Individualized Pathways to Success in Nursing

Monday, 7 July 2008
Vaneta M. Condon, RN, PhD , Undergraduate Nursing Program, Loma Linda University School of Nursing, Loma Linda, CA
Charlie Jo Morgan, PhD, RN , School of Nursing SLIPP, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA

Learning Objective 1: Two barriers to success in nursing

Learning Objective 2: Two interventions related to each identified barrier

Purpose: To assist nursing students in evaluating their progress toward setting and reaching individual goals related to factors that impact (influence) their success in nursing.

Theoretical Frameworks: Tinto's college student attrition/retention theory (1993) and Astins college student involvement theory (1985) are the theoretical frameworks used.

Background: Research by Vincent Tinto and Alexander Astin has shown that college students' attrition/retention is related to a number of factors. These include:

1.) Individual/background factors (determination, self-confidence, study habits etc.)

2.) Environment (study environment, encouragement from family, friends, classmates, and teachers)

3.) Involvement in social activities on campus (feeling of belonging, participation, leadership etc.)

4.) Involvement in academic activities on campus (class attendance, study group attendance/leadership etc.)

Method: A study by Condon (1996) with 770 participants from baccalaureate nursing programs in California identified factors which students prioritized as most important in either increasing or decreasing their academic success. The individualized pathways process was developed using the data from this study and findings from other research to categorize these factors on worksheets as 1) individual/background factors, 2) environmental factors, 3) social integration factors, 4) academic integration factors.

An academic advisor collaborated with an individual student to identify the student's strengths and the barriers to his/her success in nursing. Students then prioritized their goals and worked with the advisor to develop interventions and timelines to accomplish each goal. Regular meetings were scheduled to monitor progress, evaluate success and revise interventions and timelines as needed

Results: Formal evaluation on the effectiveness of the Individualized Pathways method is in progress. However, preliminary date indicate that students find the method to be very useful in meeting specific goals leading to success in nursing.

Objectives: The learner will be able to identify:

1. Two barriers to success in nursing

2. Two interventions related to each identified barrier