Support for nursing and midwifery students: A special case?

Pauline Banks, Helen Kane, Catherine Rae, John Atkinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


In order to address attrition amongst nursing and midwifery students, three Scottish universities were funded to employ Pastoral Care Support Advisers (PSA). This paper presents the findings of an evaluation which explored nursing and midwifery students' support needs and their experience of the PSA service.

Telephone and focus group interviews were carried out with staff (n = 14) and students (n = 25). Based on the findings of these interviews two on-line surveys were developed and completed by 88 members of staff and 525 nursing and midwifery students.

A majority of staff indicated that students had more complex problems than in the past, and would benefit from access to a dedicated source of support. Levels of anxiety and depression amongst students were found to be above a desirable level, and three quarters of students who completed the survey reported having experienced problems. Some members of staff believed that the PSA had had an impact on attrition, and students that participated reported that they would have left had they not received this support. The PSA service not only benefitted the students it also reduced staff time spent with students on non-academic issues. A source of independent support would benefit students, university staff, and the National Health Service.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-314
Number of pages5
JournalNurse Education Today
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2012


  • Nursing
  • Midwifery student education
  • Retention
  • Attrition


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