Predicting Success: An Analysis of the Characteristics of Applicants to the Ontario PHCNP Program

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Elsabeth Jensen, PhD
School of Nursing, York University/Lawson Health Research Institute, Toronto, ON, Canada
Shelley Walkerley, PhD
School of Nursing, York University, Toronto, ON, Canada


 This project is an extension of the previous study focusing on the predictive value of personal essays for admission to the PHCNP Program at York University. The original study findings revealed that while the scores on admissions essays were not associated with success or failure in the program, other characteristics or attributes such as years of nursing experience may be related to a successful outcome. The current project is aimed at further describing the characteristics of the applicants as well as exploring relationships between those characteristics and applicant success.


 This study expanded the study population by including three additional provincial Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner sites, one of which enrolls francophone students. This is a retrospective quantitative analysis of data normally collected for enrollment decision-making, i.e., common admission criteria and information including demographic information, UGPA, scores on nursing theory and research courses in the applicant’s undergraduate program, number of years of nursing experience, and type of clinical experience. Applicants to the PHCNP program at the 4 participating universities were approached for consent.


 The data from the study is informative in describing the education and experience successful applicants bring to the program. As all of the 53 participants are now registered as Nurse Practitioners, this data give no insight into those graduates who are unsuccessful on the exam. Few of our students are not successful in licensing; most of those who fail first writing go on to be successful on second writing


As we continue to work forward to meet the Ontario’s need for PHCNP services, it is important to select applicants to the program who have the greatest potential to complete the program in a timely fashion, pass the registration exam, and successfully enter practice. The next stage of this program of research will explore the characteristics of those who were admitted but did not complete to see if they differ from those who complete.