Reduced withdrawal and failure rates of accelerated nursing students enrolled in pharmacology is associated with a supportive intervention

Doggrell, Sheila Anne & Schaffer, Sally (2016) Reduced withdrawal and failure rates of accelerated nursing students enrolled in pharmacology is associated with a supportive intervention. BMC Medical Education, 16, Article Number 40.

View at publisher (open access)



To reduce nursing shortages, accelerated nursing programs are available for domestic and international students. However, the withdrawal and failure rates from these programs may be different than for the traditional programs. The main aim of our study was to improve the retention and experience of accelerated nursing students.


The academic background, age, withdrawal and failure rates of the accelerated and traditional students were determined. Data from 2009 and 2010 were collected prior to intervention. In an attempt to reduce the withdrawal of accelerated students, we set up an intervention, which was available to all students. The assessment of the intervention was a pre-post-test design with non-equivalent groups (the traditional and the accelerated students). The elements of the intervention were a) a formative website activity of some basic concepts in anatomy, physiology and pharmacology, b) a workshop addressing study skills and online resources, and c) resource lectures in anatomy/physiology and microbiology. The formative website and workshop was evaluated using questionnaires.


The accelerated nursing students were five years older than the traditional students (p < 0.0001). The withdrawal rates from a pharmacology course are higher for accelerated nursing students, than for traditional students who have undertaken first year courses in anatomy and physiology (p = 0.04 in 2010). The withdrawing students were predominantly the domestic students with non-university qualifications or equivalent experience. The failure rates were also higher for this group, compared to the traditional students (p = 0.05 in 2009 and 0.03 in 2010). In contrast, the withdrawal rates for the international and domestic graduate accelerated students were very low. After the intervention, the withdrawal and failure rates in pharmacology for domestic accelerated students with non-university qualifications were not significantly different than those of traditional students.


The accelerated international and domestic graduate nursing students have low withdrawal rates and high success rates in a pharmacology course. However, domestic students with non-university qualifications have higher withdrawal and failure rates than other nursing students and may be underprepared for university study in pharmacology in nursing programs. The introduction of an intervention was associated with reduced withdrawal and failure rates for these students in the pharmacology course.

Impact and interest:

0 citations in Scopus
Search Google Scholar™

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

Full-text downloads:

18 since deposited on 09 Feb 2016
18 in the past twelve months

Full-text downloads displays the total number of times this work’s files (e.g., a PDF) have been downloaded from QUT ePrints as well as the number of downloads in the previous 365 days. The count includes downloads for all files if a work has more than one.

ID Code: 92756
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Accelerated nursing students, Domestic graduate, Domestic students with non-university qualifications, International students, Retention, Pharmacology, Withdrawal, HERN
DOI: 10.1186/s12909-016-0570-z
ISSN: 1472-6920
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Biomedical Sciences
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2016 Doggrell and Schaffer
Copyright Statement: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://​creativecommons.​org/​licenses/​by/​4.​0/​), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://​creativecommons.​org/​publicdomain/​zero/​1.​0/​) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Deposited On: 09 Feb 2016 23:38
Last Modified: 10 Feb 2016 23:19

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page