Career continuity patterns among nurse's aides and nurses: Vocational factors associated with the cumulative effects of person-environment interactions

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counseling and Human Services


Paul R. Salomone


Career continuity, Nurse's aides, Nurses, Vocational, Person-environment interactions

Subject Categories

Medicine and Health Sciences | Nursing | Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


The focus of this study was continuity in the careers of 151 women nurse's aides and a comparison group of 53 nurses. Nurse's aides have a high occurrence of on-the-job injuries. Often, the injury results in a permanent disability that prevents such persons from returning to their jobs. When this happens, the nurse's aides may be referred for vocational rehabilitation counseling. However, for most disabled nurse's aides, traditional career development approaches were not entirely helpful. For example, many nurse's aides reported that they had been satisfied with their jobs and their vocational identities, which made the selection of other occupations difficult. Additional obstacles to making alternate vocational choices included limited education and modest exposure to the world of work. Path analysis using least squares multiple regression was used to assess the tenability of the proposed models and test the pattern of variable linkages. An association was found between age, vocational identity, and job satisfaction in both the target and comparison samples. In addition, several boundary conditions (age, gender, ethnicity, occupational prestige, social economic indicators, educational level attained, and wages) were assessed to determine their possible contribution to the outcome of the study. The results of the study suggested that the nurse's aides' careers developed in a different pattern than did the nurses' careers. That is, biological conditions, boundary conditions, and environmental conditions may play more of a role in determining continuity in career for some groups of people than for others.


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