Award Date

8-2010

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing

Department

Nursing

First Committee Member

Tish Smyer, Chair

Second Committee Member

Susan Kowalski

Third Committee Member

Nancy York

Graduate Faculty Representative

LeAnn Putney

Number of Pages

120

Abstract

By the year 2016, it is projected that a million new and replacement nurses will be needed throughout the United States. The traditional 4-year baccalaureate program alone cannot adequately sustain this demand. The immediacy of the current nursing shortage demands our educational systems respond by building and maintaining a workforce that is sufficient to support the health care needs of our society. In an attempt to meet this challenge, nursing schools around the country began exploring the option of creating accelerated programs for those who already possess a bachelor's degree in another field without compromising the integrity and quality of the education.

In addition, another emerging trend is to accelerate the pace of the traditional 4-year baccalaureate program with minimal curricular or programmatic changes. The majority of the students in the program are non-degreed and reflect the characteristics of entry-level, traditional nursing students. The accelerated pace reduces the traditional 24 months of completion, to 16 months. The curricular components remain steady, however the time between semesters is collapsed, which may have ramifications not yet identified. For the purpose of this research these programs are branded as Time Modified Traditional Programs (TMTP). Based on an extensive literature review, little to no information exists on the effect this accelerated pace might have on this student population.

The purpose of this phenomenological inquiry was to describe, interpret, and gain a deeper understanding of how non-degreed, traditional baccalaureate nursing students experience education in a Time Modified Traditional Program of study. Van Manen's six research activities of hermeneutic phenomenology guided this study. Colaizzi's 7-step method of data analysis operationalizes van Manen's approach and was utilized for analyzing the research data. The question guiding this study was: What is the meaning and significance of the lived experience of a non-degreed learner enrolled in a time modified traditional baccalaureate nursing program?

Ten participants voluntarily participated in this research. The findings of this research resulted in eight main themes and four subthemes that provide a thick, rich description of the phenomenon. Findings were validated through participant review and therefore, provide the fundamental structure of the essence of a TMTP--a pathway to professional identity. Understanding the meaning and significance of non-degreed learners enrolled in a time modified traditional baccalaureate nursing program has significant implications for nurse educators, nursing researchers, and future students in a TMTP. Time proved to be a noteworthy factor in the participant's experiences. Due to the intensity of the program and time requirements, students often become disengaged from their previous lifestyles and relationships. Building a strong support system with faculty and peers and taking personal accountability for learning contributes to the overall success of the program.

Keywords

Accelerated nursing program; Accelerated pace; Educational acceleration; Educational innovations; First-degree; Non-degreed learners; Nursing – Study and teaching (Higher); Nursing students; Time modified; Traditional nursing program

Disciplines

Curriculum and Instruction | Nursing

Language

English


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