Subscribe to our Newsletter
The Caring Support Blog

Supporting Student Success in Healthcare Degree Programs

February 21, 2024

The academic success of students in healthcare degree programs significantly influences the recruitment of healthcare professionals, impacting the quality, competence, and reputation of the professionals entering the workforce. As such, it's important for universities offering healthcare degree programs to develop strategies to ensure the success of their students in medical and nursing education and other allied health programs.

In this article, we will explore what student success means in allied health care programs and discuss the predictors of student academic success. Additionally, I will provide suggestions on how educators can encourage and support student success in healthcare programs, such as medical school and nursing.

What Does Student Success in Allied Health Programs Mean?

Student success in allied health programs goes beyond simply earning good grades. It encompasses a holistic approach that focuses on the students' overall development and readiness for the healthcare profession. Success in healthcare programs means that students are equipped with the necessary knowledge, skills, and attitudes to excel in their future careers. It also includes their ability to adapt to the dynamic nature of the healthcare industry and contribute effectively to patient care.

Predictors of Student Academic Success in Allied Health Programs

Identifying and recognizing predictors of student academic success in allied health programs can help institutions in the selection and support of students, ultimately contributing to the academic success of students in allied health programs. Although such predictors may vary depending on the specific program and educational institution, here are some common predictors of student success:

A list summarizing predictors of student academic success in allied health programs.

Aptitude: Grade Average and Assessment Test Scores

One of the key predictors of student academic success in healthcare degree programs is their aptitude, which can be measured by their grade average and assessment test scores. This is also the most traditional way that educators gauge student success, even before entering their respective degree programs in the health sciences.

A high general grade average, for instance, indicates that students have a strong foundation in the core subjects of their program. Assessment test scores, such as the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) for medical students in both the United States and Canada, can also provide insights into students' cognitive abilities and their potential to succeed in the rigorous academic curriculum.

Non-Cognitive Predictors of Student Success

Non-cognitive predictors play a crucial role in determining student success in healthcare programs. They ensure that future healthcare professionals are not only academically proficient but also possess the essential qualities and attributes required for success in the healthcare field, which may be exhibited through volunteer work and other extracurricular activities.

These predictors, aside from student aptitude, are important to consider as they contribute to the holistic development of healthcare professionals, positively impacting patient care, teamwork, and the overall quality of healthcare delivery. Here are some non-cognitive predictors of student success in healthcare programs:


Grit, defined as perseverance and passion for long-term goals, plays a significant role in student success. In healthcare programs, students face numerous challenges, including demanding coursework, clinical rotations, and licensure exams. Those with grit are more likely to persist and overcome these challenges, demonstrating resilience and determination in their pursuit of success.


Perseverance goes hand in hand with grit and is a crucial predictor of student success in healthcare programs. Students who are willing to put in the necessary effort and work diligently are more likely to achieve their academic and professional goals. Encouraging perseverance in students can be done through mentorship, setting realistic expectations, and celebrating small victories along the way.


Self-efficacy, or the belief in one's ability to succeed, is another important factor in student success. When students have confidence in their own capabilities, they are more likely to take on challenges, seek out opportunities for growth, and persist in the face of setbacks. Educators can foster self-efficacy by providing constructive feedback, setting achievable goals, and creating a supportive learning environment.


Student success in healthcare programs also relies on their ability to self-regulate their learning and behaviour. Self-regulation involves managing one's time, staying focused, and having effective study habits. Educators can assist students in developing self-regulation skills by teaching them time management techniques, study strategies, and stress management techniques. These skills will benefit them not only academically but also in their future healthcare careers.

Suggestions to Encourage Student Success in Healthcare Programs

Encouraging student success in healthcare programs is important to produce competent and skilled professionals. Here are some suggestions to achieve this:

A list summarizing the suggestions to encourage student success in healthcare programs.

Create a Motivating and Supportive Learning Community

One of the most effective ways to support student success in programs within the health sciences is by creating a motivating and supportive learning community. This can be achieved through fostering positive relationships between students and educators, as well as among peers.

To facilitate this endeavour, it's important to provide the faculty with professional development training to make them proactive actors in the creation of a supportive learning environment for their current students.

Encouraging teamwork, collaboration, and open communication can enhance the students' learning experience and create a sense of belonging. Moreover, providing mentorship programs and peer support networks can offer additional guidance and encouragement for students.

Improve the Students' Quality of Life

Student success is not solely dependent on their academic achievements but also on their overall quality of life. Educators can support student success by addressing factors that may hinder their well-being, such as stress, financial hardships, and personal challenges. Offering resources for mental health support services, financial aid, and career counselling can alleviate some of these burdens and enable students to focus more effectively on their studies.

Develop a Curriculum Designed to Support Learning and Improve Student Outcome

A curriculum that reflects the latest industry standards and best practices ensures that students are well-prepared for their future roles in healthcare. Such a curriculum should provide opportunities for hands-on learning, critical thinking, and problem-solving. Additionally, incorporating real-world case studies, simulations, and interprofessional education can enhance the students' understanding and application of knowledge.

Similarly, developing a curriculum that is regularly reviewed and updated ensures that it remains relevant and responsive to the changing needs of the healthcare industry. Try integrating technology into the curriculum, such as virtual learning tools and electronic health record simulations, to prepare students for the digital landscape of modern healthcare practice.

Create a Teaching Strategy that Caters to Students' Different Learning Styles

Students have different learning styles and preferences. To maximize student success, educators should adopt a teaching strategy that accommodates these diverse learning needs. This can be achieved by incorporating a variety of teaching methods, such as lectures, discussions, group activities, and multimedia resources. Providing multiple avenues for learning allows students to engage with the material in ways that resonate with their individual learning styles.

Encourage Hands-On Experience for Students

Hands-on experience is invaluable for students in healthcare programs. Encouraging students to participate in clinical rotations, internships, and volunteer work provides them with opportunities to apply their theoretical knowledge in real-world settings. This hands-on experience not only enhances their understanding of the healthcare profession but also develops their critical thinking, problem-solving, and interpersonal skills.

Shift to Performance-Based Assessment

Traditional methods of assessment, such as exams and quizzes, may not fully capture the students' competence and readiness for the healthcare profession. Shifting to performance-based assessment methods, such as case-based scenarios, portfolios, and objective structured clinical examinations (OSCEs), can provide a more comprehensive evaluation of students' abilities. Performance-based assessments assess not only the students' knowledge but also their practical skills and professionalism.

Support student success in healthcare by partnering with Caring Support.

Caring Support: Helping Higher Education Institutions Support Student Success

Supporting student success in healthcare degree programs is a shared responsibility among educators, institutions, and students themselves. By implementing the suggestions outlined in this article, educators can create an environment that fosters student success and prepares them for a rewarding career in healthcare. Remember, student success is not solely defined by academic achievements but also by their personal growth, resilience, and readiness to contribute to the healthcare industry.

At Caring Support, we're committed to helping post-secondary institutions in Canada support their students throughout their career journey in the health care field. We help schools showcase themselves as compassionate universities that care for their career development and success, thus fostering persistence and encouraging retention, completion, and graduation rates of students in their healthcare programs. Contact us to learn more about how we can work together to empower the next generation of healthcare professionals.

About The Author
Cam Adajar
Content Writer

Find Your Dream Job Today!

Get updates from Caring Support

We'll keep you updated on all new application updates and features!

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.