Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Human Resource Education and Workforce Development

Document Type



Registered Nurses comprise the largest group of healthcare professionals in the United States, and forecasts predict a nursing shortage of epic proportions on the horizon. Significant factors include approaching retirement of Baby Boomer RNs, increased demand for care for aging Baby Boomers in the population, approaching retirement of nurse educators, and rejection of qualified applicants secondary to enrollment restrictions in nursing programs. Nursing student attrition further contributes to the pending shortage. Successful retention programs promote best-practice utilization of scarce resources. Understanding student characteristics serves as a basis for effective selection and retention programs. This study described characteristics of nursing students in a diploma nursing program in the southern United States who graduated within the expected program length; a time frame non-inclusive of completion of 25 credit hours of specified prerequisite general education courses. Using secondary data from students enrolled between January 1998 and January 2008 yielded outcome data for cohorts graduating between December 1999 and December 2009 (or are projected to graduate in December 2010). This 11-year sample allowed description of students and graduates on demographic characteristics of age, race, gender, marital status during program enrollment, and number children. Further, program admission criteria required completion of the Nurse Entrance Test (NET®) with required minimum critical thinking scores for main idea of passage, inferential reading and predicting outcomes and a minimum composite percentile. Graduates are described according to NET® components, GPA for prerequisite courses and a program predictive GPA for specified prerequisite courses. The study describes the program Non-completers on academic and demographic characteristics and withdrawal factors. Further, comparison was made between program Completers and Non-completers. This comparison of admission criteria between the groups yielded statistically significant differences between the groups and provided support for admissions criteria utilized by the Admissions and Selections Committee. Comparison of retention among students experiencing interruption in enrollment was made using the same admission criteria. Admission criteria did not yield statistically significant differences between the groups. This lends support to the admission criteria being significant to overall selection; however, following readmission, unidentified variables may have a greater influence on the student’s ultimate retention in the program.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Machtmes, Krisanna