Title. The role of personality and self-efficacy in the selection and retention of successful nursing students: a longitudinal study
Aim. This paper is a report of a study to examine the role of personality and self-efficacy in predicting academic performance and attrition in nursing students.
Background. Despite a considerable amount of research investigating attrition in nursing students and new nurses, concerns remain. This particular issue highlights the need for a more effective selection process whereby those selected are more likely to complete their preregistration programme successfully, and remain employed as Registered Nurses.
Method. A longitudinal design was adopted. A questionnaire, which included measures of personality and occupational and academic self-efficacy, was administered to 384 students early in the first year of the study. At the end of the programme, final marks and attrition rates were obtained from university records for a total of 350 students. The data were collected from 1999 to 2002.
Findings. Individuals who scored higher on a psychoticism scale were more likely to withdraw from the programme. Occupational self-efficacy was revealed to be a statistically significant predictor of final mark obtained, in that those with higher self-efficacy beliefs were more likely to achieve better final marks. Extraversion was also shown to negatively predict academic performance in that those with higher extraversion scores were more likely to achieve lower marks.
Conclusion. More research is needed to explore the attributes of successful nursing students and the potential contribution of psychological profiling to a more effective selection process.