Health-Related Quality of Life and Undergraduate Nursing Students: A Narrative Review

The Open Nursing Journal 17 Nov 2021 REVIEW ARTICLE DOI: 10.2174/1874434602115010244



Undergraduate nursing students are vulnerable to stressful university learning environments and poor working conditions in clinical rotations. This can result in students leaving nursing programs or abandoning the profession following graduation. As a result, the health-related quality of life of nursing students is an important indicator to monitor student quality of life adequacy. Preventing premature student nurses' departure from the profession is necessary to reduce the nursing shortage.


To describe the body of knowledge about the health-related quality of life for undergraduate nursing students during their qualification process.


This was a narrative review through a six-database search, including Cochrane, CINAHL, Pubmed, Medline, PsycINFO and Livivio, from between January 1990 and June 2018, with updates in the search followed until November 2019. To assess study quality, the STROBE checklist was used.


Eight studies were included in a narrative synthesis. All studies were of cross-sectional design, and none included follow-up procedures. Most of the studies recruited participants from nursing courses and only one study recruited students from a national register. Sample sizes ranged from 110 individuals to 4,033 participants in the register-based study. Common health-related dimensions evaluated included stress, social support, mental health, fatigue, quality of life, and drug abuse. Stress, the most commonly studied dimension, was associated with clinical placements, final exams, and non-prescribed drugs. Social support networks were positively associated with coping abilities and self-esteem.


There is low-quality evidence of the impact of nursing courses upon student health-related dimensions (stress, self-esteem, health-related behaviors). Nurse educators should be aware of these associations and support routine screening of students and their health-related dimensions. Interventions, such as consultation and study redesign, might increase the level of health-related dimensions. Nursing schools should further collaborate to investigate these associations and tailored interventions to positively affect health-related dimensions in nursing students.

Keywords: Nursing, Student, Health, Curriculum, Psychological stress, Social support, Health-related quality of life, Narrative review.
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