I Want to Be a Nurse!: A Qualitative Descriptive Study On the Impact of an Introduction to Nursing Course

Tuesday, 13 July 2010: 3:45 PM

Michelle L. Edmonds, PhD, ARNP-BC, CEN
School of Nursing, Jacksonville University, Jacksonville, FL

Learning Objective 1: verbalize 3 benefits for the student participating in an "Introduction to Nursing" course.

Learning Objective 2: verbalize 3 benefits for the nursing school offering an "Introduction to Nursing" course.

Purpose: Professors teaching at the sophomore entrance level in nursing experienced a few students each year that would drop nursing as a major within the first few weeks of the first semester.  Reasons for this attrition included not appreciating the magnitude of being a nursing major, or simply deciding it was not an appropriate career choice.  This attrition, not attributable to course failure, resulted in qualified and motivated students not receiving a position in the nursing program and was unrecoverable.  

Methods: The study's methodology followed the principles of qualitative descriptive inquiry.  Students having completed the "Introduction to Nursing" course in 2007 and 2008 and were later admitted as a nursing student were invited to participate.  Eight participants completed audio taped interviews. Transcribed data was analyzed for emerging themes by a constant comparative method. 

Results:  Participants' experiences were summarized into 3 themes: orienting, connecting, and validating.  Orienting was expressed as the participant becoming familiar with the expectations of the nursing major through the guidance they received from nursing faculty and senior students.  Further orientation to the caliber of work expected of a nursing student was achieved by completing similar assignments.  Connecting was accomplished through meeting other students who would become their peers in the nursing major.  Participants also connected with nursing faculty and students by meeting them prior to entering the nursing major.  Finally, validating came at the conclusion of the experience when students firmly decided on their intended major of nursing. 

Conclusion:   These research findings provide implications for nursing student retention.  If students are permitted to preview the work required and gain a strong understanding of the profession, they are more committed from the beginning.  This course also provided a support mechanism in the form of peers, upper-level nursing students, and nursing faculty which was instrumental in the success of the participant.