Yangama Jokwiro

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404 – Improving students’ experiences and retention in advanced standing pathways of a bachelor of nursing in Australia

Introduction
This paper reports research conducted relating to factors promoting retention and success for advanced-standing pathway students in an Australian Bachelor of Nursing (BN) degree.

Background

Advanced-standing pathways are increasingly sought by students with previous degrees (Graduate Entry (GE) or nursing qualifications (enrolled nurses (EN)).  These students may have higher attrition and poorer academic performance, compared with students without advanced standing.

Method

To understand challenges and needs of nursing students enrolled in a GE or EN entry pathway of a BN degree, an anonymous survey was undertaken.  Clinical and classroom facilitators were interviewed to explore educators’ perceptions of challenges for these students.  Finally, routine progression data and students’ academic results were analysed in comparison with those of students not receiving credit for previous studies.

Results

GE/EN students were more likely to be older than full-programme students, and reported significant challenges in managing their work-life-study balance.   GE students had higher and EN students lower average marks compared with the main student body.  EN students were challenged by the transition from EN to student registered nurse status, while GE students found clinical nursing concepts/skills challenging.  Poor academic performance and financial pressures were associated with course attrition.

Conclusion
Students in advanced standing pathways need targeted support to promote academic success.

Key Words: Nursing, education; student retention; graduate entry; enrolled nurse