Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Mary Ramirez


Nursing students who speak English as a second language (ESL) often struggle due to language barriers, the complexity of the medical vocabulary, and the knowledge base that they must develop in a short time. These struggles may be due in part to the preparation of nursing educators to meet the specific needs of the ESL student population. The purpose of this qualitative research study was to develop a greater understanding of nurse educators' perceptions when teaching ESL nursing students. The conceptual framework used was Cummins' framework for the development of language proficiency. Four research questions guided this basic qualitative research allowing the understanding of nursing faculties’ perceptions about teaching ESL students. The research questions also focused on their practices and challenges of their teaching experience and the immediate need for training and development. An online survey and standardized interview protocol were used to collect data. Eight nursing faculty members participated in one-on-one phone interviews. Thematic data analysis identified four themes: interpretations on how to support ESL nursing students, the academic gap due to the lack of academic language, suggestions of teaching environments that harm or help ESL students, and faculties’ skill development needs. This study may contribute to a researched-based foundation that supported a positive change in faculty feelings of success. It might also bring a positive social change at state and local levels by advocating for a standardized nursing curriculum that meets the academic needs of minority nursing students improving their graduation rates.