Students' first year experience of a BSc (Hons) in nursing: a pilot study.

Gale, Julia, Ooms, Ann, Newcombe, Paul and Marks-Maran, Di (2015) Students' first year experience of a BSc (Hons) in nursing: a pilot study. Nurse Education Today, 35(1), pp. 256-264. ISSN (print) 0260-6917


BACKGROUND: All new nurses in England from 2013 will be educated at the point of registration to the degree level. A study was undertaken into the first-year experience of one cohort on the new degree programme at one university. OBJECTIVES: The aim of the study was to evaluate nursing students' experience during the first year of the degree programme in terms of their engagement with the programme, its impact and value and their overall satisfaction. DESIGN: A mixed method qualitative and quantitative survey design was used. SETTINGS AND PARTICIPANTS: One cohort of students at one university in south west London was studied. In total 96 out of 256 students completed the online survey questionnaire (response rate=37.5%). METHOD: Data were collected through an online questionnaire survey comprising Likert-style, demographic and open-ended questions. Data were analysed using SPSS version 19 and through the framework method. FINDINGS: Students' responses were largely positive. Areas of concern expressed included assessment timings and juggling personal/family commitments with academic workload. Although some experienced a degree of stress in year 1 the majority indicated that stress was not a problem; some experienced little or no stress at all. Students were positive about the quality of teaching, support received, and their relationships with academic staff. Satisfaction with year 1 was high. A small percentage considered leaving during year 1. Factors that made them stay included personal motivation to succeed, family support and help from academic staff and mentors. Overall attrition rate is low. CONCLUSIONS: As nursing in England moves to an all-graduate profession at the point of registration it is timely to evaluate issues like attrition, the students' engagement with their academic and practice experience, the impact on them of their assignments/assessments, stressors, their perceptions of quality, what makes them stay and their overall satisfaction.

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