The total learning environment and implications for rural student nurse retention

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Student cohorts are becoming more diverse and universities need to respond to meet the needs of this group. The differences within cohorts are a priority area for research as it aims to identify how universities tailor learning resources to deal with diversity and learning needs. Rural areas are experiencing shortages of nurses therefore attrition is a significant factor in planning to meet students needs. Review of literature on this subject has shown that in order to improve the retention of students from these groups universities need to ask students what they perceive as their needs and to offer support to increase retention of students (Lawrence 2002). Universities need to get to know their own students. What is suitable for one cohort and indeed one university will differ from that of others.Themes emerging from a review of literature include the identification that the first year of university is the most difficult. The literature identifies school leavers and mature aged students as having different problems, as do students from rural areas and first generation university students. Mature aged women have more issues associated with pressures of balancing family, part time work and study and may identify with more than one of these categories.In the nursing arena the attrition rate has widespread implications for the nursing workforce. The nursing workforce has major shortages especially in rural areas. Research supports the claim that students from rural and geographically isolated areas and particularly socioeconomically disadvantaged groups are more at risk of failure and attrition (Bambrick 2002, Lawrence 2002, Howells 2003).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-70
Number of pages11
JournalFocus on Health Professional Education: A multi-disciplinary journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2007

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