Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Candace B. Adams


Research about retention of nursing students has focused on either specific student characteristics or on nursing students at the university level. A problem experienced by a community college nursing program in Maryland is low completion rates, which can affect the institution and the nursing profession. This qualitative case study explored faculty-related factors leading to success of students in the nursing program at this school, so the low completion rate can be addressed. The conceptual foundations for this study were Tinto's theory of student retention and Jeffreys' nursing undergraduate retention and success model. The research questions addressed how faculty-related factors affected students' success in the nursing program. The study was conducted with 9 second year nursing students and 7 nursing faculty providing information through face to face interviews at a community college in central Maryland. Data analysis was conducted using inductive processes to code, identify, and analyze the themes. The findings of this case study suggested that students can benefit from improving their critical thinking abilities. The findings of this case study also suggested that faculty affect students' critical thinking abilities when faculty are approachable, provide a nurturing environment, and are helpful to students. A professional development workshop for nursing faculty and staff was developed based on the findings from these study results. This workshop will provide guidance to faculty and staff on strategies to assist student with improving critical thinking abilities. Implications for positive social change include addressing the nursing shortage by increasing the number of qualified nursing students from this program, understanding the perspectives of nursing students, and helping to meet the needs of nursing students.