Date of Defense


Date of Graduation




First Advisor

Elissa Allen

Second Advisor

Dawn Smith


Nursing students, bladder health, nurse's bladder, nurse


Purpose and Background/Significance: Lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) are more prevalent among female nurses than the general female public. Previous studies have identified nursing duties as detracting from nurses abilities to use the bathroom in conjunction with need, thus causing them to engage in delayed voiding. Whether or not these behaviors begin in nursing school remain unclear. The aim of this study was to identify whether or not delayed voiding occurred during clinical shifts in nursing school, and the frequency with which nursing students took breaks.

Theoretical/conceptual framework: The Life Course Theory was used to guide the development of this study, as its concepts include bathroom environment, access, and habits relevant to nursing students during clinical shifts.

Method: A quantitative survey was created to determine frequency of bathroom use, number of breaks, and availability of bathrooms during clinical shifts. Nursing students in clinicals ranging from 8-12 hours per shift were included. Surveys were completed at the end of clinical shifts to aid in memory recall. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyze the data, including means, frequencies, and ANOVA.

Results: Sixty-six nursing students were included in analysis from four different semesters, with 64.6% (n=42) stating they almost always hold their urine longer than they’d like due to nursing duties. Students earlier in the program were less likely to use the bathroom than those closer to graduation. Nursing students further along in the program also were more likely to take their breaks and use the bathroom more frequently. There was a statistically significant (p= 0.004) difference in the number of bathroom breaks that students took, with senior students voiding twice as much as newer students.

Conclusions: Nursing students engaged in delayed voiding behaviors similar to rates in the general nursing population. Senior nursing students took more breaks and voided more frequently than newer students. Reasons for this may be related to the increased length of nursing shifts or increased confidence in taking assigned breaks. Additional studies to understand student nurse comfort levels taking breaks are warranted.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Restricted