A qualitative study on attrition of student nurses in Kwazulu-Natal College of Nursing: Principals’ perspectives

  • TE Masango
Keywords: Attrition, dropout, student wastage.


The purpose of the study to explore reasons behind high students’ attrition rates in the four-year comprehensive diploma course at a college of nursing in KZN Province and measures to address them.. The research design was qualitative, exploratory and contextual. A purposive sampling was used and ten (10) principals of nursing college sub-campuses consented to be part of the study. Semi-structured telephonic interview method was used to collect data from participants. These were recorded and transcribed verbatim by the researcher. Findings show that attrition was mainly confined to the first year of study (25%) and to a lesser degree to the fourth year (3%).Causes of attrition were synthesized into five themes: academic failure, ill heath, substance abuse, absenteeism and challenges of clinicalplacement. Evidence appears to demonstrate that personal commitment and good support seem to be essential for students to remain in the programme. Recruitment and selection methods need to change so as to attract students capable of rising to the demands of today’s’ complex health care system.

Keywords: Attrition, dropout, student wastage.


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eISSN: 1117-4315