Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Close

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Why do so many student nurses quit their course?

  • Comments (45)

When you look around your lecture halls, have you noticed the number of student nurses shrinking?

I remember my first day sitting in a giant sports hall surrounded by my fellow enthusiastic students. However over the months our numbers seemed to have grown fewer and fewer. Now we fill just half of the same lecture hall.

Obviously I know that the different branches of nursing separate after the first year and a normal rate of attrition is to be expected, but is the quit rate among nursing students higher than other courses? And if so, why?

I think that nursing seems to lose more students than other academic courses. Jonathan Secker, recruitment and communications lead for the faculty of health, social care and education at Anglia Ruskin University, agrees: “Your life is taken over for three years so if you have any external factor come into play (pregnancy, family bereavement, partner job loss) then this seriously conflicts with whether you can complete the course.”

So it is clear that nursing students are under a lot of pressure. Jonathan adds that “people drop out due to the reality of placement and it not being what they expected.”

While there may be unique stresses to the nursing student I may not be seeing the entire picture. From my perspective it may seem that my colleagues are just disappearing but there could be other reasons. A number of them may have been put back by six months for a number of reasons or some may have taken a year or two out from their studies to rejoin at a later date.

What do you think? Have you noticed your class getting any smaller? Why do you think that is?

  • Comments (45)

Readers' comments (45)

  • Anonymous

    Simple common sense!

    A degree, hard work and sacrifice = harfly any jobs, one of the most stressful jobs around if you are lucky enough to get one, burnout, already insultingly crap pay and getting worse, diminished pensions, no promotion prospects, no respect and constant attacks from the government... I could carry on!

    Who the hell wants to be a nurse?!? The ones getting out are the smart ones!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous | 24-Apr-2012 3:36 pm

    maybe they should have thought more carefully about getting into it in the first place. think about all the waste of resources and denying the chance of a place to others who really did want a career in nursing.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Anonymous



    Anonymous | 24-Apr-2012 3:47 pm and think of all the attacks on nursing, nurses pay, pensions etc have happened since many nurses started training. There are some smart people out there who see that and choose not to put up with it.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I don't know of anyone who has quit yet (2 1/2 months in), but I can see this may be the case for a number of reasons. Although there are more mature nursing students than the general student population, many student nurses are very young and some might just not be emotionally mature enough to cope with the demands of nursing whilst still a teenager. Additionally, with schools of nursing as part of universities I'd assume that some younger nurses feel they are missing out on the 'student life' that some of their peers are.
    As there are a lot of mature nursing students, other commitments (e.g. childcare, illness of a family member, pregnancy, financial issues, relationship breakdown, etc etc) may make it impossible for some people to continue when circumstances change.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • there have been a number of students on my course whom have dropped out for a varying number of reasons.
    some at the very begining unable to cope with the full on course, some later on because of financial difficulties and some because of placement brought to light concerns about wether they were on the right course ie; placement not what they expected.
    i am on the BANS Mental Health Branch and it is a daily struggle financially which brings even more stress to an overwhelming course allready although i get great support i dont feel financially the government appreciates what we set aside to do as students and the committments we have to make and the affect it has on our loved ones.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Anonymous

    Ellie and lynn I think you are both right, these things and more are not new to student nurses, and traditionally there has been a large dropout from nursing due to these problems, because it is far, far harder than any normal degree. However all the problems that are besieging nursing at the moment cannot be ignored either, the daily attacks by the government, tge lack of respect, the realisation that the profession is dying on its knees, and perhaps most importantly the complete lack of jobs or opportunities, the constant and debilitating cuts in pay, conditions, pensions etc, and many people are simply not prepared to put up with the hard work, stress and sacrifice of gaining a nursing degree when the benefits are nonexistent.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Anonymous

    Anon 24th april 3:47, that is absolute rubbish! Just because people realise they aren't prepared to be a martyr does not mean they would not have made great nurses!!!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Hi Adam thanks for this article its great. Personally I believe that many students leave due to lack of support and the course is very demanding. I feel lucky to be studying at Bournemouth University not only is it a great university but the level of support you get from the teaching staff is fanatastic. Nothing is ever too much trouble, I have to say that some students I have spoken to have said they dont get support and they feel that there given a few text books and they go away and feel like they are teaching themselves. Its a shame that some people leave, but in all honesty its a tough course and students need to have support in both practice and placement.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Anonymous


    Anonymous | 25-Apr-2012 10:33 am

    "Anon 24th april 3:47"

    "...does not mean they would not have made great nurses!!!"

    that is not what was said or even implied!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Anonymous

    My trust have no jobs for qualifying students after all their hard work and lack of money how stressful is that. I can honestly say I could not now recommend a career in nursing. The media think we sit around whilst we ignore crys for help.
    I wouldn't do it.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Show 102050results per page

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment.

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.