Personality traits of Australian nurses and doctors: challenging stereotypes?

Int J Nurs Pract. 2011 Aug;17(4):380-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-172X.2011.01952.x.


This study compared temperament and character traits of Australian registered nurses and general practitioners. A cross-sectional quantitative design used the Temperament and Character Inventory. Total sample size was 426. Only main effects were detected. Nurses were higher in the temperament traits of Novelty Seeking and Reward Dependence, lower in the character traits of Self-Directedness and Cooperativeness but higher in Self-Transcendence compared with the sample of doctors. Differences in personality profiles between registered nurses and general practitioners might challenge existing stereotypes between these professions. Further exploration of traits exclusive to and shared among health professions would supplement a broad conceptualization of specialities and support the enhancement of appropriate training and career counselling. Awareness of one's temperament and character can lead to a clearer understanding of how they function in the workplace and might encourage reflection on and insight into the implications of their personality and career plans.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Australia
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nurses / psychology*
  • Personality*
  • Physicians / psychology*
  • Stereotyping*