Title : Why do nursing students leave bachelor program? Findings from a qualitative descriptive study
Background: Over the past few years, the phenomenon of "nursing student attrition" has been unevenly studied. Investigators often focused on independent predictors as age, family obligations, final grade of high school, demanding physical and mental workload and others. Specifically, just a few studies applied qualitative methods to better comprehend the very needs of first year students enrolled in a bachelor's degree in nursing sciences (BSN), to sustain their learning process and define effective strategies to reduce student drop-out.
Methods: We conducted a qualitative descriptive study. Thirty-one nursing students at Verona University were interviewed using a semi-structured guide. Data analysis was performed according to a descriptive approach by Sandelowski & Barroso (2000).
Results: A total number of 31 students were interviewed. The most recurrent themes regarding the reasons behind BSN drop-out were: understanding that they were not suited to be nurses, perception of missing/lack of psychological, physical and practical resources needed to successfully cope with both nursing school and the nursing profession, inconsistencies between the image of the profession and the reality of the job, feelings of disappointment for the experiences of internship, perceived lack of support from the clinical teacher while going through difficult experiences.
Conclusions: We can consider a part of these drop-out decisions normal, even physiological when students come to realise that they are not suited for the nursing profession. However, it's important to guide nursing students with adequate counselling in order to give them the essential tools to cope with the training and the future as health professionals.
Audience Take Away Notes:
- It is relevant for educators having insight on the perspectives of nursing students involved in the phenomenon of attrition. This knowledge leads to develop some strategies that may prevent this phenomenon.
- The audience will try to figure it out and discuss how deal whit the nursing student’s attrition phenomenon.
- Using a qualitative perspective was essential to capture the deep perspectives of the students.