Recent Study Examined Effectiveness of Promoting Nursing Careers to SC Students

In a recent study entitled “Educational Interventions to Improve the Perception of Nursing as a Future Career Choice among Middle School Students,” Robin Matutina, a PhD candidate from the Medical University of South Carolina, examined a number of ways to combat the predicted shortage of available nurses by using novel recruitment methods targeting middle school students.

The premise of her research was that by exposing students at an earlier age to positive information about the nursing profession, the health care sector may be better able to reverse decreased enrollment in nursing school and build a stronger recruitment pipeline for this vital profession.

According to data from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, there is a predicted shortfall of 260,000 registered nurses by the year 2025. There are a number of factors contributing to this national shortfall, such as a shortage of qualified nursing faculty, an aging nursing workforce nearing retirement, and more baby boomers living longer and requiring increased health care services to name a few.

In Matutina’s study, a cluster randomized control design was used to test the effects of the interventions on a group of middle school students ages 11 to 14 years old compared to a control group of similar makeup. Ninety-nine students from Hanahan Middle School participated in the study, and they represented demographic diversity with regard to gender, grade point average, language spoken at home, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status.

The goal of the study was to reach students earlier, before high school, and capture their career interest. The students were given pre-intervention surveys to gauge their current interest in nursing as a career choice. Then students were exposed to one of three interventions:
1. A Nursing MicroCareerBurst™ e-lesson (a 20-minute highly interactive online job shadow);
2. A male nurse that gave an in-person presentation on nursing careers; and
3. Both the Nursing e-lesson and the in-person presentation were shared with the students.

Then a post-intervention survey was given to gauge if there were changes in the students’ perceptions about nursing as a career choice. The post surveys revealed that the Nursing MicroCareerBurst intervention by itself was the most effective in capturing the students’ interest for a career in nursing. In addition, the MicroCareerBurst-only intervention had the biggest effect on improving nursing versus an ideal career and was more effective in improving middle school students’ perceptions of nursing as a future career choice.

Developed by Microburst Learning, the MicroCareerBurst job shadow lessons are specifically created for a middle school student’s attention span and daily lifestyle usage of multimedia to explore new information, such as potential career opportunities. These interactive e-lessons are vital tools not only for educators and parents, but also for current nurses and workforce development professionals who are working with schools and students to promote greater awareness of health care careers.

Microburst Learning has worked with a number of business and educational partners throughout South Carolina, including the SC Hospital Association, Palmetto Health and Health Sciences South Carolina, to encourage more young people to consider careers in nursing and other health care careers, because they are vital to South Carolina’s quality of life in terms of saving lives and improving health outcomes for all segments of the population.

There is free, online access provided 24/7 to students, educators and parents through the SC Department of Education’s Personal Pathways to Success initiative ( No matter where students reside, they all have equal access to learn about a myriad of career choices and hopefully as a result, they will make more informed decisions about their futures.

As Matutina’s research suggests, the current nursing workforce has a great opportunity to affect the future of their profession by reaching out earlier to students in middle school to share information on nursing careers. Coupling that type of activity with the online MicroCareerBurst lessons can make a significant impact in getting more young people excited about the many fulfilling health care jobs available in our state.

To learn more about MicroCareerBursts, visit

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