Understanding and Reducing Student Departure at University of the District of Columbia

Thursday, 15 July 2010: 10:50 AM

Anne Marie Jean-Baptiste, BSN, MS, MSN
Nursing and Allied Health, University of the District of Columbia, Washington, DC

Learning Objective 1: Discuss two rationales for increasing nursing workforce by improving retention strategies in both pre-licensure programs of the nursing department.

Learning Objective 2: Identify three key components in a successful retention program model in the nursing department of the University of the District of Columbia.

Nursing schools are experiencing an increase in enrollment. However, students are done a disservice when there is a lack of strategies to retain them.  This report discusses student retention in the nursing program of the District of Columbia and presents a summary of findings from the university retention studies. After a brief overview of the challenge of student retention in the nursing program, the report assesses the weight of academic variables, college environment, financial factors, motivational, demographic, and personality variables associated with student attrition. The report describes the academic services and policies of a prototype retention program to provide support to all nursing students in the associate and baccalaureate programs. Central to the report is the integration of students into the life of the institution. Services include orientation, tutoring, advisement, progress monitoring, achievement awards, stress management, policies relate to readmissions, individual study, and remediation .Next, the report summarizes findings of term-to-term retention, within-term attrition, and course pass rates. A series of student retention indicators and strategies are then outlined, including the creation of a retention task force, the development of an orientation course for students, more control of student advisement services for probationary students, a retention workshop for faculty and administrators, and provision of academic credit for developmental courses. Finally, brief recommendations are provided for facilitating student achievement through computer-assisted screening and the use of learning-style assessment as an important tool for academic advisors as they seek to help improve the prospects of student success in key courses and provide students with viable options during course selection. The core of the report consists of data tables on student retention, pass, and withdrawal rates in the nursing department of UDC.

Reference: Yorke, M. (2007).Retention and Student Success in Higher Education.        McGraw –Hill Education, Bershire, England.