Impostor Phenomenon in Undergraduate Nursing Students: A Pilot Study of Prevalence and Patterns


Background: Impostor phenomenon (IP) is an experience of doubt in personal ability and a sense that achievements are fraudulent, resulting in increased psychological distress. This pilot study explored the prevalence and pattern of IP in baccalaureate nursing students related to gender, level in program, and racial identity. Method: A convenience sample of prelicensure baccalaureate nursing students (n = 150) was surveyed using the Clance Impostor Phenomenon Scale (CIPS). Results: The mean CIPS score was 60.13 (range, 26-92). Patterns observed across gender, level in program, or racial identity did not differ significantly. However, frequent to intense feelings of impostorism were reported by 48.7% of students, and 92% reported at least moderate IP characteristics. Conclusion: Many students in this study reported IP experiences, indicating risk for negative effects such as anxiety and lack of confidence. Further study in this population and specifically among minority nursing students is needed.

Publication Title

Journal of Nursing Education