Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Human Resource Education and Workforce Development

Document Type



Entry level into the practice of registered nursing has been a controversial topic in the profession of nursing since the American Nurses Association (ANA) Position Statement in 1965, which stated that entry level into practice should be at the baccalaureate degree level. The oldest and most traditional type of nursing program is the diploma nursing program. Diploma nursing programs have proven to score at or above the national mean on the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) required by all nursing graduates to pass to obtain licensure for the practice of nursing, regardless of educational preparation. The purpose of this study was to explore and determine what factors make diploma nursing programs successful in the U.S. Based on a review of the literature, extensive information exists on predicting student success on the NCLEX-RN, but very little information exists on program success. Faculties of nursing programs are intricately involved with students and with the program and are uniquely qualified to determine these factors. The Diploma Nursing Program Success Survey, a 42-item questionnaire based on a four-point Likert-type scale, was developed and administered online to 446 faculty members of National League for Nursing Accreditation Committee (NLNAC) accredited diploma nursing programs in the U. S. One hundred ninety diploma nursing faculty participated in the study. Factor analysis identified five factors that determined success among diploma nursing programs labeled as: 1) clinical and faculty experiences, 2) instructors’ years of experience, 3) critical thinking skills, 4) small classes and low faculty-student ratio, and 5) admission criteria. Multiple regression analysis revealed “average number of graduates per year” and “average number of clinical hours in acute care setting per course” as strong predictors of diploma program success predicting 15% of the variance. In addition, seven emerging themes were identified from the question, “What do you think contributes to diploma nursing program success?” These themes were: 1) faculty-student relationship/individualized attention/close relationships/mentoring, 2) increased clinical time, 3) small class size/low faculty-to-student ratio, 4) faculty commitment/dedicated instructors, 5) application of theory into practice, 6) enhancing critical thinking, and 7) same instruction in classroom and clinical.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Machtmes, Krisanna