Nursing Students’ Self-Graded Motivation to Complete their Programme of Study

Margareta Warrén Stomberg, Kerstin Nilsson*
The Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden and University of Skövde, Sweden

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© Warrén Stomberg and Nilsson; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden; Tel: +46 31 786 60 28; Fax: +46 31 786 33 99; E-mail:


The aim of this study was to explore variation in nursing students’ motivation to complete their programme of study, as well as factors relating to low versus high motivation and students’ opinions of what would increase their motivation to complete their programme of study.

A study was carried out between April 2006 and December 2007. A total of 872 students registered in a 3-year nursing programme randomly participated in self-rating their motivation score once each semester. Descriptive statistics, statistical calculations and content analysis regarding open-ended questions were performed. Most of the students, 73%, rated their motivation as ≥6 on a 0-10 Likert scale; and 16% gave a rating of ≤4.

The desire to become a registered nurse (RN) and having a positive attitude towards the studies were the main factors influencing high motivation to complete the programme of study. Having a negative attitude towards the studies was an explanation of decreased motivation. There was a significant decrease (p=0.001) in the motivation score with respect to number of semesters, and motivation increased with the student’s age (p=0.0119). Suggestions for increasing motivation given by those who rated their motivation as ≤4 mainly focused on improvements in didactics and study organisation.

Keywords: Nurse education, motivation.