Date of Conferral



Doctor of Healthcare Administration, DHA


Health Services


Suzanne Richins


Previous studies and official organizations have indicated that African Americans are underrepresented in the healthcare workforce and that patients belonging to minority groups feel they are treated slightly differently in healthcare settings. Limited research examines perceptions of the nursing profession among a variety of demographic groups, and exploratory investigations into the perceptions of nursing as a career by African Americans are limited. The purpose of this quantitative descriptive study was to explore perceptions of nursing as a career by African American students who attend an undergraduate program at a historically black college or university (HBCU) in an attempt to further explain the shortage of African American healthcare professionals. Gottfredson's theory was used as a framework for this study. Gottfredson's theory explains career choices and gives an explanation based on three social determinants, namely gender, interest, and prestige. Two hundred ninety-five African American college students were asked to complete a Career Values scale survey from the tool Measuring Attributes of Success in College Students to collect data from African American college students to assess their attitudes toward the nursing profession. Findings revealed that nursing was perceived favorably regarding job prospects and prestige, but negatively regarding working conditions and status. Independent samples t tests indicated a statistically significant mean difference in perceived nursing prestige and status between men and women, M = -.32, 95% CI [-.52, -.12], t (246) = -3.13, p = .002, d = -0.40. This study may contribute to positive social change through raising awareness regarding the need for additional African American nurses in the healthcare system.