Career Maturity Characteristics of Mid-Career Japanese Nurses Working in Small and Mid-Sized Hospitals

Friday, 28 July 2017

Makiko Muya, PhD
School of Nursing, Osaka Prefecture University, Habikino city, Osaka prefecture, Japan
Kyoko Shida, MS, RN
School of Nursing, Osaka Prefecture University, Habikino city, Osaka prefecture, Japan

Purpose: Career maturity indicates the degree to which a person’s thinking has matured regarding their way of living their professional and leisure life. The purpose of this study was to better understand the career maturity characteristics of mid-career Japanese nurses working in small and mid-sized hospitals.

Methods: Participants were 210 mid-career Japanese nurses with 5–15 years of experience working in hospitals with 299 or fewer beds. The survey questionnaire used was the Occupational Career Maturity Scale developed by Sakayanagi (1999). The scale consists of nine items each related to “career concern,” “career autonomy,” and “career planning.” The SPSS 22 was used to analyze the data to calculate descriptive statistics, Pearson’s correlation, and t-tests. Ethical approval for the study was obtained from the Committee for Ethical Research for the Graduate School of Nursing at “A” University. Participants were provided with a written explanation that participation was voluntary and personal information would be handled and safe-guarded. It was assumed that consent was provided when a completed survey questionnaire was returned.

Results and Discussion: Analysis was performed on the responses obtained from 201 participants (response rate: 95.7%). Respondents’ mean age was 33.9 ± 6.3 years and mean years of experience was 10.5 ± 4.3 years. Of the respondents, 119 or more than half (66.1%), intended to continue their careers (“I will continue to work in the nursing profession”). As for the mean scores for the factors on the Professional Career Maturity Scale, “career concern” was highest at 32.4 ± 5.4, “career autonomy” was 30.6 ± 4.1, and “career planning” was lowest at 27.4 ± 5.6. Significant relationships between career maturity factors and intention to continue in the nursing profession were found for “career autonomy” (r = 0.234, p < 0.001) and “career planning” (r = 0.233, p < 0.001), but not for “career concern.” Dividing the data into two groups based on years of experience and performing t-tests showed a significant difference for “career planning” (t = 1.33, p < 0.05) between the mean scores for the 5–10 year group (27.8 ± 4.9) and 11–15 year group (26.6 ± 6.4). The low scores for “career planning” in this study showed that the participants found it difficult to plan their futures. In particular, the results indicated that career planning support for mid-career nurses with 5–10 years of experience is important, given the lower scores for that group. Related to continuing working in the nursing profession, autonomy and planning in the participants’ professional lives were relevant to the same degree, suggesting that necessary future career support might explore options, such as fields of specialization appropriate to small and mid-sized hospitals while encouraging autonomy through fostering independence and a sense of responsibility toward the profession.