Date of Award

Winter 2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Foundations & Leadership


Community College Leadership

Committee Director

Karen Sanzo

Committee Member

Mitchell Williams

Committee Member

Mary Beth Page


Nursing is facing a critical shortage and retention of nursing students is of paramount importance. Much research has been completed related to retention in nursing education and student success, but there is very little in current literature related to issues associated with the transition from high school to associate degree nursing (ADN) education. The purpose of this study was to explore this phenomenon through qualitative research involving ADN students who entered the nursing programs immediately after graduation from high school. This qualitative study involved students from a rural associate degree program. The intent was to provide a better understanding of factors that may contribute to students' success or lack of success in order to develop retention programs. Data was collected using interviews and focus groups; analysis was based on a thematic analysis approach. The major themes identified were academic self-confidence, academic preparedness, academic study skills, and time management with social life changes. The results implicated areas for improvement in both high school and community college student preparation and support.


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