Career dreams among health care students: 'I want to make a difference.'

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal article

    Inge Øster,
  • Karen Munk
  • Jette Henriksen, VIA University College, Denmark
Background: In Denmark, as in most countries around the world, the increase in the older population has generated a demand for health care services. Despite the need, there is a shortage of health professionals in geriatrics and gerontology. Working with older people is not an attractive option.
Aim: The aim of this study was to investigate career dreams among undergraduate students in health care majors in order to understand what motivates them.
Method: Eighteen focus group interviews were carried out with students at health care education institutions at the beginning and end of their study period. Narrative analysis was performed within a sociological frame.
Findings: Four narratives emerged: The students do not consider working with elderly people; they dream of making a difference; they want a lot of activity in their future jobs; and, finally, during education the clinical location has a big impact in stimulating the interest in the elderly.
Discussion: There is a need for changing the way we talk about older adults everywhere, not just in health care education. Attention must be drawn to the fact that geriatrics and gerontology do not cover the components students are looking for in their future careers.

Keywords: geriatrics, gerontology, elderly, education, bachelor, career, health care program, nursing, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, nutrition, relaxation and psychomotor therapy

Original languageEnglish
JournalGerontology & Geriatrics Education
Pages (from-to)pp. 1-14, 2017
Number of pages13
StateE-pub ahead of print - 14 Feb 2017

    Research areas

  • Geriatrics, gerontology, education

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