Student attendance during college-based lectures: a pilot study
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Student attendance during college-based lectures: a pilot study

Suzanne J Hughes Lecturer adult nursing, School of Nursing and Midwifery Studies, Cardiff University, Cardiff

Aim To identify the factors that influence attendance and absenteeism among a group of second-year nursing students during the theory component of the Fitness for Practice (FFP) curriculum.

Method In 2004, a non-randomised questionnaire was used to elicit information about the factors surrounding absenteeism from 75 adult branch nursing students within the first FFP cohort. The questionnaire consisted of 48 questions and was designed to generate a mixture of quantitative and qualitative data. Absence was recorded for the first 91 weeks of the programme.

Results The main reasons identified for absence included: illness, family commitments, dental and medical appointments, and impending assignment submissions. Other factors that might influence college attendance included a dislike of certain subjects, with ethics, law and social policy identified as the least popular subjects. Students also admitted to an increase in absence around the time when assignments are due for submission and occasionally pretended to be ill.

Conclusion Further studies should be undertaken with other pre-registration nursing student cohorts to compare the results with this research. There should be: an increase in self-directed learning; a ‘family-friendly’ approach to the curriculum by allocating self-directed study during school holidays; a reduction in the number of theory hours to coincide with students’ external commitments and to assist them with the demands of studying; and time for private study before the submission of theoretical assignments.

Nursing Standard. 19, 47, 41-49. doi: 10.7748/ns2005.


Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review