Published Articles on Professional Formation

The hidden curriculum: Undergraduate nursing students’ perspectives of socialization and professionalism

by Susan Harrison Kelly


Background and aim: Nursing students form a professional identity from their core values, role models, and past experiences, and these factors contribute to the development of their professional identity. The hidden curriculum, a set of ethics and values learned within a clinical setting, may be part of developing a professional identity. Nursing students will develop a professional identity throughout school; however, their identity might be challenged as they attempt to balance their core values with behaviors learned through the hidden curriculum. The purpose of this project was to educate students on the hidden curriculum in the development of their professional identity.

Materials and methods: A sample of 112 senior nursing students was recruited from a northeastern university in the United States for this study. Pre–post survey design was used, and an educational session was administered prior to the post-survey. Descriptive statistics and a valid percentage were used to describe the data within the surveys.

Ethical consideration: Study was approved by the author’s University Institutional Review Board.

Findings: A significant finding was for advocacy as students would speak up if witnessing inappropriate behavior toward patients or families with a mean score increase from 2.50 (pre-survey) to 1.45 (postsurvey). Also, over 95% (n ¼ 106) found the educational session beneficial as they learned they had the ability to advocate and speak up for their patients.

Conclusion: Students were able to use their core values and advocate for their patients and families which allows for safer patient care.

Kelly, S. H. (2019). The hidden curriculum: Undergraduate nursing students’ perspectives of socialization and professionalism. Nursing ethics, 0969733019881714.