Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




James Valadez


The aging population in the United States has led to an increased demand for registered nurses. Nursing program administrators must examine ways to increase nursing program completion, which will increase the supply registered nurses. The purpose of this study was to determine the associations among length of time between core science course completion and nursing program admission, on-time completion, and National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) success for students at a southeastern community college. A convenience sample of 288 community students admitted to an associate degree level nursing (ADN) program between 2007 and 2012 was selected. The guiding research questions examined if the length of time from completion of core science courses, Anatomy and Physiology, and admission to a selective admission nursing program was associated with on-time completion as well as passing the NCLEX-RN examination on first attempt. Using Karen's gatekeeping theory as the theoretical foundation, this nonexperimental, nonparametric, quantitative design tested for statistical significance. A Pearson chi square with phi coefficient was utilized for data analysis. The results indicated a statistically significant association between on-time completion and completion of core science courses (X2 (4, N = 288) = 19.730, p = .001, ɸ .262); however, passing the NCLEX-RN on the first attempt was not significant (X2 (4, n = 178) = 4.182, p = .382). The study contributes to positive social change by providing research-based findings on the association between core science course timing and program completion. This knowledge may impact course scheduling and increase the number of registered nurses, which will have a positive impact on meeting the healthcare needs of society.