Factors that Predict Academic Success in a Baccalaureate Nursing Program

Tuesday, 8 July 2008: 1:35 PM
Laurie Murray, DSN, RN , Nursing Department, Cedar Crest College, Allentown, PA
Wendy J. Waldspurger Robb, PhD, RN, CNE , Nursing Department, Cedar Crest College, Allentown, PA
Mae Ann Pasquale , Nursing, Cedar Crest College, Allentown, PA
Thomas Wasser, PhD, MEd , Nursing Department, Cedar Crest College, Macungie, PA

Learning Objective 1: be able to identify the factors that predict academic success for students in a baccalaureate nursing program.

Learning Objective 2: understand the impact of the results on the process of admission, retention and remediation.

Successful completion of the nursing program is not only paramount to the student but also is in the best interest of higher learning institutions. This study was performed in an effort to identify pre-matriculation factors that would correlate with academic success in the baccalaureate nursing program at our college.

Demographic data (gender, age, race, marital status, hours worked, and employment status) and grade point averages (GPAs) for nursing prerequisites as well as for course groups (English, mathematics, etc) were retrospectively collected on 209 baccalaureate nursing students. Additionally, a Personal Stress Inventory which included sub-scales for health, work, social/personal life, home life and personal finances was given to the sample for completion. Data analysis was performed using multivariate linear regression with stepwise backward entry criteria determined by Wald statistic. The dependent variable was the nursing program GPA.

Significant predictors of nursing academic success were GPA on entry-level English courses (p=0.001), GPA on entry-level psychology courses (p<0.011) and lack of stress regarding personal and social areas (p=0.071). This model had the highest R-squared statistic (R2=0.855). Other demographic factors did not play a significant role in determination of nursing GPA, but the most significant was the difference in working status between students that were employed part-time or full-time workers (p=0.122). Other variables such as marital

status, gender, and GPA in other areas were not statistically significant.

A fundamental knowledge and understanding of English was identified as the most important factor in determining success in a baccalaureate nursing program at our institution. Students must be able to instantly incorporate readings and lectures into practices and principles. Struggles with the English language may prevent complete comprehension of nursing concepts. Interestingly, scientific GPA in areas such as biology and chemistry were not significant predictors of nursing program success.