Watch: 'I left my nursing training after the first year because of the negative experience I had' Why are so many nursing students failing to complete their training?

Our analysis with Nursing Standard shows that 1 in 4 nursing students are leaving or suspending their courses before graduation.

With the NHS facing a shortage of an estimated 40,000 nurses in England alone, new nurses are needed more than ever. So why are so many nurses failing to complete their training?

Charlotte Hall, who started a children’s nursing degree in 2014, explains why despite always wanting to be a nurse, she was forced to drop out after her first year.

Data obtained by Nursing Standard and the Health Foundation show that of 19,566 UK nursing students who began three-year degrees due to finish in 2018, a total of 4,695 left their courses early or suspended their studies.

The average nursing student attrition rate in the UK is therefore 24.0%. A similar analysis conducted last year showed that the attrition rate for courses finishing in 2017 stood at 24.8%.

Previous research has shown students who leave their courses cite reasons such as finances, academic issues, placement quality, workload and lack of support.

Earlier this year, a report from The Health Foundation, together with The King’s Fund and the Nuffield Trust, called on the government to significantly increase the financial support available to nursing students with ‘cost of living’ grants of around £5,200 a year, in addition to the means-tested loan system.

Further reading

Press release

Nursing students are still dropping out in worrying numbers

4 September 2019
Press release

Analysis by Nursing Standard and the Health Foundation shows that despite political pledges to...


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February 2019
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