Proceedings of The Physiological Society

University College London 2006 (2006) Proc Physiol Soc 3, PC63

Poster Communications

Teaching physiology to mature pre-registration nursing students

Etain A Tansey1, Sean M Roe1, Laura E.A. Montgomery1

1. Physiology, Queens University Belfast, Belfast, United Kingdom.


In recent years access to pre-registration nursing courses has been widened to incorporate the mature student (Lauder & Cuthbertson, 1998). To retain these students, and so avoid future shortages, strategies should be considered to provide for any additional educational requirements. An anonymous questionnaire was used and distributed throughout two different intakes of students (90 mature respondents in total). Four themes were explored in detail. 1) Who are the students? Mature students were defined as individuals of 26 years of age and older. The average age of mature respondents was 32, with ages ranging between 26 and 52 years of age, as you might expect the majority (62%) of the respondents stated that they had dependants. The majority of respondents (41%) entered the nursing diploma through an access course and prior employment was predominantly in the caring field (58%). There was however a general trend towards jobs at the lower end of the wages spectrum, which was reflected in the fact that 25% of students admitted that one of their major motivations for joining the course was to improve their job satisfaction and security. The majority of respondents however indicated that the course was a fulfilment of a life long desire to be a nurse (31%). 2) Barriers preventing students from continuing with the course The most common barriers identified were financial (59% of respondents), family commitments (46%) and childcare issues (42%). 3) Differences between mature and younger nursing students The major perceived difference was that the focus of mature students is more family orientated, with the many responsibilities that come with it (37%). However that mature students are more focused and committed was also frequently cited as a perceived difference (22%). Despite the obvious anxiety of mature students (with 44% of respondents expressing concern over balancing home and student life) there was a large number of respondents (47%) who indicated that they felt that their maturity would benefit them, they believe their life experience will enable them to show more patience and understanding with patients. 4) Additional teaching support for the mature student A very high proportion (77% of respondents) indicated that they would appreciate extra teaching support. 22% requested study skills classes and 27% requested advice on essay writing. Students lacking in a scientific background frequently commented that they would appreciate extra classes regarding basic scientific concepts e.g. what is salt, that they were assumed to be familiar with already.

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