Leading and managing change- Improving the progression and retention of nursing students

DProf thesis

McGrath, A. 2023. Leading and managing change- Improving the progression and retention of nursing students . DProf thesis Middlesex University Health, Social Care and Education
TypeDProf thesis
TitleLeading and managing change- Improving the progression and retention of nursing students
AuthorsMcGrath, A.

For current senior leaders in Health and Social Care education, a key performance indicator is to ensure that recruitment to pre-registration nursing courses achieves an ever-increasing target as a response to government policy and that student progression is maintained.

This mixed methods research project explores the complex issue of attrition which is a significant problem here in the UK along with the reasons why some pre-registration nursing students leave their course within the first year and why others in the same cohort stay to complete their course. As a result, Health and Social Care educational leaders are recommended to put measures in place to mitigate this complex problem. Data were collected over a three-year period from university records (n=1957) and exit interview paperwork (n=117) from a single institution, based in Southeast England, and included interviews with (n=3) members of staff involved in the recruitment and selection of students as well as (n=25) nursing students who left their course and (n=10) students who remained and completed their course. Deeper interrogation of the data through triangulation allowed a more detailed understanding of the complex issue of student attrition to emerge.

Students were recruited from three cohorts who commenced their studies in 2016, 2017 and 2018. Of the 35 students interviewed, (n=25) left the course for a variety of reasons such as financial issues, personal reasons, health or academic failure and (n=10) completed their nursing courses. The interviews were transcribed and analysed using Creswell’s 5-step approach. Data collected from both data sets were triangulated and showed that the causes of attrition are multifactorial and that not one factor was responsible. However, the following factors: age, being male, and having undertaken a Business and Technology Education Council (BTEC) qualification compared to A Levels prior to commencing the course, were all significant factors linked to attrition. Poor academic preparation, financial hardship, and the need to work to survive on the course were also factors that were highlighted. For the students who completed their courses issues such as support both family and academic, persistence, fear of failure and tenacity where highlighted. Recommendations are made as to possible interventions that not only support students but enable them to progress to the end of their course.

Sustainable Development Goals4 Quality education
Middlesex University ThemeHealth & Wellbeing
Department nameHealth, Social Care and Education
Institution nameMiddlesex University
PublisherMiddlesex University Research Repository
Publication dates
Online20 Mar 2024
Publication process dates
Accepted05 Oct 2023
Deposited20 Mar 2024
Output statusPublished
Accepted author manuscript
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