Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Educational Leadership Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Tricia Browne-Ferrigno


In the realm of higher education, retention is a concept vital to the progression and security of all institutions. This remains true for all nursing programs as well because reports have shown an attrition rate as high as 50% in some nursing programs across the globe. Along with the nursing shortage projected in the next 20 years, retention in nursing programs poses a massive problem for not just higher education but healthcare as well. Therefore, it is important for nursing educators to understand the factors affecting student completion of a nursing program.

This two-phase, mixed-methods study sought to answer the overarching research question: What factors contribute to completion of the Southcentral Community and Technical College (SKYCTC) Practical Nursing (PN) program within three semesters? Since the majority of nursing programs utilize a selective admission process for accepting students, the first phase of the study gathered admission criteria on six cohorts of students accepted into the SKYCTC PN program from August 2008 through May 2015. This quantitative data was analyzed to determine if any of the admission criteria were related to completion of the program.

For the second phase, qualitative data was gathered through a focus group attended by 11 graduates of the SKYCTC PN program between August 2008 and May 2015. The purpose of the focus group was to gather environmental or academic influences that graduates attributed to their success in completing the program.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)