Exploring support strategies for improving nursing student retention
Intended for healthcare professionals
Evidence and practice    

Exploring support strategies for improving nursing student retention

Danielle Edge Lecturer in children’s nursing, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Faculty of Health, University of Plymouth, Plymouth, England
Nicholas Gladstone Senior lecturer in adult nursing, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Institute of Health and Social Care, London South Bank University, London, England

Why you should read this article:
  • To recognise the importance of improving nursing student retention

  • To consider the support strategies that higher education institutions can use to improve student retention

  • To learn about students’ perceptions of support strategies and how these may increase their likelihood of staying on the course

Nursing student attrition is a significant concern in many countries, including the UK. Higher education institutions (HEIs) are seeking creative ways of improving retention and it is crucial to understand which support strategies encourage students to persist with their studies. This article describes a systematic review of the literature exploring nursing students’ experiences and perceptions of support strategies used by HEIs to reduce attrition and improve retention. Having a sense of belonging, a connection with the university, self-confidence, self-efficacy and motivation appeared to make students more likely to stay on their course. Several support strategies appeared to enhance retention, including an automated text messaging system, an Academic, Personal and Professional Learning (APPL) support mechanism, a pastoral care support adviser service and an extracurricular student support group. Developing a holistic and multifaceted approach to retention involves working collaboratively with students to enhance the understanding of their needs.

Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2022.e11914

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software



Conflict of interest

None declared

Edge D, Gladstone N (2022) Exploring support strategies for improving nursing student retention. Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2022.e11914

Published online: 01 August 2022

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