Employment as a predictor of mental health, psychological distress, anxiety and depression in Australian pre-registration nursing students
Background: Caring for self by maintaining emotional well-being is important for pre-registration nursing students if they are to graduate as confident and competent health professionals. Purpose: The purpose of this cross-sectional study was to identify the predictors of emotional well-being of pre-registration nursing students by measuring their levels of anxiety, depression, behavioural control, positive affect and general distress.
Method: A cross-sectional study designed facilitated an examination of the level of emotional well-being of pre-registration nursing students (enrolled in their first, second and third year) in an Australian university across five campuses using the Mental Health Index (MHI). Purposive, all-inclusive sampling was used to recruit 920 nursing students. Data was collecting during a two month period (August to October 2016). Regression analyses were used to identify predictors of emotional well-being.
Results: Results indicate that employment status was one of the major predictors of students' emotional well-being.
Conclusion: Given this finding, and the importance that paid employment appears to have as a protective factor nurse education programs need to support these students to effectively balance their academic performance and employment. Innovative ways to structure course curriculum and modes of delivery to support work and study demands should be a focus of future research.