A National Study of Support Programs (Efforts) in Baccalaureate and Associate Degree Nursing Programs to Enhance Retention and Success of Students


Nursing Associate degree; Nursing; Nursing school dropouts; Nursing students


The purposes of this descriptive study were to identify and describe criteria used to identify students at-risk for withdrawal or failure, and strategies in place to assist and retain students. Data were collected regarding admission policies, retention strategies, assistance programs, and perceptions of the administrators regarding the effectiveness of retention and assistance strategies. A survey method of data collection was conducted using an instrument developed by the researcher for the study. A stratified random sample of 156 NLNAC accredited associate and baccalaureate degree nursing programs was carried out and program administrators were sent the survey for voluntary, anonymous participation. The study sample consisted of the 57 programs whose surveys were returned.

Retention/ Assistance Programs. Similar percentages of associate and baccalaureate degree programs reported having retention/assistance programs. Programs were found more prevalent at private, secular institutions; at smaller programs; and in the Central region. A Pearson correlation determined no relationship between the existence of an organized assistance program with NCLEX-RN pass rate or retention rate. Retention/Assistance Strategies. Strategies reported available in the nursing program most often were academic advising of nursing and pre-nursing students, academic assistance in the form of a skills lab and computer access, and early notification to students when they are failing. Comparison of the mean NCLEX-RN pass rate and the mean retention rate with 29 strategies was conducted using Pearson correlation coefficients. Analysis determined a positive and statistically significant relationship between pass rate on NCLEX-RN and the presence and perceived effect of a cultural diversity program, grading options, and early notification to students when they are failing. Positive, statistically significant relationships were determined between retention rates and the presence and perceived effect of childcare, academic advising of nursing and pre-nursing students, early notification to students when they are failing, and faculty office hours.

Administrators' Perceptions. Program administrators perceived the strategies financial aid, academic assistance to reinforce course content, academic advising of nursing students, and faculty mentors to have the greatest effect on student retention. Additional survey responses revealed a strong academic background and financial aid were strategies reported by administrators to affect both success and failure. Advising, orientation, and academic preparation were ranked by administrators as the top factors contributing to student retention and success. They ranked academic/cognitive variables and outside responsibilities as the top factors leading to student withdrawal or failure.


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Graduation Date





Kysilka, Marcella


Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


College of Education


Educational Foundations




138 p.



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Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)




Dissertations, Academic -- Education; Education -- Dissertations, Academic

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