Factors Influencing Student Nurses’ Performance in the Final Practical Examination at Gweru School of Nursing
The purpose of this study was to identify leads to factors influencing student nurses’ performance in the final year practical examination at Gweru School of Nursing. A descriptive survey was used to collect data from a census of 16 assessors and cluster sample of 35 student nurses. A questionnaire designed for the research and this was complemented by observing student nurses during their final year practical examination. Analysis of assessors’ reports was done and interviews were held with repeating students to have in-depth understanding of factors that affected their performance. The study revealed that student nurses made the following errors in their final year practical examination: failure to evaluate the given nursing care, miscalculating drug dosages especially drops per minute needed when administering drugs like intravenous Ringer’s Lactate, failure to record and report patient’s planned care as well as a lack of knowledge of patients’ conditions and results of investigations performed. The study recommends a reduction in the number of students per intake to match the limited resources available. Nurse training hospitals can prioritise equipping the wards so that students learn using authentic equipment. Staff development courses can be held to coordinate the work of the school clinical instructor and ward supervisor/assessor. Students require more exposure to authentic individual nursing care of patients so that they use the individual patients’ needs for planned nursing care.