Should nursing-related work experience be a prerequisite for acceptance into a nursing programme? A study of students' reasons for withdrawing from undergraduate nursing at an Australian university

A. Wilson, A. Chur-Hansen, A. Marshall, T. Air

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27 Citations (Scopus)


AIM: This paper reports on two studies that examined why students withdrew from a Bachelor of Nursing degree. BACKGROUND: With the aim of recruiting undergraduate candidates who are the most likely to complete the degree and pursue a nursing career, the University of Adelaide requires high matriculation scores and satisfactory performance in a structured oral assessment as part of the process of selection. METHOD: In the first study, two questionnaires were used to collect data from all applicants before and after an oral assessment. The degree of personal desire and motivation to become a Registered Nurse, including knowledge about nursing and the profession were among qualities rated. For the second study, semi-structured telephone interviews were conducted with students who had withdrawn. RESULTS: Statistical comparison showed there were significant differences between continuing and withdrawing applicants in whether or not they had previous nursing-related experience and in knowing someone who was a nurse. The qualitative data reinforced the importance of these factors for attrition. Participants identified emotional issues surrounding an aversion to illness, sickness, pain, suffering and blood. CONCLUSION: The results of both studies suggest that a primary factor in attrition is a lack of realistic expectation regarding nursing as a profession.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)456-460
Number of pages5
JournalNurse Educ Today
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescent Adult Australia *Education, Nursing, Baccalaureate Female Humans Male Middle Aged Nursing Education Research Qualitative Research *School Admission Criteria Schools, Nursing Student Dropouts/*psychology/statistics & numerical data Students, Nursing/*psychology/statistics & numerical data Work/*statistics & numerical data Young Adult

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