Widening Particiption in Nurse Education; An Integrative Literature Review

Vanessa Heaslip, Michele Board, Vicky Duckworth, Liz Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Widening participation into higher education is espoused within educational policy in the UK, and internationally, as a mechanism to promote equality and social mobility. As nurse education is located within higher education it has a responsibility to promote widening participation within pre-registration educational programmes. It could also be argued that the profession has a responsibility to promote equality to ensure its’ workforce is as diverse as possible in order to best address the health needs of diverse populations. Objectives: To undertake an integrative review on published papers exploring Widening Participation in undergraduate, pre-registration nurse education in the UK Design: A six step integrative review methodology was utilised, reviewing papers 2013-2016; published in English. Data sources: Search of CINAHL, Education Source, MEDLINE, PsychINFO, SocINDEX, Science Direct, Business Scource Complete, ERIC, British Library ETOS, Teacher Reference Centre, Informit Health Collection and Informit Humanities and Social Science Collection which highlighted 449 citations; from these 14 papers met the review inclusion criteria. Review methods: Both empirical studies and editorials focusing upon widening participation in pre-registration nurse education in the UK (2013-2016) were included. Papers excluded were non UK papers or papers not focussed upon widening participation in pre-registration nursing education. Research papers included in the review were assessed for quality using appropriate critical appraisal tools Results: 14 papers were included in the review; these were analysed thematically identifying four themes; knowledge and identification of WP, pedagogy and WP, attrition and retention and career prospects. Conclusions: Whilst widening participation is a key issue for both nurse education and the wider profession there is a lack of conceptualisation and focus regarding mechanisms to both encourage and support a wider diversity of entrant. Whilst there are some studies, these focus on particular individual widening participation groups rather than a wider strategic focus across the student lifecycle.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-74
Number of pages9
JournalNurse Education Today
Publication statusPublished - 14 Sept 2017


  • Widening Participation
  • Fair Access
  • Equity
  • Equality and Diversity
  • Nurse Education
  • Nurse Training
  • Nursing

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