The image a profession has of itself involves not only the kind and quality of work performed, but also the characteristics of those who enter the profession. During recent years the group of people entering nursing has become much more diverse than it formerly was. Factors that have brought about this change include:
A general movement toward lack of discrimination in selecting applicants for education and employment.
The growing recognition that exclusion of nursing-school applicants for such reasons as age, sex or race deprives them of opportunity and deprives society of the contribution they could make to nursing.
The persistent demand for greater quantity and quality of nursing services.
The realization that limiting the recruitment of nurses to young single girls intensifies the problems associated with interrupted practice and part-time practice, since most nurses recruited from this group will later combine responsibilities to home and family with professional activities.
The increasing tendency to place nursing programs in colleges and universities, which tends to lead to the admission of a more diverse group than usually enters the diploma schools (for example, many associate degree programs have a particularly diverse group of students).
The increase in geographic mobility, with the result that students from other parts of this country and from other lands are likely to be found in schools whose enrollments were previously limited to residents of nearby communities.