Date of Conferral







Janice Long


Despite recognition of the barriers that African American nursing students encounter while pursuing nursing education, leaders of U.S. nursing programs continue to struggle to retain these students and promote their degree completion. Poor retention and lack of completion contributes to the unequal representation of African American nurses in the U.S. healthcare workforce compared to the overall population. The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine the experiences that helped to promote African American nursing students’ success or served as barriers to successful completion of an Associate Degree Nursing program. Tinto’s integration model was used as the theoretical framework. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 11 African American novice nurses who attended a community college in the Southeastern region of the United States. Each interview was audiotaped and transcribed verbatim by a transcription company. Transcripts were then analyzed using Van Manen’s 3-step method. Thematic analysis yielded 4 themes: the path was destined; I’m here, now what; barriers seen and overcome; and insight for the future. Participants discussed a determination to succeed and persist until completion. To overcome the barriers of lack of academic preparedness and financial support, participants implemented strategies that promoted their success with the aid of faculty, peers, and family support. The results of this study may lead to positive social change by providing insight into strategies that nursing programs can implement to promote African American student retention and graduation. The results may ultimately contribute to an increase in the number of African American nurses in the U.S. workforce.