Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Boyd Dressler


Attrition of nursing students has a negative impact on students, university nursing programs, and the heath care community. At a local university, the nursing program and its stakeholders aspire to increase retention of nursing students in order to mitigate the nursing shortage projected over the next decade. The purpose of this study was to examine issues related to high attrition of 1st- and 2nd-year nursing students at a university located in the mid-Atlantic area of the United States. Tinto's model of retention was used as the foundation to explore variables affecting 1st- and 2nd-year nursing students who remained in (n = 30) or left (n = 10 ) the program. This quantitative, cross-sectional research study explored the root causes of nursing student attrition. A Likert-scale survey was used to gather quantitative data to determine student perceptions of academic expectations and nonacademic issues such as work and stress that may increase the risk of attrition. Discriminant analysis determined that reported levels of self-efficacy, perceived faculty support, outcome expectations, and bullying significantly discriminated between program persisters and leavers. Based upon these findings it is concluded that nursing faculty and administrators can increase student retention by increasing students' level of self-efficacy by providing greater support and reducing instances of bullying. Implementation of these practices may result in more students remaining in school, graduating, and competently serving the needs of patients, thus resulting in positive social change.