The Shifting Role Identity: effect of Anticipatory Socialization in the Nursing Profession

This research is an exploratory analysis on the process of anticipatory socialization in the nursing profession. Using identity theory, this research examines the potential of anticipatory socialization in the formation of a nursing role identity. As identity was not directly measured as part of this study, surrogate markers were used to reflect the possibility that nurses internally compare role expectations in anticipation of taking on aspects of a nursing role identity. The premise of this research is that differing levels of anticipatory socialization give rise to role incongruence, wherein an individual's role definition conflicts with role expectations endemic in the workplace setting. Data for this project comes from the Massachusetts Nursing Profession Entrants Survey, 1988 (Lerner 1988). Overall, there is general support for anticipatory socialization in the formation of a nursing role identity (Brief et al. 1979). Additionally, this research shows that based on one's level of anticipatory socialization, they may proactively anticipate and work to mitigate the potential of role incongruence. Finally, an individual's internal nursing goals may impact one's commitment to nursing. Study limitations of future directions for future research are also examined.