Date of Award

Summer 2021

Document Type

Master's Project

Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


STEM Education & Professional Studies


Occupational and Technical Studies

Committee Director

Michael F. Kosloski, Jr.


Nurses have always been at the frontline of any disaster or health crisis to hit the country, yet, as the United States battled the coronavirus pandemic, the nation saw its nursing shortage worsen. The emotional and physical toll faced by frontline nurses often became unbearable, leading to a skyrocketing of occupational and facility turnover. Concern grew that the pandemic would have an impact on nursing students as well, particularly on the supply of new graduate nurses. Yet, even in the face of such hazardous working conditions, nursing students persisted in their academic studies. The purpose of this quantitative non-experimental study was to examine how the motivational sources and characteristics of students enrolled in a 4-year nursing program in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia related to their persistence in their field of study during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nursing students (n = 37) were surveyed using a 45-item questionnaire primarily based on the Motivation Sources Inventory (MSI) and the Fear of COVID-19 Scale (FCS). The questionnaire measured the key sources of motivation for the participants, their fear of COVID-19, and select demographic characteristics. The results of the study found no correlation between Fear of COVID and educational institution turnover (r = 0.110, p = 0.74), as well as no correlation between Fear of COVID and future occupational turnover intention (r = 0.075, p = 0.67). Additionally, while internal-self-concept was the highest ranked source of motivation, no relationship was found between it and nursing students’ plan to persist in their educational field of study (r = -0.076, p = 0.33).