Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Marvin L. Putnam


Twenty percent of Hispanic nursing students at a west coast university are being dismissed from the nursing program due to repeated failures in nursing courses. The purpose of this study was to gain a better understanding of Hispanic nursing students' experiences of successfully completing a nursing program, earning a baccalaureate of science degree, and passing the state licensing examination for registered nurses despite having failed a nursing course and having been placed on academic probation. Guided by Tinto's theory of academic integration, a descriptive phenomenological design was used to explore Hispanic nursing graduates' success experiences. Purposive sampling was used to select a representative sample of 6 Hispanic registered nurses who achieved success after academic failure in the nursing program. Data were collected through 5 face-to-face interviews and 1 telephone interview. Giorgi's steps for data analysis were used to create a meaning structure of the success experience. Findings from analysis of the data revealed that the general structure of the phenomenon of achieving academic success is a process that occurs in 3 distinct successive stages: despair, self-reflection, and change. During the self-reflection stage, a pivotal turning point was the recapture of the dream to become a nurse. These findings lead to the preparation of a professional development workshop that may acquaint educators with the stages of the success journey for students such as these, and may equip educators with knowledge and skills to intervene to support students through the stages of the success journey. Positive social change may result from educators effectively guiding nursing students to achieve their academic goals and successfully graduate from a nursing program.