Student Recruitment: Bridging the Gap

Tuesday, 23 July 2013: 1:30 PM

Johanna Catharina (Irene) Lubbe, PhD, MSocSc (CritCrNsg), AdvDipEducMgmt, BSocSc
Department of Health Studies, University of South Africa (UNISA), Pretoria, South Africa

Learning Objective 1: The attendee will be able to comprehend the current challenges pertaining to the recruitment of undergraduate students for a nursing programme.

Learning Objective 2: The attendee will be introduced to the proposed action plan created to enhance student recruitment. Attendees can adapt the plan for their own institution.

Purpose:   Nurses form the cornerstone in achieving the millennium goals of the WHO with regard to health care.  However, 57 countries worldwide are facing a severe health workforce crisis.  Various solutions have been proposed to address the nursing staff shortage.  One of the aspects that has been greatly neglected in South African research, however, is the initial recruitment of nursing students.

Despite the critical importance of recruiting the best possible students for nursing education and training, very few private Nursing Education Institutions (NEIs) have a specific recruitment plan geared towards student recruitment.  There is considerable evidence in the literature that some NEIs lack strategic planning for the recruitment of their students and that they do not always include all relevant stakeholders when initiating a recruitment drive.

The purpose of this study was to develop an action plan to aid with the recruitment of nursing students for Nursin Education Institutions in South Africa. 

Methods: This study was structured around an adapted version of the process-planning model, as originally described by Zuber-Skerritt in 2002.  Originally, a qualitative design with some quantitative enhancement was used.  It was characterised by a descriptive, exploratory, and contextual focus.  Three researcher-developed survey-questionnaires were used.  During the last round of questionnaires, a quantitative approach, with qualitative enhancement was used.  Final data analysis was done with the assistance of the SPSS software program.

 Results: This study concluded with a generic action plan that was validated by experts in the field of student recruitment.

Conclusion: Although the claim cannot be made that student recruitment will address the nursing shortage, it is without a doubt an important departure point for the nursing profession, bridging the gap between demand and supply.