Preparing student nurses to be healthy role models: A qualitative study

Joy Darch, Lesley Baillie, Fiona Gillison

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There are national and international expectations for nurses to be healthy role models. This study aimed to investigate student nurses', nurse educators' and registered nurses' experiences and perceptions about being healthy role models and to explore whether nurse education prepares students to become healthy role models. The study used an exploratory qualitative design and was based in the south of England. Participants (n = 39) included student nurses, nurse lecturers and registered nurses. Data collection was conducted through focus groups and data were analysed using thematic analysis. The themes highlighted nurses’ understanding of the key features of being a healthy role model, and perceptions that working as nurses does not support individuals to be healthy. Participants had varied views about whether they should be healthy role models or mirror society and share the same struggles with their health. Students and registered nurses reported inadequate understanding of health promotion and that there was a lack of healthy lifestyle content within undergraduate nurse education. Participants also considered that role modelling healthy behaviour would not in itself influence behaviour change. In conclusion, there needs to be preparation and support for student nurses to be healthy role models from the outset of nurse education.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102630
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalNurse Education in Practice
Early online date25 Sept 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019


  • Education
  • Health promotion
  • Nurse
  • Role model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Education


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