Working in London hospitals: Perceptions of place in nursing students’ employment considerations
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During the past decade, a distinct body of research has started to investigate the dynamics between nursing and place. However, despite attention being paid to a wide-range of nursing subjects, few studies have engaged with the important topic of labour force recruitment. In this context, this study uses a combined questionnaire (n=650), interview (n=30) and focus group (n=7) survey of London-based students, and investigates the complex mix of experiences and perceptions that result in hospitals having varying degrees of popularity as potential workplaces. The findings suggest experiences and perceptions of institutions-often gained on clinical placements-to be important, particularly relating to feeling valued, the quality of patient care, clinical and educational opportunities and team cohesion. These are often combined with experiences and perceptions of locality, relating to factors such as cost of living, travel considerations and sense of personnel safety. The study demonstrates that place is relevant to employment decision-making on multiple scales from wards to regions. Furthermore, that perceptions of potential workplaces result from engagements with complex mixes of cultural, economic and physical features, many of which are the consequences of management. It is argued that in order to effectively unpack workplaces, geographical research of nursing labour may benefit from researching simultaneously both 'inside' institutions, focusing on their dominant cultures of production and sub-cultures, and 'outside', focusing on their local urban or rural contexts.
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