact on the local nursing workforce shortage in Riyadh

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posted on 2023-08-30, 14:52 authored by Hammad M. Alroqi
Riyadh City in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has a chronic and severe shortage of Saudi-trained nurses and a high nurse turnover rate. Expatriate nurses comprise most of the nursing workforce in Riyadh. This presents a challenge to safe healthcare delivery. To formulate strategies to promote and encourage secondary school Saudi students to choose nursing as their career path, it is imperative to understand community attitudes and perceptions toward the nursing profession. The aim of this study is to explore the perception of the Riyadh community toward nursing as a future career choice. In this study, the Riyadh community refers to final year high school students, parents of high school students and Saudi nationals working as nurses in Riyadh. A sequential exploratory mixed-method study was utilised to accomplish the aim and objectives of the study. The first phase uses qualitative focus groups and was conducted with the general community and nursing groups; it explored the issues and their perceptions of nursing in general. A questionnaire was adopted from Elham Al Naqshbandi. The validity and reliability of the questionnaire was tested, and the items of the questionnaire were assessed for their appropriateness. Finally, the questionnaire was distributed to the target sample in groups in Riyadh City. The qualitative findings were presented using explanatory themes in two sections. The three themes in section one are as follows: What is nursing? The contradictions; Social challenges; and Influence on the students’ decision to choose nursing as a career choice. The two themes in section two are the following: Experiences in career choice and a view of nursing in the Riyadh community. In the quantitative stage, 554 (86.6%) high school students completed the questionnaire in October 2014. The findings indicate that although school students respect the nursing profession, they demonstrated a lack of awareness in the community about nursing. Students’ concerns about nursing were around perceived future marital status and the lower financial remuneration compared to other professions. Riyadh community high school students are potential recruits for local nursing programmes and are a source of understanding about nursing as a career choice. The findings of this study support previous studies that reveal that choosing nursing as a career in Riyadh, KSA is strongly influenced by the societal image of the nursing profession and family attitude toward nursing. One’s perception of nursing as a career in Riyadh is influenced by institutional factors in the Saudi context (cultural-cognitive and normative factors). The reasons for not being interested in nursing as a future career include, but are not restricted to, normative factors; social status, financial status and sociocultural factors, such as influence of parents and religion; the issue of mixing with other genders; and long working hours and doing night shifts. Encouraging Saudi high school students to consider nursing as a future career option in Riyadh city requires fundamental reform and improvement to the societal image and understanding of the nursing profession. Strategies to do require plans to engage family members, particularly parents, as well as the leaders from high schools, nursing, the community, media and religious leaders to help reshape the image of nursing.



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