BACKGROUND: The global deficit of nurses demands urgent attention in the recruitment and education of this future workforce. Graduate entry nursing (GEN) programmes are one option for people with undergraduate degrees who are seeking nursing education. Determining the key motivations for enrolling in these programmes will support the development of new initiatives in the education sector to both recruit and retain this future workforce and inform future primary research. This scoping review aims to comprehensively describe what motivates graduates to enrol in GEN programmes. METHODS: Peer reviewed studies of quantitative, qualitative and mixed-method research investigating motivations to commence a graduate entry nursing programme were included, following a pre-determined protocol. Electronic databases searched included Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), Emcare, ERIC, Medline and Scopus. Screening, data extraction and analysis was initially in duplicate and independent, then consensus reached. Qualitative and quantitative data was analysed and reported separately then combined thematically as a narrative synthesis in a convergent segregated approach. Reporting followed preferred reporting guidelines for scoping reviews. RESULTS: Of the 491 studies retrieved in July 2020, across the five databases and reference list search, six met the inclusion criteria. Four were qualitative studies, one mixed-methods, and one quantitative, respectively from Australia, USA, and New Zealand. Four themes of motivation were identified: 1) finding meaning and purpose through altruism and caring; 2) seeking a satisfying career, 3) looking for a change in direction and, 4) reduced financial burden due to course length and provision of scholarships. CONCLUSIONS: There is a paucity of studies specifically seeking to investigate student motivations for enrolling in a GEN programme and only limited studies giving insights into motivators for enrolling in a GEN programme, therefore this scoping review contributes new understandings on the reason's students choose GEN programmes. These are both altruistic and practical and include personal desires to help others, the need to pursue a satisfying and meaningful career and the shorter period out of the workforce offered by an accelerated programme of study.
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