Predictors of academic performance of nursing and paramedic students in first year bioscience

Douglas Whyte, Veronica Madigan, Eric Drinkwater

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


The expanding scope of practice of paramedics and nurses demands they possess a sophisticated knowledge of bioscience to enable them to think critically and make rational clinical decisions. It is well documented that nursing students struggle with bioscience but there are no studies examining the performance of paramedic students in this crucial subject. In this study, we compared the academic performance of first year nursing, paramedic and nursing/paramedic double degree students in a bioscience subject. Regression analyses were used to identify predictors of academic success. Data revealed a low success rate in bioscience for all three degree programs (63.2,58.8, 67.6% respectively) and a strong correlation between academic success in bioscience and nonbioscience subjects (R2 = 0.49, p < 0.001). The best predictors of overall academic success were the University Admission Index score and mature entry into the course. Previous study of biology had a strong relationship with bioscience and overall but not non-bioscience grades. Discriminant analysis was used to develop a model that could predict over all academic success with an accuracy of 78.5%.This model provides a useful system for weighting various factors during the admission process, as well as in the identification of students at risk of failing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)849-854
Number of pages6
JournalNurse Education Today
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2011


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