Socialization into nursing: nursing students as learners

J Nurs Educ. 1997 Apr;36(4):149-55.


In this article, we describe how the functionalist and interactionist approaches to socialization are exemplified in the learning experiences of nursing students in a 4-year baccalaureate program. A qualitative longitudinal exploratory research design was used to study the socialization of baccalaureate nursing students in a large western Canadian university. The findings suggest that student learning reflects a combination of functionalist and interactionist approaches, with the relative emphasis of each approach varying over the 4 years. In the first year, functionalist learning predominates as students learn the "ideal." In second and third year, students are confronting and adapting to reality, which requires a more interactionist approach. Fourth year students look beyond their practice situation as they anticipate and prepare for a reality beyond the student world. This article concludes with implications for nursing education.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Attitude
  • Education, Nursing, Baccalaureate*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Learning*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Models, Educational
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Professional Competence
  • Socialization*
  • Students, Nursing / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires