The widening participation agenda has particular significance for worldwide nursing since it is a profession which is under increasing scrutiny in its recruitment and retention practices. Debate about this agenda within nurse education is strengthened by careful scrutiny of the research within the wider context of higher education, some of which challenges commonly held assumptions. This paper examines four areas of relevance to the UK widening participation agenda: disability, ethnicity, socioeconomic status and family responsibilities. Taken together, they indicate that nurse education operates within a particularly complex context with some important implications for the future design of pre-registration programmes. These complexities should be debated in depth by educational commissioners and providers, in tandem with regulatory bodies.
- Nursing education, widening participation, disability, ethnic group, socioeconomic group