Fowler J, Norrie P. Development of an attrition risk prediction tool. Br J Nurs. 2009; 18:(19)1194-1200

From staff nurse to nurse consultant: Survival Guide part 2: Surviving as a student

27 June 2019
Volume 28 · Issue 12


John Fowler, Educational Consultant, explores how to survive your nursing career

Some years ago I undertook a small piece of research for one school of nursing aimed at exploring the reasons why some students don't complete their pre-registration course. One of the outcomes was the introduction of an ‘attrition risk prediction tool’ (Fowler and Norrie, 2009) within the nursing department of the university. While there are no single simple solutions to reducing attrition, the study found four distinct areas that increased stress on nursing students and made them consider resigning and five factors that supported them through some of the ‘normal’ and ongoing stresses of the nursing course.

There are a number of stress points when starting a nursing degree. The orientation to university life and the possible move to a new part of the country, leaving family and friends behind, can be difficult. The small school or college classes are replaced by lecture theatres of one or two hundred students. Libraries are large, course information, timetables and lecture notes have to be accessed through a complex computer system. You miss your friends and family, and money is tight. Surviving the first few weeks is important because these stressors will soon disappear as you learn to adapt to student life. Each student will cope differently but here are a few suggestions.

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