When Diversity Comes to a College of Nursing

Tuesday, 14 July 2009: 8:50 AM

Martha Spies, PhD, RN, CNE
Chamberlain College of Nursing, St. Louis, MO
Pamela Willson, RN, PhD, FNP, BC
Elsevier Review and Testing, Elsevier Publishing, Houston, TX
Carol Lightner, PhD, RN
Chamberlain College of Nursing, Columbu, OH

Learning Objective 1: recognize the effect of changes in characteristics of applicants to a college of nursing on the admissions process.

Learning Objective 2: evaluate the effectiveness of an admission matrix on admissions decisions.

Purpose: Determine the consistency with which an admissions matrix is applied to an applicant pool of changing ethnic makeup to a school of nursing.

Methods: Recently Chamberlain College of Nursing has grown to four campuses spanning three time zones. Additionally, the St. Louis area became more ethnically diverse reflected in the applicant pool. In order to provide the basis for a more consistent admission process across all the campuses, an admission matrix was developed. The components include a standardized test grade point average (college or high school), a written essay, and grades in pre-requisite courses. Because of the changing composition of the applicant pool, it is important that the admission matrix be valid (admits students who have the potential for success in a rigorous nursing program) and reliable (consistently applied across all applicants). Correlations between the basic components of the matrix and the admission decisions for 166 applicants were determined.

Results: Significant correlations were found between the subtotal and total scores on the matrix and admission decisions. Inconsistencies in applying the matrix criteria were discovered. Subscores on the admissions matrix between 1 and 3, for example, were almost equally likely to result in admission as deny decisions. Scores on the standardized admission test, although significantly correlated to the admission decision, were inconsistently applied. Cumulative GPAs (college or high school) were not significantly correlated to admission decisions.

Conclusion: This information will be used to help the admissions committee make more consistent decisions for a culturally diverse population of applicants. A longitudinal study is planned to determine the validity of the matrix in predicting students who are successful in the nursing program as well as to identify students who can be successful when provided with appropriate resources.