A study of the selection, achievement and loss of student nurses from one school of nursing in New Zealand
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
In 1967 there were approximately 4,300 young women in New Zealand undertaking the three year course leading to State registration as a nurse. On the basis of past and current records it could be assumed that at least one in every five of those student nurses would withdraw from the programme before qualifying. The reasons given for withdrawal could be divided into two broad categories. The first, those reasons which account for a proportion of the loss from any predominantly female occupation, marriage, ill-health or a change in personal or family circumstances. The second were those which bore a direct relationship to the career choice; for nurses these were 'dislike of nursing' and 'study problems'
It was the purpose of this study to determine, if possible, what constituted 'dislike of nursing'; what factors differentiated the student who withdrew from the programme because of 'study problems' from her successful colleague and whether or not there was a demonstrable relationship between the individual's reaction to nursing and her level of achievement. The term success in this context ref erred solely to the student nurse who progressed satisfactorily in the nursing programme. No attempt was made to assess the quality of care given and there was only a passing reference to the amount of satisfaction derived by the individual from her nursing role.
Withdrawal was a post-recruitment problem. Factual information about the reasons given for and the stage of training reached when resignation occurred was available from the annual returns submitted by the matrons of all training schools; the level of general education attained by student nurses was also recorded at national level. Such objective data was important but it did not provide the background information on the individual who had elected to nurse. Why and when the decision to nurse was made and the source and type of information available on nursing were two areas of interest to those concerned with recruitment programmes. Those concerned with the planning of nursing education for the present and future had a need to know more about the nature and extent of the general education of actual and potential student nurses.
Finally, investigation into the question of withdrawal was prompted in part by the statistical evidence that the rate of withdrawal was high and in part from personal experience with students who had been disappointed in their expectations of nursing, of themselves or of both.