A concept analysis of “Reluctance to fail”

Sarah A. Prichard, Peggy Ward-Smith


Background: Academic success in programs of nursing requires successful completion of didactic and clinical activities. Failure, in didactic situations, is objectively determined. Clinical failure is determined subjectively, which may expose the competency and reputation of the clinical faculty. This scenario can result in a hesitancy, or a reluctance to fail a student. Graduation may occur in the presence of limited clinical competency resulting in new graduates who are not adequately prepared for professional nursing practice.

Methods: Exploring the concept of reluctance to fail will provide a conceptual definition based on uses of the concept found in research studies. Walker and Avant (2011) describe an eight step concept analysis process which will be utilized to determine the defining attributes, antecedents, consequences and empirical referents of the concept of reluctance to fail.

Results: The result of this concept analysis is a conceptual model depicting reluctance to fail as a circular phenomenon with various elements. Guided by the intervention needed to address the deficiency, these elements may be placed in one of three categories: education of faculty, role modeling, and peer support.

Conclusions: Education of clinical faculty will diminish the unwillingness, and hesitancy elements. Role modeling activities will prevent fear as rationale for reluctance to fail. Peer support provides emotional support when guilt for assigning a failing grade occurs. Future research must be conducted to identify factors responsible for faculty reluctance to assign failing grades, as well as the effectiveness of these interventions. 

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/jnep.v7n8p80

Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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