Health SA Gesondheid (Online)
On-line version ISSN 1025-9848
WATKINS, Kirsten D.; ROOS, Vera and VAN DER WALT, Engela. An exploration of personal, relational and collective well-being in nursing students during their training at a tertiary education institution. Health SA Gesondheid (Online) [online]. 2011, vol.16, n.1, pp. 1-10. ISSN 1025-9848.
The well-being of nursing students has become crucial because of the multidimensional challenges that nursing professionals have to deal with. A community psychology framework was adopted in this study. The aim of the research was to explore the different dimensions of well-being as described by nursing students. A purposive and availability sample was used to gather qualitative data (interviews, focus groups and visual presentations) during 2008 and 2010 from first-year nursing students, which were thematically analysed. The emergent themes were grouped according to personal, relational and collective well-being. The findings indicated that nursing students' personal well-being was undermined by a lack of autonomy, feelings of uncertainty, and feelings of pressure and disillusionment with the nursing profession and their training. Personal well-being was also described in terms of dispositional optimism and the need for a sense of purpose and deeper meaning. Relational well-being was expressed by the nursing students in relation to their friends, family and lecturers. The different relationships were important sources of comfort and encouragement. Their collective well-being was threatened by a challenging work environment, lack of role models in clinical settings as well as incongruence between theoretical training and practical application. Recommendations for improving the different dimensions of well-being are suggested.