Factors influencing academic help-seeking behavior of basic diploma nursing students in Kenya medical training college, Nairobi, Kenya.
Ombasa, Zachary Ongachi
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Academic help is central to students’ academic adjustment and success. Nursing students encounter learning difficulties; thus, need assistance or advice to continue with learning tasks. That is why, as part of quality assurance, the Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC), the Technical and Vocational Education and Training Authority (TVETA), and the Nursing Council of Kenya (NCK) demand that training schools provide for students’ academic support. However, even with these regulatory imperatives, little information is available on academic help-seeking behavior (AHSB) among student nurses in Kenya, and in particular KMTC. Specifically, there is scarcity of literature on the nature of help-seeking behavior, sources and factors likely to predict help-seeking among student nurses in KMTC. Elsewhere, studies have observed variations in AHSB, including help avoidance. It is because of the foregoing that this quantitative cross-sectional survey sought to describe AHSB of basic diploma nursing students in KMTC Nairobi. The study examined the influence of sources of help, options of help-seeking, personal characteristics and environmental factors on help-seeking behavior. From the study population of 410 students, a sample of 199 respondents was recruited using a table of random numbers. Data was collected in February 2019, during clinical and theoretical learning sessions. The study utilized a self-administered questionnaire that had already been expert reviewed and pretested. Informed voluntary consent and requisite ethical clearances were obtained. Quantitative data was entered into SPSS version 23 for windows. Descriptive statistics and inferential statistics (namely, the Fisher’s Exact, chi-square and binary logistic regression) were derived from the data. All statistical tests of significance were at 95% Confidence level. Qualitative data was thematically analyzed. Results revealed that 90.9% (n=160) of respondents were adaptive help seekers, 72.8% (n=160) preferred peers to lecturers and 75.6% (n=133) frequently sought help from fellow students, especially during group discussions. By contrast, 54.6% (n=95) of the respondents approached instructors during class or immediately after lesson; with only 24.6% (n=43) engaging lecturers privately. Adaptive help seeking was positively associated with personal factors of self-efficacy (p=0.034), the notion that the student is of equal worth with peers (p=0.038) and a feeling that help seeking is not a sign of weakness (χ2 =6.057, df=1, p=0.014). Further, satisfaction with nursing course and positive rating of peers (on variables like availability, supportive, respectful and approachable) was positively linked to adaptive help seeking (p<0.05). Additionally, students who did not trust lecturers on personal issues were less likely to seek the tutors’ help on academic matters (p=0.016).On binary logistic regression, students who felt that seeking help was a sign of weakness were significantly less likely to be adaptive help-seekers (B-1.700, OR=0.183, p=0.010, 95% CI=0.050-0.671). However, a respondent who perceived the classmate as respectful and approachable was four times more likely to seek the peer’s help compared to those who felt otherwise (B=1.435, OR=4.202, p=0.041, 95% CI=1.064-16.592). The study concludes that personal and environmental factors are significant predictors of adaptive help seeking behavior of student nurses in KMTC Nairobi. The research recommends that institutions encourage students to remain respectful and approachable; to treat peers as people of equal worth; and that seeking help is not a sign of weakness. Moreover, schools should explore ways of increasing help seeking from lecturers, especially in their offices; as well as on personal issues. Additional studies be conducted on the origin and influence of students’ self-reliance inclinations on source of help seeking.