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Choosing to stay: looking at retention from a different perspective

Wray, Jane; Aspland, Jo; Barrett, David


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Dr Jane Wray
Senior Lecturer in Nursing, Senior Clinical Nurse Advisor NHSEI

Jo Aspland

David Barrett


The retention of students presents a challenge to approved education institutions (AEIs) globally. Nursing student attrition is of particular concern owing to the high non-completion rates and financial costs. A survey approach was used in an AEI in the north of England to explore the views of five cohorts of pre-registration student nurses on factors influencing continuation. In total 594 questionnaires were distributed, of which 195 (32.8%) were completed; 52.3% of respondents had considered leaving. ‘Pull’ factors contributing to their decision to stay included support structures (academic/family/peer) and a determination to become a nurse. ‘Push’ factors, which had led students to consider leaving, included financial difficulties, personal pressures, poor placement experience and academic difficulties. The study identified key areas for AEIs to focus their efforts in optimising student retention: enhancing mechanisms supporting students around financial, personal, clinical and academic pressures, and developing curricula that celebrate the uniqueness and value of nursing.


Wray, J., Aspland, J., & Barrett, D. (2014). Choosing to stay: looking at retention from a different perspective. Studies in higher education, 39(9), 1700-1714.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 31, 2013
Online Publication Date Jun 20, 2013
Publication Date Oct 21, 2014
Journal Studies in Higher Education
Print ISSN 0307-5079
Electronic ISSN 1470-174X
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 39
Issue 9
Pages 1700-1714
Keywords Education
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Additional Information Peer Review Statement: The publishing and review policy for this title is described in its Aims & Scope.; Aim & Scope: