Second-Time-Around: Baccalaureate Nursing Students' Experience with Reenrollment

Sunday, November 1, 2009

JoEllen Dattilo, RN, PhD
Julie D. Jones, RN, MSN, ND
Daphnee J. Stewart, RN, MS, PNP-BC
Georgia Baptist College of Nursing, Mercer University, Atlanta, GA

Learning Objective 1: appreciate the affective responses experienced by students who reenroll in clinical nursing courses.

Learning Objective 2: discuss several retention strategies designed for the success of the reenrolled student.

A great deal of attention has been directed toward the nursing shortage and the nursing faculty shortage. It has been well documented that the number of registered nurse vacancies in healthcare agencies is of critical concern. Furthermore, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) provides frequent updates about the high number of vacant faculty positions across the United States. Faculty vacancies, in turn, limit the number of students that can enroll in nursing programs. Those students that reenroll in the nursing curriculum are still counted in the total enrollment. The reenrolled student presents unique challenges and perspectives worthy of investigation. It may be of value to explore the perceptions of nursing students who have withdrawn or failed a clinical course who decided to reenroll in the same course one calendar year later when the course was again offered. Reenrolled students influence a program attrition, retention, and graduation rates. Their insights may prove useful to nursing faculty who struggle with these issues.

A descriptive phenomenological study was conducted which explored baccalaureate nursing students’ perceptions about the internal and external factors that influenced their decision to reenroll. After signing the informed consent, a convenience sample of students participated in audio-taped interviews. Five open-ended questions were posed about the reenrollment experience. Saturations was reached after eleven interviews. The van Manen procedural steps were used for data analysis. Four major themes and several sub themes emerged. 

The illumination of the lived experience of the reenrolled nursing student may provide suggestions for strategies which may facilitate student retention. Increased retention results in increased number of graduates and ultimately placing more nursing professionals in the workforce.