A third of young people do not know why Florence Nightingale is a celebrated figure, according to a new opinion poll that gathered views from the general public about the nursing profession.
The surprising finding comes from a survey carried out before International Nurses’ Day on 12 May, the anniversary of Ms Nightingale’s birthday.
The survey also revealed that 64% of the 18-to-24-year-olds taking part had never considered a nursing career.
However, across the 2,000 people taking part in the online poll, 78% said they had ruled it out as a career.
Of those that said they had not considered nursing as a profession, 40% said it was “not in my nature” and 30% said it was because it seemed a very hard job.
When asked what was important to them in their choice of career, 78% of respondents stated they wanted job satisfaction, while 30% rated a large salary as important.
Just 20% said working in a job that that helps someone else was important to them.
Meanwhile, only 15% of the 18-to-24-year-old respondents were suggested nursing as a career option at school.
The survey, carried out on behalf of private hospital The London Clinic, also revealed that only 7% of those taking part wanted to or wished they had pursued a career in nursing.
The London Clinic’s director of nursing Nuala Close said the results showed the diversity of nursing roles available needed to be better promoted, as well as the room for progression.
She said: “I feel we have an obligation to promote nursing and make it better understood as a profession. The role of a nurse… has changed enormously over the last few decades”
“Whether you aspire to be a community nurse or a director of nursing at a major hospital, there are a million different roles to choose from within this profession,” said Ms Close.
“This is what needs to be promoted and this is what young people need to see, a profession, with potential to train, specialise and progress whilst making a difference to the lives of people in need on a daily basis,” she added.