Stories of Persistence of Undergraduate Nursing Students




Schulz, Briar

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Attracting and retaining student nurses who will persist in their academic studies is essential to the success of the Canadian health care system. While a small body of knowledge existed in the area of retention and attrition of undergraduate nursing students, little was known about the students’ perspectives on persistence. Through a qualitative analysis of the stories of persistence for six undergraduate nursing students from the University of Victoria, this study revealed and explored the variety of factors that influence undergraduate student nursing persistence. Important information for improving Canadian nursing education was revealed in the process. Mainstream qualitative research techniques in this study were expanded with the use of photovoice. Photographs taken by the study participants were used to elicit their narratives of persistence, increasing the accessibility of the stories’ emotional content. Internarratives were also derived from aspects of the participants’ original stories and provided an additional approach for understanding student nursing persistence. The results of the study revealed six main themes that represented major factors of influence on student nursing persistence: (a) support, (b) challenges to persistence, (c) motivation to continue persisting, (d) the nursing profession, (e) teaching, and (f) the curriculum. The study demonstrated the critical importance of understanding undergraduate nursing persistence from the students’ perspectives, as well as the value of incorporating photovoice as a methodological strategy. The implications for nursing recruitment, education, and future research were also discussed and continued research on and further dialogue about these issues were deemed important for nursing education.



Undergraduate student nursing persistence, postsecondary retention, Canada