Changes in Nursing Students' Career Choices Following the COVID-19 Pandemic in China

Wei Bai, Hai Tao Xi, Qianqian Zhu, Zhiwen Wang, Lin Han, Pan Chen, Hong Cai, Yan Jie Zhao, Li Chen, Zong Mei Ge, Mengmeng Ji, Hongyan Zhang, Bing Xiang Yang, Shuo Liu, Teris Cheung, Gabor S. Ungvari, Fengrong An, Yu Tao Xiang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Health professionals including nurses have experienced heavy workload and great physical and mental health challenges during the coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) pandemic, which may affect nursing students' career choices. This study examined the changes in nursing students' career choices after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in China. Methods: This study was conducted in five University nursing schools in China between September 14, 2020 and October 7, 2020. Career choices before and after the COVID-19 pandemic were collected and analyzed. Results: In total, 1,070 nursing students participated in the study. The reported choice of nursing as future career increased from 50.9% [95% confidence interval (CI): 47.9–53.9%] before the COVID-19 pandemic to 62.7% (95%CI: 59.8–65.6%) after the onset of COVID-19 pandemic. Students who chose nursing as their future career following the COVID-19 outbreak had less severe depression and anxiety compared to those who did not choose nursing, but the associations of depression and anxiety with career choice disappeared in multivariable analyses. Binary logistic regression analysis revealed that male gender [odds ratio (OR) = 0.68, 95% CI: 0.50–0.91], rural residence (OR = 1.53, 95%CI: 1.17–2.00), fourth year students (OR = 0.50, 95%CI: 0.35–0.72), negative experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic (OR = 0.66, 95%CI: 0.47–0.92), and good health (OR = 4.6, 95%CI: 1.78–11.87) were significantly associated with the choice of nursing as future career after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Conclusions: The COVID-19 pandemic appeared to have a positive influence on the career choice of nursing among Chinese nursing students.

Original languageEnglish
Article number657021
JournalFrontiers in Psychiatry
Publication statusPublished - 13 Apr 2021


  • career choice
  • coronavirus disease 19
  • cross-sectional study
  • nursing students
  • pandemic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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