Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Aaron Franzen, Sociology & Social Work

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There is a great deal of research on how the professionalization and work of medical students, physicians, and nurses affect them, including burnout, stress, and empathy loss. We are interested in the earlier development of these trends and whether they already begin among undergraduate students pursuing health or nursing professions. There is a substantial knowledge gap in the differences and commonalities between pre-health, nursing, and students who have left health professions already. This research explores some of these commonalities and differences that begin developing quite early in nurses’ and physicians’ education. We look specifically at aspects we have labeled as stressors and others we have labeled as part of students’ identity. Using one-way ANOVAs and Tukey’s multiple comparisons we identified numerous differences between pre-health, left-health, and nursing undergraduate college students. Notable differences were seen in baseline confidence, humility, boredom, first-generation status, and religious identity. Future research should continue to uncover and understand these differences, perhaps at more undergraduate institutions with larger, more diverse sample sizes.


This research was supported by the David and Carol Cole Faculty Development Fund.