Professional and academic destination of masters in nursing graduates: A national survey

Drennan, J. (2008) Professional and academic destination of masters in nursing graduates: A national survey. pp. 751-759. ISSN 02606917 (ISSN)


Master's degrees, especially in the form of coursework master's programmes are becoming the main conduit for continuing professional education to the professions. However, there is a paucity of literature on the academic or professional destination of nurses following the completion of master's degrees in nursing. A cross-sectional postal survey of 322 graduates from masters in nursing programmes in Ireland was undertaken. Former students were surveyed regarding their professional and academic destinations subsequent to graduation. The majority of graduates were employed in clinical nursing followed by a substantial number working in the area of nurse education, mainly at the grade of college lecturer. The vast majority of graduates had achieved promotional grades following the master's degree. A minority of graduates indicated a desire to undertake further study at degree level. Those that did were following or intended to follow PhD level studies. However, the majority of graduates did not view the degree as a pathway to a PhD but as an integral part of their continuing professional education and related to clinical practice. There is a reversal of the trend seen in Ireland and the UK in the mid to late 1990s in which the majority of graduates followed career pathways in nurse education. Although there has been an increase in the number of nurses completing master's level education over the last five years unemployment of underemployment of graduates is not yet an issue. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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