A Critical Realist Review of Pre-Registration Nursing Student Stress

Coleman, Phil and Vance, Gillian (2020). A Critical Realist Review of Pre-Registration Nursing Student Stress. International Journal of Studies in Nursing, 5(2) pp. 28–40.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.20849/ijsn.v5i2.748


This Critical Realist review recognises the transitional challenge faced by all undergraduates on their path to becoming qualified practitioners but draws attention to the particularly high levels of student stress associated with the experience of learners who enrol on pre-registration nursing programmes. It also examines international evidence of factors which contribute to such stress. Professional opinion, reports, qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods research is thematically presented to indicate the wide range of educational, social, environmental, intrapersonal and interpersonal variables that contribute to pre-registration nursing student stress. Congruent with the principles of Critical Realism, the paper also identifies several emerging fields associated with student nurse stressors that are worthy of further investigation due to an apparent paucity of published work. Finally, the authors briefly highlight their own research activity currently underway to extend the body of knowledge in these areas and in so doing seek to help address student retention issues within nursing.

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