Date of Award

Fall 10-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Dr. Rhonda Bishop

Second Advisor

Dr. Sherry DeVore

Third Advisor

Dr. Lance Renner


Student retention is important to higher education institutions (Shoemake, 2017). Nursing programs strive to choose admission criteria which identify students who show the best chance of successfully completing the program and passing the National Council Licensure Examination (Bremner, Blake, Long, & Yanosky, 2014; Chen, Heiny, & Lin, 2014; Knauss & Wilson, 2013). The crisis of a nursing shortage, compounded by the void retiring nurses place on healthcare industries, creates the need for nursing programs to graduate more qualified nurses (Kubec, 2017; Mooring, 2016). The purpose of this mixed-methods study was to investigate factors which influenced completion of a practical nursing program. Quantitative data included admission and demographic criteria. These data were analyzed to identify if differences existed when compared to program outcomes including completion and licensure. A statistically significant difference was found in both program completion and first time passage of licensure exam rates between practical nursing students who held healthcare certification and practical nursing students who did not hold a healthcare certification, with the former group completing the program at a higher rate. To address the quantitative phase of the study, interview questions were constructed using Jeffrey’s (2015) nursing universal retention and success model. Then, responses to the questions were obtained from a student focus group of six currently enrolled students. Following an analysis of the qualitative data, two themes emerged: theory and practice and navigating the journey. Based on findings, further research of nursing program completion and licensure is recommended to assist recruitment, application, and programming practices of academic institutions.


Copyright 2018