Date of Award

Fall 2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Foundations & Leadership

Committee Director

Dana D. Burnett

Committee Member

Mitchell R. Williams

Committee Member

Rebekah F. Cole


This qualitative research study explored those experiences that influenced associate degree in nursing (ADN) graduates’ decisions to pursue a bachelor of science in nursing degree (BSN) after they had graduated from a two year nursing program at a state community college in a Southeast region state. The research design used was phenomenological research tradition, using semi-structured interviews to identify participants’ experiences, and Moustakas’ phenomenal data analysis to analyze the collected narrative data to determine themes from the acquired experiences. ADN registered nurses (RN) who had graduated from a specific state community college nursing program participated in this study. Life experiences involving long term interactions with family, work and academic peers, academic institutions, and workplace were significant in leading the participants to successfully enroll in an RN to BSN program. The cumulative effect of the experiences of family, from parents in childhood to raising children in adulthood was found to have most significant influence on ADN graduates’ decisions to pursue a BSN.