Open Access
Service, Tabitha Anderson
Graduate Program:
Workforce Education and Development
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
September 29, 2008
Committee Members:
  • Edgar I Farmer Sr., Dissertation Advisor
  • Edgar I Farmer Sr., Committee Chair
  • Judith Ann Kolb, Committee Member
  • Mona M Counts, Committee Member
  • Edgar Paul Yoder, Committee Member
  • Nursing
  • Persistence
  • ADN
  • Student attrition
ABSTRACT The purpose of this study was to identify the predictors of persistence among students who successfully completed the requirements for associate degree nursing programs in the Lone Star Community College System. The Bean and Metzner model of nontraditional undergraduate student attrition provided the underlying theoretical framework for this study. Subjects were a convenience sample of 215 nursing students aged 18 to 59 years old (M = 31.54) who had enrolled in the ADN programs offered by the five colleges in the college system in 2004. Research questions explored the relationships among demographic, financial, and academic variables, and program completion. A data collection sheet was designed to facilitate the systematic collection of data for each student in the study. Data were gathered, abstracted, or computed from several sources. Information was obtained from individual student files, class records, college transcripts, and institutional records. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, Chi-square, t-tests, and backward stepwise logistic regression. Race/ethnicity, financial aid, cumulative pre-requisite grade point average, combined with HESI math and reading comprehension scores, English, psychology, and biology grades were shown to significantly predict the successful completion of the ADN program. Students of White-Non-Hispanic origin were more likely than students of a different race/ethnicity to successfully complete the nursing program. Students who successfully completed the nursing program had higher scores on both components of the HESI test, higher academic GPAs for all courses, and higher cumulative pre-requisite grade point averages than students who did not complete the program. Furthermore, students who received some form of financial aid were more likely to successfully complete the nursing program than were students who had not received financial assistance. Cumulative pre-requisite grade point average, HESI reading comprehension score, and Biology 2402 GPA predicted program completion. Cumulative pre-requisite grade point average was the strongest predictor of program completion. Based on study results, administrators and faculty should work together to design and implement an institution-specific comprehensive retention plan with suitable interventions. Further research could build on study findings by replicating this research as closely as possible, controlling for other environmental factors such as family responsibilities, employment status, and social support.