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A longitudinal study of perceptions of self-concept and professional self-concept in Turkish nursing students

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This study was conducted to determine the relationship between self-concept and professional self-concept amongst nursing students undertaking a four year degree. A descriptive longitudinal study was applied amongst all nursing students undertaking a four year degree starting in the academic year 2006-2007. The sample consists of total 78 students. The data collection was via two Likert scale type questionnaires about the self description of students and their descriptions of the professional qualities of nurses which were issued a week apart. The first questionnaire consisted of a self-report form of 40 adjectives and students were asked to rate the suitability of each adjective for describing their personality. The second questionnaire employed the same adjectives as the first questionnaire. Students were asked to rate how necessary it was for professional nurses to possess these qualities. SPSS was used to analyse the data via percentages and Cohen’s Kappa method. The data for first year students showed 77.6% were happy to have chosen nursing but significant nearly a quarter were not. 85.9% thought they had similar characteristics to those required by nursing but there was a significant minority of almost one sixth who felt they did not have the required characteristics. The congruence between self-concept and professional selfconcept was highest in the fourth year followed by the first year with the second year being the lowest. Congruence between self-concept and professional self-concept across all four years was evident from our study. Some implications of these findings for nursing education and practice are considered. A realistic approach to what is involved in both the study and practice of nursing can increase the self and professional self-concept congruence. It is important for nursing educators to effectively manage student expectations as a better alignment of these with actual situations helps students cope with the demands placed upon them.

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