Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Degree Level





Gilmet, Kelsey

Committee Member/Reader

Ballentine, Hope


The aim of this study was to determine if the COVID-19 pandemic affected the health behaviors and feelings of career preparedness of undergraduate nursing students. Participants were recruited from the pre-licensure program at the Eleanor Mann School of Nursing, at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville during the Fall 2021 semester. The final sample consisted of 92 participants. This study used a cross-sectional design, retrospectively measuring behaviors and attitudes pre-pandemic and during the lockdown period. Two-tailed paired t-tests were run on the health behavior sections and feelings of career preparedness sections independently. Results were deemed significant with an alpha value set at 0.05. Participants reported feeling depressed and alone more often during quarantine. Students reported experiencing more panic attacks, more headaches, and more frequent consumption of alcohol during quarantine. The mental health of nursing students is important to consider as nurses are expected to be a model of health for their patients and provide their patients with quality care. Confidence in communication skills was less common during quarantine than before quarantine. Students had less confidence in their time management abilities and stamina as well as critical thinking and problem-solving abilities. During quarantine, participants reported an increase in feeling anxious about their future as a nurse and decreased satisfaction in choosing nursing as a profession. Qualitative data suggested that this was related to the burn out and overworking of nurses being placed in the public eye. Further research is needed in this area to determine if there is correlation between nursing student perception of burnout and nursing student retention.


nursing students, health behaviors, confidence, attitudes, Covid-19, pandemic, service learning