Barriers to timely completion of the nursing education program of Saskatchewan (NEPS)
Timely student completion of undergraduate nursing programs in order to produce practicing registered nurses (RNs) is of concern to students, faculty, governments, employers, and health care consumers across Canada. The shortage of health care professionals in Saskatchewan, particularly in nursing, is an immediate and growing concern. The average age of RNs in Saskatchewan is 44.9 years (CIHI, 2003). With the inevitability of retirement of many RNs, recruitment and retention of new nurses is critical to the quality of health care in this province. The looming shortage creates a further challenge for key stakeholders in academia, government, and health regions who hold a vested interest in the retention of nurses educated in Saskatchewan. Currently, little is known about the impact of barriers to timely completion of students in the Nursing Education Program of Saskatchewan (NEPS). Considering the aging nursing workforce, frequent, substantial numbers of nursing graduates are important to meet the demand for health human resources in the province of Saskatchewan (SRNA, 2004). The purpose of this research was to conduct a secondary analysis of the NEPS Database including exit surveys completed by 363 graduates over a three-year period, 2002-2003; 2003-2004; 2004-2005. Group membership was determined by splitting data between graduates who had taken four academic years (September to April) or less to complete the program (timely completers) and those who took longer than four academic years (delayed completers). Objectives were to examine the differences between the two aforementioned groups in terms of the following variables: employment hours, financial burden, student loan status, dollar amount of bursaries awarded during the NEPS, primary responsibility the year prior to the NEPS, significant life changes during the NEPS, Aboriginal ancestry and core course averages. Results show that 86% of females in the study group completed the NEPS in a timely manner compared with 58% of their male counterparts. There was a trend of higher employment hours per week in every year of the NEPS for delayed completers. However, this difference approached statistical significance only for students in year one, t (360) = 1.81, p < .07. Fifty percent of delayed completers had three or more significant life changes during the NEPS. Seventy-five percent of timely completers had two or fewer significant life changes. Students require various forms of support to ensure timely completion of the NEPS. It is anticipated that results of this research will inform policy decisions to facilitate timely completion of the NEPS.
nursing shortage, nursing education, delayed completion, timely completion, barriers, baccalaureate, attrition, knowledge transfer
Master of Nursing (M.N.)
College of Nursing
College of Nursing