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Retention of Nursing Students

An Integrative Review

Smith-Wacholz, Heather C.; Wetmore, Julia P.; Conway, Cheryl; McCarley, Melanie

doi: 10.1097/01.NEP.0000000000000477

AIM The purpose of this integrative review is to identify ways to decrease student attrition in schools of nursing.

BACKGROUND Many nursing students have anxiety, lack finances, face an absence of faculty or peer support, and have decreased overall satisfaction with the realities of nursing. This integrative review demonstrates that a significant percentage of nursing students leave school before completing their program.

METHOD Manuscripts were selected for this study to evaluate effective interventions to increase retention rates for first-year nursing students. Seventeen studies met inclusion criteria.

RESULTS Interventions to decrease attrition include effective teaching methods and styles; utilization of an advisor, clinical coach, or mentor; stress reduction; faculty support; students’ background; and perceptions of nursing.

CONCLUSION Educators have the option of using several supportive measures to decrease attrition in nursing programs.

About the Authors Heather C. Smith-Wacholz, MSN, CCRN-CMC, CNRN, is a clinical nurse educator, Union General Hospital, Blairsville, Georgia. Julia P. Wetmore, PhD, CPNP-PC, is a forensic examiner, Children’s Advocacy and Protection Center of Catawba, Conover, North Carolina. Cheryl Conway, MSN, RN, NE-BC, is a quality consultant, Asheville, North Carolina. Melanie McCarley, MSN, RN, is a former simulation coordinator for health professions programs, Dalton, Georgia. For more information, contact Ms. Smith-Wacholz at

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Online date: March 27, 2019

© 2019 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.
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