Supporting pregnant nursing students in graduate entry-to-practice nursing programs: A case study

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Background: Nurses are vital in improving population health globally. Yet, some female students leave nursing programs due to pregnancy and early motherhood, which contributes to a global shortage in the nursing workforce. Objectives: To evaluate an existing support mechanism and identify unmet needs of nursing students during pregnancy and transition to motherhood in the academic environment, including clinical placement. Design: Qualitative research, case study design. Settings: One university in Australia, interviews conducted in December 2020–February 2021 prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants: Students who were pregnant or transitioned to motherhood during their enrolment in a pre-registration Masters level nursing program. Method: Data collected through semi-structured interviews was thematically analysed. Results: While ten students, who were pregnant or had a baby during the period of June 2017 to December 2020 expressed interest in participating in the study, six students were interviewed about their experiences, challenges and views on academic supports provided during pregnancy and early motherhood. The following themes were identified: 1) Disclosing pregnancy: Barriers and supports; 2) Navigating placements, assessments and exams; 3) Studying in early motherhood 4) Stressors and pressures specific to international students. Conclusion: Opportunities for interventions at critical stages for students are identified, including barriers to the take up existing supports. Key recommendations are outlined to enhance the study experience of nursing students during pregnancy and early motherhood.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105445
Number of pages8
JournalNurse Education Today
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


  • Nursing
  • Pregnancy
  • Qualitative research
  • Student
  • support

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