Baccalaureate Nursing Students' Intention to Choose a Public Health Career

Document Type


Publication Date



Education | Higher Education | Medical Education | Medicine and Health Sciences | Nursing | Public Health and Community Nursing



To determine nursing students' public health career intentions, and to determine recruitment strategies and other factors that influence students' public health career intentions.

Design and Sample

Descriptive, correlational design. 354 junior and senior baccalaureate nursing students.


Students completed a researcher developed survey about choosing public health career intentions and recruitment incentives.


Students indicated that they were likely or very likely to consider a career in public health immediately following graduation (21.1%), 1 year after graduation (26.4%) and more than 1 year after graduation (35%). Significant variables influencing career choice immediately following graduation were enrolling institution [t(3,340) = 2.66, p = .008] and traditional clinical site [t(3,340) = −2.306, p = .022]. One year after graduation, traditional public health clinical site [t(3,340) = −2.648, p = .008], and more than 1 year after graduation enrolling institution [t(4,339) = −2.364, p = .019] and gender [t(4,339) = 2.094, p = .037] were significant variables influencing career intentions. The top three recruitment strategies ranked by students were comparable wages, flexible scheduling, and tuition reimbursement.


Identifying priority recruitment strategies for public health students will enhance the ability of public health leaders to recruit graduate registered nurses to public health. Faculty should continue to evaluate both clinical and classroom experiences to stimulate excitement and interest for public health as a career choice.