Exploration of health and health behaviours of undergraduate nursing students; a multi-methods study in two countries



Cameron DM, Muratore F, Tower M, Eades CE & Evans JMM (2022) Exploration of health and health behaviours of undergraduate nursing students; a multi-methods study in two countries. Contemporary Nurse.

Background: Nurses play a vital role in health promotion and there may be a link between a nurse’s own lifestyle practices and how they educate others. Supporting health and wellbeing in student nurses is therefore very important. Objectives: To explore the health and health behaviours of undergraduate nursing and midwifery students’ considering the demands of their profession, their public health role and ability to role model. Design: Multi-methods study Methods: Undergraduate nursing students in the second and third years of their programme were invited to self-complete a health and health behaviour questionnaire in a Scottish and Australian Higher Education Institution. Qualitative data were collected from a convenience sample of 20 third year nursing and midwifery students. Results: 235 Scottish students and 113 Australian students, 175 (85%) and 84 (74%) respectively completed the questionnaire. Some differences and similarities were noted across groups, in particular, perceived physical health, prevalence of binge drinking, smoking and overweight/obesity, and some dietary measures were less favourable among Scottish students. There were worryingly high levels of poor mental wellbeing at both Higher Education Institutions, with scores on a mental wellbeing scale suggesting that (82) 34.7% of Scottish students and X (29.6%) of Australian students were at risk of depression. Nine Scottish students and eleven Australian students were interviewed. Key contributors and barriers to healthy behaviours were noted across both groups of students in relation to lifestyle. Students perceived that certain elements of their curriculum had implications on their ability or motivation to make healthy lifestyle choices. Impact Statement: Priority should be given to supportive learning environments for student nurses that foster emotional support, and encourage healthy lifestyles. Conclusion: The poor health and health behaviours of future nurses need to be addressed while they are still in higher education to shape resilient role models of future nursing practice.

Australian; Health; Nurse; Scottish; Student; Education; Health behaviour

Output Status: Forthcoming/Available Online

Contemporary Nurse

StatusIn Press
Publication date online31/05/2022
Date accepted by journal30/05/2022

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Dr Claire Eades

Dr Claire Eades

Lecturer, Health Sciences Stirling