Something’s Got to Give: A Description of Contemporary Nursing Students


Objective: The purpose of this study was to explore and describe the socio-demographic profiles, academic habits, and lived experiences of baccalaureate nursing students at a private university in Hawaii. Methods: A mixed method design of descriptive statistics and analysis was used. For this study, a semi-structured, twenty-five item survey was developed by the researchers and reviewed by other faculty for veracity. A convenience sample included level one (LV1) students (n = 91) and level five (LV5) students (n = 64) attending class on the day of the survey. Results: Analysis revealed that contemporary students have complex lives with multiple work, family, financial, program, and health challenges that impact their lives as students. The majority of students in this sample were identified as Asian or Pacific Islander. Fifty percent of students in both levels worked 20 hours per week and about 1/4 in both levels had children. About 25% spent more than 15 hours per week on social media and studied 1-2 hours per day. Fourteen percent of both levels reported getting less than five hours of sleep. Beginning students identified time management and work as the top two barriers to success. Those completing the program identified issues with the nursing program and family obligations. Conclusions: Factors identified in this study not only impact students’ performance in the classroom but also have implications for performance in the clinical areas. These factors suggest that nursing faculty take into consideration the perceived needs of students while maintaining ethics and high academic standards. The understanding gained from this study will inform curriculum revision and program development.

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Critz, C. and Feagai, H. (2014) Something’s Got to Give: A Description of Contemporary Nursing Students. Open Journal of Nursing, 4, 123-131. doi: 10.4236/ojn.2014.43016.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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