Engaging, supporting and retaining academic at-risk students in a Bachelor of Nursing: Setting risk markers, interventions and outcomes
Student attrition from nursing programs impacts on sustainability of the profession. Factors associated with attrition include: lack of academic capital, extracurricular responsibilities, first generation tertiary students, and low socio-economic or traditionally underrepresented cultural background. Successful Australian government reforms designed to advance equity in higher education have increased student population diversity, which is accompanied by a rise in the incidence of risk factors for attrition (Benson, Heagney, Hewitt, Crosling, & Devos, 2013).This prospective study examined commencing nursing students in their first semester to track critical risk markers associated with attrition, and implemented timely interventions to support subject completion or enrolment perseverance in the event of subject failure. Students who attended orientation, accessed blended learning, attended early tutorials, submitted and passed first assessment items, and studied part-time were significantly more likely to pass the subject overall. Interventions based on good practice principles for student engagement and support resulted in increased retention.