Factors Affecting Nursing Performance

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  • Topic: Nursing, Nurse, Nursing school
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  • Published : December 11, 2012
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Thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Health Science in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the Stellenbosch University

MARCH 2011


By submitting this thesis electronically, I declare that the entirety of the work contained therein is my own, original work, that I am the sole author thereof (save to the extent explicitly otherwise stated), that reproduction and publication thereof by Stellenbosch University will not infringe any third party rights and that I have not previously in its entirety or in part submitted it for obtaining any qualification.



Copyright © 2011 Stellenbosch University
All rights reserved.


Nursing education, including the individual nurse educator, has a responsibility to society and to students for providing quality education, for maintaining the highest academic standards, for the proficient use of teaching strategies and for ensuring adequate support to learners. These standards were threatened at a particular college in the Western Cape which instigated this study.

This study aimed at investigating the academic factors that influenced learning at a particular nursing college in the Western Cape. The objectives included the following possible factors that may have contributed towards the unsatisfactory, academic performances of students:

Nursing as a career choice;

Selection criteria;

Approaches to learning;

Motivation and learning;

Language barrier to learning; and

Factors affecting the learning environment.

A non-experimental, descriptive research design was applied with a quantitative approach. The target population (N = 963) consisted of nursing students following the course leading to registration as a professional nurse, according to the South African Nursing Council’s regulation 425, as promulgated by the Nursing Act 50 of 1978, as amended (Nursing Act 33 of 2005). Probability, stratified sampling was used to select the sample of participants (n = 174).

A structured questionnaire, consisting of predominantly closed questions, was used for the collection of data.
Ethical approval was obtained from Stellenbosch University to conduct this study. Permission to conduct the research was also obtained beforehand from the management of the nursing college being studied, whilst prior informed consent was obtained from each participant.


Reliability and validity of the study were assured by means of a pilot study and through the use of experts in nursing research, methodology and statistics. Data was collected and captured by the researcher personally.

The data was analysed with the support of a statistician and was expressed as frequencies and in tables and histograms. Descriptive statistics and post-hoc analyses, including tests for statistical associations, were performed. The outcomes from this study showed that third year students (n = 49/23%) spent the most time studying, whilst first years (n = 74/43%) and second years (n = 40/23%) only spent 2.3 hours studying per day. Academic support classes, when offered, were always attended by (n = 64/37%) and most times by (n = 72/42%). The majority of the participants were able to cope with the workload most of the time (n = 107/61%), whilst (n = 51/30%) and (n = 6/3%) of the participants indicated coping seldom and never, respectively. A significant relationship between the ages of participants and being able to cope with the workload (Spearman p-value = 0.02) existed. Results indicated that (n = 83/48%) of the participants received support with language problems, whilst (n = 75/43%) indicated that they did not receive support with language...
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