Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Stacy Wahl


High attrition of nursing students in the United States may contribute to a shortage of registered nurses and inefficient use of scarce resources. The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between nursing student grades in 3 science prerequisites and length of time to program completion on each of the study college's 4 campuses. Ausubel's theory of subsumption, wherein a learner's ability to meaningfully learn new data depends on the existing cognitive structure within which the new material is assimilated, was used as a theoretical framework. Prerequisite science course grades for 575 nursing students attending a Midwestern technical and community college with 4 campuses were obtained along with data on program completion. Grade data from 2005-2015 were analyzed using a 1-way or Welch ANOVA and Pearson product-moment correlation. Significant differences were found among campuses in both mean science grades and time to completion. Most science course grades did not demonstrate a significant correlation with time to completion. Based on these findings, it is possible that student preparation in general science courses is not equivalent among campuses and may not provide the cognitive structure necessary for meaningful learning in nursing courses. To enable faculty from both disciplines to collaboratively document, examine, and align content in science and nursing courses, a curriculum mapping project was designed. Registered nurse graduates contribute to the economic and social well-being of their communities. By providing more insight about science and nursing courses and degree completion, this study is intended to promote positive social change.