Current literature has paid increasing attention to the factors influencing career decisions; nevertheless, few studies have compared candidates that have chosen a nursing versus a non-nursing degree. A multicenter, cross-sectional study design was performed to explore whether or not certain individual variables and having inaccurate data about nursing as a profession influenced the choice of a non-nursing degree. Six non-nursing and three nursing degree programs offered by two public Italian universities were involved. A total of 507 students who had just enrolled in non-nursing degree programs and 202 in nursing degree programs were invited to complete a questionnaire comprising 12 closed items. Overall, from 40.0% to 57.1% of the variation in choosing a degree other than nursing was explained by variables such as age, and having inaccurate data on the nursing profession. For each year over 19 years of age, the likelihood that the student would decide to enroll in a nursing degree program increases. For each wrong answer reported on the questionnaire evaluating knowledge on nursing profession, there was a reduction of approximately six times in the likelihood that the student would enroll in a nursing degree program. Information regarding the nursing profession should be offered in early stages of life; in addition, offering accurate data on the profession is a key factor in evaluating the congruence of the career with the individual's personal motivations, aspirations, and talents.
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