Becoming a nurse in Italy: a multi-method study on expenditures by families and students

Nurse Educ Today. 2012 Nov;32(8):e55-61. doi: 10.1016/j.nedt.2012.03.011. Epub 2012 Apr 13.


Potential nursing students and their families are faced with difficult decisions regarding the amount of time and money required to complete the nursing programme and the availability of funds to cover the costs and this seems to have received little no attention to date. With the aim of describing the costs incurred by Italian nursing students and/or their families per academic year and compare cost trends incurred from 2004-05 to 2010-11, a multi-centre qualitative/quantitative study design was adopted. Italian Nursing students attending the first, second and third academic years in 2004-05 and those attending the first, second and third academic years in 2010-11 were eligible. Five hundred and six students were involved: 215 (out of 300 eligible, 71.6%) attended the bachelor's degree in nursing in 2004-05 and 291 (out of 383 eligible, 75.9%) in 2010-11. On an annual basis, the average annual expenditures increased by 12% for nursing education from 2004-05 to 2010-11. Given that qualification as a nurse requires at least three years, and considering inflation, for a student who matriculated in 2005 an average of 2485.7€ per year (7457.0€ in total) was required. Data suggest that students have modified their spending behaviour (limiting lunches at public bars, buying books and photocopies) in order to handle the rise of non-discretionary costs, such as tuition fees and the costs of attending lectures and hospital/district trainings. Policies supporting nursing education in general and for those students who are motivated but unable to undertake the course for economic reasons are urgently needed.

MeSH terms

  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Education, Nursing, Baccalaureate / economics*
  • Family*
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Qualitative Research
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Students, Nursing*