Salutogenic nursing education: A summative review

Ernestine H. Cuellar, Russell G. Zaiontz


Nursing is at a critical point with a global need to increase the number of nurses to provide healthcare. However it is difficult to fulfill that demand because of high attrition rates in nursing school and subsequent attrition in nursing within a few years after graduation. This summative review aims to synthesize salutogenic education research to identify methods suitable to promote retention and maintenance of nursing students in nursing education. Nursing school is inherently stressful often leading to attrition in nursing school. Often those student nurses who graduate are not well equipped to manage stress in the work environment; some leave the nursing profession early in their careers. Thus it is imperative for nursing educators to promote nursing student retention and nursing student wellness so that those students will remain in nursing after graduation.

Thirty-nine studies, were selected from peer-reviewed research published in English since 1979, based on inclusion criteria that sense of cohesion (SOC) is a variable with a nursing student, student or educational focus. Evidence indicates students with high SOC experience greater psychosocial functioning and that SOC is related to social dimensions of the learning environment. In addition, resilience is an important consideration since some students are able to “beat the odds” and develop high SOC and social functioning.

Consensus regarding academic success was not found; however, longitudinal studies suggest students with high SOC have long-term academic and employment success. Gender findings were mixed implying context is an important consideration. Multiple studies support the premise that higher SOC is associated with student perceptions of less stress, better health, wellbeing and better quality of life. There exists a large gap in the body of knowledge related to research of interventions promoting nursing student wellness using SOC. Further research is needed to determine how we teach and whether the integration of salutogenic concepts into nursing education can promote academic success in nursing students.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

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

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