Moving Beyond Holistic Admission to Implementing Success Strategies for Culturally Diverse, Second-Degree BSN Students

Monday, 30 October 2017

Terry Kirk, EdD
Patricia K. Schrader, MSN
College of Nursing, University of Houston, Sugar Land, TX, USA

Moving beyond holistic admission to implementing success strategies for culturally diverse second degree BSN students.


Global health is the ultimate desire for healthcare providers everywhere; yet, if such a goal is to be realized it is important for nurse educators to challenge diverse student populations to lead and impact change. The purpose of this study was to identify strategies used to improve or maintain student outcomes among a culturally diverse student population. The objective of the study were to improve outcomes such as retention rates (AACN, 2013), first time pass rates on the NCLEX-RN®, and employment rates. The College of Nursing is a recent recipient of the 2016 Health Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) award. The faculty’s goal was to utilize cohort specific data to move beyond the holistic admission process to implement strategies to better prepare minority students with the means to succeed beyond nursing school (Allan, 2010; Zheng, Everett, Glew & Salamonson, 2014). Data collected from students included demographic data, previous degrees, work experiences, learning styles, support system, cultural background, and test anxiety. Faculty utilized aggregate data to identify risk factors for attrition within the first two months of school, provide referrals to explore needed resources, and assist students incorporate holistic strategies to address student learning challenges (Newton, Pront & Giles, 2016) and promote student success. Jean Watson’s theoretical framework proved beneficial in creating a sense of community among the students and selecting strategies that conveyed both respect and dedication to students with varying cultural backgrounds. The importance of building a shared foundation with each cohort of students and faculty cannot be overstated if students are to succeed in the fast paced 12 month second degree BSN program. Results of the study demonstrated success in acknowledging student differences, significant improvements in retention rates (> 80%), NCLEX-RN® pass rates among first time test takers (100% for 2 years), and employments rates (> 96%) among a student body that is 62.6 percent diverse, representing American Indians (3.4 percent), Asians (21.1 percent), Hispanics (23.7 percent), and African American (14.4 percent) (Lightfoot & Quintana, 2017). The presenters will reveal results including themes identified by students as helpful and obstacles to student success. Data on productive strategies to consider as well as a list of challenges to avoid if desiring to improve successful outcomes among culturally diverse students.