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Hospital administration students’ orientation to professionalization Gray, Carol Anne

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine students1 attitudes towards the professionalization of an occupation. Hypotheses tested the relationship between exposure of Hospital Administration Students to educational influences, and attitudes towards professionalization of Hospital Administration as well as between individual, demographic, occupational and organizational backgrounds of these students and their attitudes towards professionalization of their occupation. In order to test the six hypotheses data were collected from two different classes of students enrolled in the H.O.M. programme of the Canadian Hospital Association. One class had received a professionalization teaching exposure while the other class was unexposed to this material at the time the study was conducted. The method of investigation focussed on association and correlation analysis of students' demographic backgrounds on the one hand and a measure of professionalization orientation on the other. A professionalization index and several sub-indices were constructed based on factor analytic procedures. Attitude to professionalization was measured by questionnaire and composite analyses were undertaken to determine whether the two samples of students came from similar populations; to generate dimensions of professionalization; to examine the teaching programme effect; to ascertain whether differences, other than the programme exposure, would be associated with differences in orientation to professionalization; and to test the hypotheses regarding differences in orientation for groups of students with similar demographic characteristics. The findings of this study indicated a significant positive relationship between exposure to educational input on professionalization and a student's orientation to professionalization with regard to the occupation of Hospital Administration. Students exposed to educational input had a higher overall orientation to professionalization. Differences in degree of orientation appear to relate specifically to the Dimensions of Acceptance and Public Recognition; Work, Standards and Establishment of the Profession; and, Utilizing Professional Judgement and Sharing of Knowledge. In addition, nurses and accountants, two sub-categories in the sample, were found to differ significantly in terms of one professional index dimension, Realism. Students with a nursing background had a higher professionalization orientation towards Standards and the Quality of the Body of Knowledge, the components of the dimension of Realism. This could indicate that students with a nursing background wish to identify with a professional model for an occupation in order to improve their own professional status. Implications of the study findings are discussed as to sample size and structure and its limitations and sponsorship by the Canadian Hospital Association. It is recommended that further research should be undertaken on the dimensions of professionalization in order that occupations could then be provided with an easy index for assessing such attitudes of the members, of their organizations. They could then have criteria for measuring what attitudes should be reshaped in order to alter the professionalization process of the occupation.

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