The characteristics and experiences of mature nursing students
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The characteristics and experiences of mature nursing students

Laura EA Montgomery Teaching fellow, Medical Biology Centre, Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast
Etain A Tansey Teaching fellow, Medical Biology Centre, Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast
Sean M Roe Teaching fellow, Medical Biology Centre, Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast

Aims To explore the characteristics of mature nursing students, including how they perceive themselves, and to identify the problems they experience, which may influence whether they continue with their course.

Method A sample of 239 students completed an anonymous questionnaire at the end of their first year of study for a diploma in nursing science. A question concerning age was included to enable identification of mature students, of which there were 90.

Results Mature students as a group were desirable students, tending to perform better academically than their younger counterparts and bringing a wealth of caring experience to the course. However, mature students experienced additional pressures, for example financial concerns.

Conclusion When considering the potential benefits of educating mature students, the government and universities should be encouraging their recruitment and retention. An increase in the bursary and free or heavily subsidised childcare would help to alleviate financial concerns.

Nursing Standard. 23, 20,35-40. doi: 10.7748/ns2009.01.23.20.35.c6745

Correspondence

l.e.a.montgomery@qub.ac.uk

Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review