The influence of intimate partnerships on nurse student progression: An integrative literature review

Document Type

Journal Article


Churchill Livingstone


School of Exercise and Health Sciences




Originally published as: Andrew, L., Maslin-Prothero, S.E., Costello, L., Dare, J., Robinson, K. (2015). The influence of intimate partnerships on nurse student progression: An integrative literature review in Nurse Education Today, 35(12), 1212-1220. Available here.


Objective: To identify the best available evidence on the influence of intimate partnerships (marriage or de facto relationships) on nurse student progression. Background: Projections of future nursing workforce shortages have provided renewed impetus to study pre-registration nurse student progression. Factors external to the university are highly influential for non-traditional student groups such as nursing. As the average age of nurse students' rise, the influence of intimate partnerships requires investigation. Data Sources: An international integrative review was conducted in literature from 1990 to 2015 across a range of databases. Review Methods: A structured approach was used for data collection, analysis and evaluation, resulting in a selection of 17 international papers. Results: There were few common definitions, and little agreement regarding measurement of key factors and variables across the literature. Research into partnership influences on nurse student progression was minimal however findings across a range of disciplines revealed partner support as a principal influence; enabling or hindering the student's social and academic university involvement. Given that nursing is a highly feminised profession, the finding that support was less forthcoming from female students' male partners than vice versa was a particular concern. Women students reported challenging their partners' traditional domestic gender role expectations, which sometimes led, to relationship conflict and breakdown, further impeding their ability to progress. Conclusion: Lesser support from their male partners may have unwelcome implications for the progression of the increasing population of mature-age women nurse students. The comparatively few studies and their diversity limit the applicability of the review findings to current nurse education. With workforce sustainability threatened, studies directly investigating the influence of partnerships on nurse student progression are required, employing standardised and transparent terms and measurements.