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Staying the course: examining enablers and barriers to student success within undergraduate nursing programmes Vic Boyd, Dr Stephanie McKendry.

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Presentation on theme: "Staying the course: examining enablers and barriers to student success within undergraduate nursing programmes Vic Boyd, Dr Stephanie McKendry."— Presentation transcript:

1 Staying the course: examining enablers and barriers to student success within undergraduate nursing programmes Vic Boyd, Dr Stephanie McKendry

2 Context and literature Research methodology Emerging themes Next stages Overview

3 Studies of withdrawal in the past have typically identified, for example, personal, financial and academic reasons for non-progression (Tinto, 1975; 1993) and often represent the student experience in retrospect (Yorke, 1999). Although these demographic and acculturisation factors are often cited as instrumental in decisions to withdraw, it is argued that impact is minimal in overall context of study (Tumen et al, 2008). Focus of retention studies turning to enablers, such as role played by key staff in delivering IAG (Bouden, 2008; RCN, 2008). Social support noted as vital in first year engagement (Wilcox et al, 2005). Influential institutional habitus debate (Thomas, 2002). Context and literature

4 Over 16,000 students at GCU. 30% of GCU students have considered leaving their course at some point (SEP, 2007). Over 5,000 students on Nursing, Midwifery and ODP programmes at GCU. Implications for the School – financial penalties for withdrawal. Anecdotally, strong student support mechanisms and engaged staff. Context and literature Student Experience Project, 2007 web survey summary, available from:

5 About our students… Implications Multi-layered, multi-modal delivery vital. No assumptions re: level of competence/confidence made. Confidence building and recognition of existing skills. Role of professionalisation in engagement. Characteristics Predominantly female. High proportion aged 25+, many adult returners. Diversity of entry routes: school, college, clinical area. Many have advanced clinical but limited academic skills. Caring commitments and part-time work common. Mainly home students, living locally. Full time attendance, but fragmented experience.

6 Mixed method action research (iterative, developmental, cyclical). Questionnaire. Semi-structured interviews. Grounded theory driven thematic analysis. Research methodology

7 Questions as part of an online evaluation survey. n=25 responses. 50% had considered leaving at some point. Questionnaire 1.Have you ever considered leaving your course? 2. If yes, what were your reasons? Please choose the most important reason 3. What made you stay on your course? Please choose the most important reason

8 Questionnaire Reason for leavingReason for staying

9 Questionnaire Open text responses - questionnaire

10 Recruited final year students via opt-in email. 6 students participated. All nearing registration, and had at some point during their academic career expressed a likelihood of withdrawal. Interviews

11 The value of problem based learning The pivotal role of the placement experience. Nursing career as motivator. Learning itself as an enabler. Support of staff in times of crisis. Emerging themes

12 Need for praise/positive feedback Greater recognition by uni of logistical barriers inherent in cohort. A resource to discuss issues in confidence – pastoral support Two student support counsellors for nursing programmes. Generic feedback mechanism for placements Although not a specific recommendation, the majority of students volunteered that they did not feel ready to begin practice as a registered nurse – Flying Start NHS Recommendations

13 Feed back recommendations to School through dissemination event – also acknowledge work being done. Second cyle of interviews. Instruments informed by themes from cycle 1. Comparative analysis of themes from two cycles. Next stages…

14 References Bouden, J. (2008) Why do nursing students who consider leaving stay on their courses?, Nurse Researcher, Vol.15, No. 3, pp.45 – 56 Royal College of Nursing (2008) Nursing Our Future: An RCN Study into the Challenges Facing Todays Nursing Students in the UK. London, RCN Publishing Company, available from, last accessed February 2010 Thomas, L. (2002) Student Retention in Higher Education: the Role of Institutional Habitus, Journal of Education Policy, Vol. 17, No. 4, pp. 423–442. Tinto, V. (1975) Dropout from Higher Education: a Theoretical Synthesis of Recent Research, Review of Education Research, Vol. 45, No. 1, pp. 89–125 Tinto, V. (1993) Leaving College: Rethinking the Causes and Cures of Student Attrition. Chicago, University of Chicago Press Tumen, S., Shulruf, B. and Hattie, J. (2008) 'Student pathways at the university: patterns and predictors of completion', Studies in Higher Education, Vol. 33, No. 3, pp. 233 252 Wilcox, P., Winn, S. and Fyvie-Gauld, M. (2005)''It was nothing to do with the university, it was just the people': the role of social support in the first-year experience of higher education', Studies in Higher Education, Vol. 30, No. 6, pp. 707 722 Yorke, M (1999) Leaving Early: Undergraduate non-completion in higher education. London, Falmer Press

15 Contact details Dr Stephanie Mckendry (School of Health) 0141 331 3450 Vic Boyd (School of Health) 0141 331 3481

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