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African Health Sciences
Makerere University Medical School
ISSN: 1680-6905 EISSN: 1729-0503
Vol. 8, Num. 3, 2008, pp. 199-199

African Health Sciences, Vol. 8, No. 3, Sept, 2008, pp. 199-199

Letter to the Editor

Nursing student induction into university life a new approach

Ross G. Cooper* and Usama ALAlami

Physiology Division, Faculty of Health, Birmingham City University, 704 Baker Building, Franchise Street, Perry Barr, Birmingham B42 2SU, UK, Tel: 0121 331 5489, fax: 0121 331 6592, e-mail:

Code Number: hs08042

Academic life at the Higher Education level is accompanied by social, financial and academic pressures commonly observed in Europe and Africa. Many of the issues pertaining to the experience of students in Japan are also relevant to students in Europe, Africa and the USA. This can result in students dropping out due to a variety of reasons such as homesickness, particularly amongst foreign students, who may feel out of place, or may not regard the system as properly informing them about the course they have chosen. It is therefore vital that students not only receive the appropriate types of support upon joining, but that the methods by which this support is delivered are tailored to their individual needs. The aim of this study was to design a conference style induction event to reduce stress and anxiety levels in students.

The students were met by a conference style registration desk and directed to a room for refreshments were welcomed by the Programme Director and the year tutor. This was followed by a few icebreakers intended to enhance the interaction between the students and the staff. Such an approach made the students feel at ease. The events included a programme overview, meetings and workshops with student support teams, module team introductions, electing student representatives, tours of the campus and officially enrolling on the course. The skills proposed by Chaboyer and Retsas1 including library and study skills should be acquired at the initial stages of learning, and induction begs itself as an event for its realisation. Library access is also enhanced by efficient information literacy. A newly developed course calendar containing dates for module choice events, vacations and other significant academic dates was introduced. All the events were organised taking into account age, gender, ethnic and religious variations.

Staff were motivated by the enthusiasm and eagerness of the students. In a voluntary questionnaire survey of the course, students reported a very favourable impression of friendly, approachable and reassuring staff. This assisted the amelioration of the students' apparent homesickness and a feeling of being out of place, which are commonly experienced by student's at their first arrival, and which needed addressing by the induction event. The students valued being treated as adults. Many of the issues that could have caused stress and anxiety in students had been addressed by the end of induction. We support the findings of Hori and Shimazu2 on the reassurance of students experiencing stress and that there are methods that can be employed to combat the like and build their self-confidence. We also recommend that the learning outcomes of undergraduate health courses should at the point of induction, include an explicit statement of the competencies needed, all of which should ultimately be adequately delivered and rigorously assessed before award of the degree or diploma3.


  1. Chaboyer, W., Retsas, A. Critical care graduate diploma: nursing students' needs identified in evaluation. Australian Critical Care, 1996, 9(1), pp.10-13.
  2. Hori, M., Shimazu, A. [A stress management program for university students]. [Article in Japanese]. Shinrigaku Kenkyu, 2007, 78(3), pp. 284-289.
  3. Burch, V.C., Nash, R.C., Zabow, T., Gibbs, T., Aubin, L., Jacobs, B., Hift, R.J. A structured assessment of newly qualified medical graduates. Medical Education, 2005, 39(7), pp. 723-31.

Copyright © 2008 - Makerere Medical School, Uganda

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