Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Kathryn Hollywood


The purpose of this study was to examine efficacious instructional strategies that the New England Community College (NECC) nursing program could implement in the curricula to improve National Council Licensure Examination Registered Nurse (NCLEX-RN) first-time pass rates. Effective strategies from students and nursing program faculty had used were investigated. Such strategies support student nurses in their efforts to succeed on the first administration of the exit examination. The rationale for this study and resulting project was that they could improve NCLEX-RN first-time pass rates and positively impact the local hiring of qualified nurses. Guided by Knowles's adult learning theory, key results of the study and resulting project were developed from effective instructional strategies discovered from former NECC students. The central research question focused on identifying which teaching-learning strategies in the NECC nursing curricula improved students' critical thinking skills and problem solving skills. A qualitative case study design was employed with a purposeful sample of 15 former NECC nursing program graduates. Participant focus groups and annual program/accreditation documents were used to collect data to address how student nurses learn best in order to be successful on the exit examination. The project was the creation of a 3-day seminar in the first semester curriculum that focuses on effective licensure preparation instructional strategies to establish and maintain high NCLEX-RN pass rates. Implications for positive social change include, but are not limited to, improving students' problem solving skills and application of critical thinking strategies in order to positively impact the lives of the patients whom they will serve.