An Investigation of Emirati Student Recruitment and Retention in Nursing Education, and the Experience of Nursing Educational Leaders

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The British University in Dubai (BUiD)
Nursing started in the Emirates with the arrival of expatriate nurses in the later part of the nineteen century, but fifty years on though, nursing education in the country is still in its infancy. The purpose of this study is to investigate factors surrounding poor Emirati student recruitment and retention within the nursing programme(s) in the Abu Dhabi Emirate, and the experience of nursing education leaders in dealing with this issue. A review of the literature, both regionally and globally, identifies several factors as influencing this phenomenon, but there has been no study, published until date, from the UAE. Within a mixed methodology approach, a sequential explanatory mixed methods research design was used to collect data from 140 Emirati students at different levels of the nursing program, at the only College of Health Sciences, in the Emirate. Questionnaires, semi- structured interviews and related documents analyses were used to collect information for the purpose of this thesis. Unstructured interviews were also conducted with select nursing leaders in the country to explore their experiences. Quantitative analysis revealed that overall participants perceived the Emirati society as holding a positive image of nursing, though a majority of them indicated that nursing as a profession, would be a third or last choice of career for them. Inferential analysis on the reasons to choose or not choose nursing, revealed an opportunity to work as part of the team; and as a stepping stone to other professions as significant reasons, versus perceived program difficulty level, and perceived unpleasant tasks. Thematic analysis of interviews were categorized as: - 1) Personal interest; 2) Parental support; 3) Professional awareness; 4) Perceived barriers; 5) Potential benefits, and 6) Policies at the local and national levels. Nursing leaders from different spheres of the profession had different experiences and responsibilities, and tackled the problem from different perspectives. The study has several implications for nursing education and policy in the United Arab Emirates and the region.
Health education -- Study and teaching., recruitment and retention, nursing education, educational leaders, United Arab Emirates (UAE)