Date of Conferral







Leslie Hussey


The general nursing shortage experienced in the U.S. leads students who speak English as a second language (ESL) to enter into nursing school programs. Although these students may enter the nursing programs, they may not successfully complete the nursing programs due to various barriers they face during their enrollment. The purpose of this phenomenological study, guided by the NURS model, was to understand the perceptions and experiences of ESL nursing students related to learning and the barriers to learning and success while enrolled in an associate degree nursing program. Semi structured, face-to-face interviews were conducted with 10 associate degree ESL nursing students. The themes that emerged from the data were perceptions of high rigor of the nursing program, that dedication and commitment to the program of study was required; families had high expectations and students maintained responsibilities of the family, and ESL students perceived they were different from the rest of the class. The results of the study offer insights of the barriers perceived by nursing students to inform nursing faculty and future ESL nursing students on factors that may be needed to promote program success, persistence, and program completion. Recommendations for future studies are to investigate perceptions of ESL students of specific age groups and to better understand barriers experienced by ESL nursing students. The findings of this study provided an increased awareness of the barriers and experiences of ESL nursing students enrolled in an associate degree nursing program which will affect positive social change.