Qualitative research into study preparation recommendations to facilitate role adaptation as a student nurse.

Main Article Content

Angela Sheedy


academics, nursing education, study preparation, transition shock, undergraduate student nurse


Objective: Investigate and identify preparatory academic skills and resources required for individuals preparing to commence undergraduate online nursing studies.

Background: There is much research available on the transition of student nurse to graduate nurse, however the transitional pedagogical journey into a student nurse role has been less explored. This project aimed to identify the skills and knowledge which would benefit the individual commencing their online nursing studies to inform study preparation resources and facilitate role adaptation into a profession requiring registration at the student level with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency. Focus groups with student nurses and an online survey for academics were implemented to identify challenges for students and core areas to inform preparation for practice resources.

Methods: The project applied a qualitative grounded theory study design, implementing an academic staff survey and student focus groups. Results were thematically analysed to identify dominant study challenges and resource recommendations.

Results: A total of 26 academics participated identifying student course challenges attributed to: unrealistic expectations and understanding of the nursing role; poor academic skills; clinical practice demands; imbalance of work, family, life and studies and; an unsupportive university system. The student focus group included 43 participants across all year levels and identified the main challenges as clinical requirements and academic skills and support. Focus areas to prioritise for a study preparation resource are summarised as: building academic skills, time management (and prioritisation), introduction to the nursing role and course expectations, and introducing a peer support pathway (through use of social media).

Conclusion: An online study preparation resource for student nurses to access when they receive their acceptance into a nursing course presents a step with potential for a more successful course progression. For the university, this has potential to impact course retention and satisfaction. For the student it presents a supportive process which can lead to improved academic skills and an early understanding of the professional role and responsibilities of being a nurse.

Implications for research, policy and practice: Acknowledging the need to adapt to the role of nursing student for the individual commencing their nursing studies and providing support at the point of course acceptance will ultimately facilitate a more successful student journey.

Access to contextualised study preparation resources prior to commencing nursing studies has the potential to reduce attrition rates, increase grades and improve role adaptation.

What is already known about this topic?

  • The first year of nursing studies has higher attrition rates often due to lack of understanding of the professional nursing role and an inability to manage personal and academic expectations.

  • There is much research on the transition of student nurse to graduate nurse, however this is lacking for the individual transitioning into the student nurse role.

What this project adds:

  • This project recognises challenges to role adaptation can occur as the individual commences their nursing studies and becomes part of a regulated health profession.

  • The provision of contextualised academic and nursing resources on acceptance into a nursing program can better prepare students for the integration into academia and the nursing role.

Abstract 278 | View PDF Downloads 126