Relationships Between Hardiness, Stress, Perceived Social Support, Perceived Institutional Support and Progression of Minority Nursing Students in Master's in Nursing Programs

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Gloria F. Carr, PhD
School of Nursing, The University of Memphis, Memphis, TN

Learning Objective 1: Identify support needed for teaching and learning of diverse minority graduate nursing students

Learning Objective 2: Recognize the influence of diverse student perceptions about institutional and social support on teaching and learning

Purpose: This presentation describes challenges encountered in an ongoing, multisite, study which seeks to determine:  1) relationships between hardiness, stress, perceived institutional and personal support of graduate minority nursing students; 2) differences in hardiness, stress, perceived institutional and personal support among Hispanic and African American nursing students; and 3) changes in hardiness, stress, perceived institutional and personal support over time.

Methods: An exploratory descriptive design was used to answer the research questions for 5 cohorts of MSN students at 3 universities at four points in time; upon admission to the program, at the end of the first semester, 18 months following admission and upon program completion.  Hardiness was measured by the Hardiness Scale; stress was measured by the Perceived Stress Scale; perceived support was measured by the Institutional Support Scale and the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support. Data were analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences.  Descriptive statistics captured the characteristics of the participants.

Results: Over three years, 5 cohorts of students enrolled in the study.  No significant differences were found between hardiness, age and institutional support upon entry and the end of the first semester.   No significant differences were identified between Hispanic and African American students for the same time periods. Challenges to data analyses became evident when only 6 participants completed the repeat surveys at 18 months.  Data remains to be collected from 2 cohorts at 18 months post enrollment and program completion.                                            

Conclusion: Investigators are currently collecting data about academic status and reasons for attrition of students in the academic programs. Findings will inform faculty/administrators of issues encountered in the study population which will assist to develop interventions to decrease barriers to program completion and positively influence their success.