Predictors of Students’ Performance in Nursing and Midwifery Technician Licensure Examination in Southern Malawi

Mc Geofrey Mvula1,2, Annie Msosa1

  1. Kamuzu University of Health Sciences, Lilongwe, Malawi.
  2. Partners in Health, Neno, Malawi.

Corresponding Authors: Mc Geofrey Mvula; E-mail:



Success in the nursing and midwifery licensure examination is the only legal prerequisite to practice as a nurse and midwife in Malawi. However, the past decade has registered poor performance of students in Nursing and Midwifery Technician (NMT) licensure examinations for candidates who failed on the first attempt. The study sought to unravel whether students’ socio-demographic and academic characteristics could predict NMT licensure examination performance on the first attempt.


We conducted a quantitative ex post facto using stratified random sampling. We reviewed 280 former NMT licensure exam candidate records from 2013 to 2017 with a study population of 2,668 NMTs. We reported descriptive statistics and used Chi-square / Fisher’s exact test and logistic regression to determine the significance of associations and predictors respectively.


We found that the NMT licensure examination could be predicted by students’ academic characteristics, especially entry Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE) point scores [p < 0.001, OR 0.830, 95% CI (0.771-0.892)], and exit college final scores [p < 0.001, OR 1.214, 95% CI (1.131-1.303)]. We established that students’ socio-demographic characteristics like age [χ2 (2, N =280) =13.143, p < 0.001], and marital status [χ2 (1, N = 280) = 5.645, p = 0.018] were significantly associated with NMT licensure examination performance but were not predictors of NMT licensure examination outcome. Furthermore, we did not find any association between NMT licensure examination performance and the sex of the students [χ2 (1, N = 280) = 0.523, p = 0.470].


NMT licensure examinations performance predictors are academic variables like entry MSCE and exit college final scores. Consequently, teaching institutions should frame relevant admission criteria, and timely support the students at risk of failure in licensure exams.

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