Date of Conferral

1-1-2009

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Psychology

Advisor

Lori Milo

Abstract

The United States is experiencing a shortage of registered nurses, and institutions of higher education are unable to graduate enough prepared nurses to reduce this employment shortage. A significant relationship between personality traits and academic performance has been found; however, how personality traits combine with students' self-efficacy of job performance and stress susceptibility to impact nursing students' academic performance has yet to be demonstrated. This study, grounded in the five-factor model (FFM) of personality traits, self-efficacy, and stress theories, sought to determine whether self-assessments of the NEO-Five Factor Inventory, the Nursing Practice Self-Efficacy survey, and the Susceptibility Under Stress Survey would predict academic performance, as measured by grade point average (GPA). The sample consisted of 197 nursing students attending 2-year nurse education programs at 3 community colleges in the northeastern United States. This correlational, quantitative study examined the relationship among the personality traits of the FFM, self-efficacy of job performance, stress susceptibility, and the GPAs of nursing students. Multiple regression analysis was used to examine the strength of the relationship among the variables. Self-efficacy and conscientiousness were significant predictors of GPA. Given that nurse education programs are a rigorous field of study with high attrition rates, the implications for social change include the addition of specific types of support for nursing students to facilitate their progress and success in a competitive degree program that will benefit them and address the nursing shortage, which ultimately benefits hospitals and patients.