Original Research

Factors influencing high absenteeism rate of student nurses in clinical areas at a nursing college in the Lejweleputswa District

Griselda N. Magobolo, Barbara M. Dube
Curationis | Vol 42, No 1 | a1985 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/curationis.v42i1.1985 | © 2019 Griselda N. Magobolo, Barbara M. Dube | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 26 June 2018 | Published: 26 August 2019

About the author(s)

Griselda N. Magobolo, Free School of Nursing, Welkom, South Africa
Barbara M. Dube, School of Nursing and Public Health, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa


Background: Student nurse attendance during training is mandatory, and the South African Nursing Council (SANC) stipulates that students must attend 80% of hours for both theory and practice during their training. Unauthorised student nurse absenteeism, especially in the clinical areas, has become an increasing problem in nursing education institutions and in the universities. This study explored student absenteeism with the aim of generating solutions that are specifically relevant to the context of the Free State College of Nursing.

Objectives: The objectives of the study were to describe perceived personal reasons and reasons related to clinical areas that contribute to student nurses’ absenteeism from the clinical areas and to explore the relationship between demographic data and reasons for absenteeism.

Method: A quantitative research design with descriptive and exploratory strategies was used. Data were collected by means of a self-administered questionnaire. Data analysis was performed using SPSS version 23.0. One hundred and fifty-two student nurses were sampled after permission to conduct the study was requested and obtained.

Results: The results showed that 72.4% of respondents agreed that students are absent because of physical illness. The majority of students (97.3%) at the selected campus are absent from clinical areas because they are covering staff shortages. The findings showed no particular relationship between gender and absenteeism as absenteeism was present throughout.

Conclusion: Student nurses at a selected campus are generally absent at the clinical areas because they are physically ill and are funded for studying but not paid for working. It was recommended that accurate records of attendance should be kept and absenteeism rates be calculated at frequent intervals.


absenteeism; clinical areas; student nurses; students’ role; perception


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