Background to the Study

Schools, colleges and universities have no worth without students. Pitt, Powis, Jones and Hunter (2012) explains that students are most essential assets for any educational institute as the social and economic development of the country is directly linked with student academic achievement. The students’ academic achievement plays an important role in producing the best quality graduates who will become great leaders and manpower for the country, thus responsible for the country’s health indices, economy and social development. Nursing education should be taken as an important aspect of healthcare provision, by ensuring nurses with the right training and characters are produced to provide the necessary healthcare. The need for achievement motivation is significant for their academic accomplishment. College life can be stressful, it is one of the most unforgettable experiences in one’s life, and the higher the level the more difficult the lessons encountered. Over the past year, Goff (2009) reported that the academic and clinical performance of students at the nursing college has been poor. Given the growing trends in disease state in population, and at the same time, a more complex, rapidly-changing, and acutely-ill health care environment requires nursing graduates to possess higher levels of knowledge and improved clinical judgment.


Nursing is a challenging profession that tends to attract self-motivated, lifelong learners. Qalawa, Shahin, Hassan and Gaballa (2015) argue that a nurse’s education never ends, because of the need to stay in progress on health care issues and changes in medical theory and practice. Beauvais, Stewart, DeNisco and Beauvais (2013) agree that qualified prepared nurses will be needed in order to achieve this goal and Singh (2011) concludes that one of the most important factors that lead to student nurses academic accomplishments is the need for achievement motivation. Onete, Edet, Udey and Ogbor (2012) suggests that high need achievement motivated students are constantly competing with standards of excellence and that the most important single ingredient in achievement motivation is a feeling of self-directed competence, which is influence by the need for achievement, the probability of success and the incentive value of success. Nursing student’s goal according to Al-Saleh, Al-Madi, Al-Angari and Shukrie (2010) is to have good grades in all professional, major and minor subjects and do well in chosen field as reflected in the performance during duties. Passing the Nursing licensure examination could be considered as one of the motivation of the nursing student since having the title as, a Registered Nurse would pay it all, regarding the sleepless nights, time consuming and energy wasting long requirements, the ever enervating duties and expensive tuition. Nursing students with the need for achievement in clinical settings must have an appropriate professional behaviour, establish an appropriate interaction with the patients, prioritize the problems, have the basic knowledge about clinical methods, perform the care procedures correctly, and apply critical thinking.


Hendricson (2015) believes that need achievement motivation is a society related factor and has the highest relationship with, and is the most valid prediction of students’ academic performance. Hamid, Faroukh, and Mohammadhosein (2015) agreed that the desire for a high level of achievement puts a lot of pressure on students, teachers, and schools and in general the educational system itself. The proved is no more a denying fact that the whole system of education revolves round the academic achievement of students, though various other outcomes are also expected from the system.  For every student there is a variable driving force, in fact, it is not just a single factor, but a combination of factors that lead students to achieve their goals (Badola, 2013). The connections between cognitive strategies, the motivational dimension and need achievement are multidirectional and complex. Qalawa, Shahin, Hassan and Gaballa (2015) argues that although learning involves individual cognitive and emotional processes, students’ motivation is also significantly influenced by a supportive network of relationships such as students’ personal characteristics, social relationship, finance, school adjustment and family background. They conclude that the likelihood that students will be motivated and engaged in school is increased to the extent that they perceive their teachers, family, and friends as supportive. Singh (2011) highlight that students high in academic motivation are more likely to have increased levels of academic achievement and have lower dropout rates and those low in academic motivation have higher dropout rates. Students are more likely to show higher achievement motivation when they felt the need to conform to external standards of excellence, typically imposed by their parents, the surrounding culture or profession.


The problems facing today’s students, particularly those with behavioural and emotional problems, are innumerable and daunting (Ricker & Nicolino, 2011). Some of the problems that students often raised as documented by Heckman, Lim and Montalto (2014) are psychosocial such as problems with anxiety and stress, depression, loneliness, adjusting to a new culture, homesickness. Ebrahim, Rady, Lamia and El-Sayed (2015) added that students face numerous stressors in addition to academic demands that contribute to the low academic need achievement such as increased freedoms, decision making, and challenging family beliefs and by engaging in risky behaviours, or pressure to do well. Many nursing students as reported by Shakya, Lama, Shrestha, Pandey, Shyangwa and Deo (2013) suffer from psychological problems and experience the stress, common stressor being related with nursing education. Finn (2010) argues that perceived students’ problems have a daunting influence on motivation and determined the motive for success, the probability of success and the incentive value of success. It is the challenging aspects of academic literature because students’ academic achievement is affected by social, psychological, economic, environmental and personal problems which strongly influence the students’ need for academic achievement motivation. Psychological problems have been shown to occur among college students at study time or examination times and in relation to entering school, also in relation to important events in the student’s personal and family life (Nsereko, Musisi, Nakigudde & Sekiwu, 2014). Social factors in academic achievement are relevant because of their detrimental impact to the student’s abilities to socialize and achieve academically. Lieutenant and Ghesquiere (2013) believe that the combinations of social and personal factors are important to increase the students’ motivation for learning and hard working. The stress students have over paying for college according to Groux (2012) affects them in many ways, but it is particularly apparent in their academic achievements. The amount of support and stability offered at home can have a big impact on how students achieve in school (Kumari and Chamundeswari, 2013). Though schools invested in fostering good academic habits, are often influenced by concerns about monetary aid from government institutions, which can hinge on the overall academic performance and the goal attainments of the school (Reed, 2010).


Academic achievement appears to be a problem, not only at nursing colleges, but at all academic institutions. The quality of students’ performance remains a top priority for educators therefore; it is important to have a clear understanding of what benefits or hinders students’ educational achievement. The study on perceived problems and academic need achievement motivation among student nurses is relevant because of their detrimental impact to the nursing students’ abilities to socialize and achieve academically. In this study, attention was specifically given towards five main areas of the nursing students perceived problems domain; students’ personal psychological problems, social relationship problems, financial problems, family problems and school adjustment problems. These areas were chosen among other specific domains because of their high value for students with academic problems, and their role in the enhancement of academic achievement.


Statement of the Problem



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