Date of Degree

2-2020

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

Nursing

Advisor

Marianne R. Jeffreys

Committee Members

Arlene T. Farren

Barbara DiCicco-Bloom

Anthony G. Picciano

Elizabeth Harrison

Subject Categories

Academic Advising | Higher Education | Nursing

Keywords

Nursing Student Retention, Nursing Faculty Advisement, Nursing Student Professional and Social Integration

Abstract

The retention and success of nursing students are essential to address the expected growth in demand for healthcare services. By focusing on success, rather than remediation, nursing students are empowered to reach their full potential. Nursing faculty advisement and helpfulness are essential components of nursing student retention. Guided by the Jeffreys Nursing Universal Retention and Success (NURS) conceptual model, this quantitative descriptive multi-site research study appraised first-semester associate degree nursing (ADN) students’ perceptions of nursing faculty advisement and helpfulness and the restrictiveness or supportiveness of other variables as they related to course completion. Jeffreys Student Perception Appraisal-Revised (SPA-R2) tool was used to determine the extent to which first-semester associate degree nursing students perceived environmental factors (EF), professional integration factors (PIF), and faculty advisement and helpfulness restricted or supported course retention and success. Harrison’s Faculty Advisement Evaluation Questionnaire (FAEQ) was utilized to determine which faculty advisor characteristics were present and helpful during advisement.

Analysis of the five research questions established that support by faculty, friends, and family was the key determinant of first semester nursing students’ ability to remain in the nursing course. In contrast, employment and financial factors were perceived as the most restrictive. The exploratory factor analysis indicated that students felt more supported by PIF than EF. These findings underscore the importance of nurse educators’ power to positively affect student retention practices and promote academic success despite having little influence over environmental factors. Consequently, most students “completely agreed” that effective faculty advisors possessed good knowledge of the advising process, had a pleasant personality, and were available for students. They were less likely to agree that advocacy and accountability characteristics were present in their advisors. Furthermore, in examining the relationship between perceived faculty advisement and helpfulness and specific effective advisor characteristics, the results confirmed that when students perceived that effective advisor characteristics were present, they also perceived faculty advisement and helpfulness as greatly supportive of their ability to remain in the course.

Finally, the study explored the inter-relationship between EF and PIF with demographic variables and specific advisor characteristics. For both the bivariate correlations, and the regression analysis, participation in college activities had the highest positive relationship to both EF and PIF. These results implied that students who perceived EF and PIF to be supportive also participated in more college activities. The utilization of NURS model, the SPA-R2, and FAEQ instruments found that nursing students’ retention were influenced by the interactions of multiple variables which all contributed to the students’ achievement and success.

Time was a common theme in this study in relation to the availability of advisors, the negative impact of employment hours on course retention, and students’ ability to participate in college activities. Therefore, strategies to optimize “time” such as flexible and compatible scheduling of courses, clinical experiences, advisement hours, and student support services and the development of hybrid/blended courses inclusive of advisement and support services may be of benefit.

The study demonstrated that the utilization of the NURS model and its corresponding SPA-R2 instrument can assist to direct future research and focus educational strategies to support student nurses, through a multidimensional approach to student retention and success. The FAEQ instrument can identify specific characteristics or qualities within the advisor role that influenced or were desired by students; this can be used in future studies to assess academic advisors’ effectiveness and individual faculty members’ strengths and weaknesses - a necessary step to enable advisors to support the professional growth and development of the nursing students. Consequently, this study fills a gap in the literature by providing additional educational research on how faculty advisement and helpfulness can positively or negatively affect the retention and success of first semester ADN students.

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