Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Education

Document Type




Re-defining different is the first step in addressing inequity in nursing education and the disparities that result in a high incidence of academic dismissal in baccalaureate nursing programs. What are the students' differences that contribute to one student’s ease of progression through a baccalaureate nursing program and those who struggle from the first semester?

This study provides a private look into the experiences of nine baccalaureate nursing students who were academically dismissed from their nursing program. Each story chronological from the time they decided to pursue nursing to their experiences during nursing school and to their lives after dismissal. For this qualitative narrative inquiry, the experiences of the nine diverse participants from three different universities in the South were individually and then collectively considered as relevant contributors to poor academic outcomes. Common themes emerged across the narratives that addressed social, cultural, and institutional contributors to academic failure and were analyzed with Critical Pedagogy as the theoretical framework.

The factors that contribute to student success and failure cannot be quantified into one specific box or rationalized with responsibility assigned solely to the student. Using the lens of Critical Pedagogy, this study encourages academia to look beyond the typical descriptors of difference and account for the social, cultural, and political positions that may contribute to a student’s struggle in their nursing program (Kincheloe, 2008).

The findings of this study suggest that intrinsic and extrinsic factors that contribute to one’s choice of pursuing nursing warrant consideration, including a student’s social and cultural position prior to admission. This study assists nursing program administrators in broadening the requirements for entrance into nursing programs to include not only quantitative criteria, but to allow for a holistic consideration of a student’s readiness for entrance into a baccalaureate nursing program.

Committee Chair

Skinner, Kim