Attitudes to absenteeism among diploma nursing students in Ireland – an exploratory descriptive survey

Timmins, Fiona and Kaliszer, Michael (2002) Attitudes to absenteeism among diploma nursing students in Ireland – an exploratory descriptive survey. Nurse Education Today, 22 (7). pp. 578-588. ISSN 0260-6917


Nurse education within Ireland is currently in a transition period. October 2002 heralds the national implementation of a third-level four-year degree based programme for the preparation of nurses, to replace the current three-year diploma system. Anecdotally, one concern expressed by nurse educators regarding this move, is the regulation and monitoring of student non-attendance. This study explores the views of those involved in nurse education in Ireland to absenteeism among diploma nursing students to ascertain whether or not concern exists. The findings reveal absenteeism as a potential problem among nursing students. Most respondents agree that student attendance at both the practical and theoretical aspect of current education programmes is a problem. There is overwhelming agreement that student attendances while on the clinical area should be monitored, while the majority of respondents agree that attendance monitoring during lectures should take place. Some divergent views emerge among the lecturers and tutors with the lecturers seeming more ‘liberal’ on average than the tutors, reflecting perhaps the different traditions of their environments. Mostly however, the differences between the two groups are small and statistically insignificant. Overall responses indicate a continued commitment to monitoring and control of absenteeism in this population. Systematic policies need to be developed and enforced and key personnel need to be employed to support attendance monitoring in the third level setting.

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