Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Barry Birnbaum


Qualified student enrollment to nurse education program is limited by admission criteria predetermined by faculty; however, little is known regarding the development and consistency of selection criteria. The purpose of this study was to examine the admission requirements of nursing programs to better understand the philosophical underpinnings and complexity of selection criteria. The conceptual frameworks of teaching philosophy, complexity, and gatekeeping guided this research. This descriptive correlational study used a cross-sectional design to survey a purposeful sample of full-time faculty teaching in nurse education programs in a southeastern state. Descriptive analyses, independent t test, and a Lambda analyses were employed on self-reported program practices, teaching philosophy, and demographic data. Descriptive analysis documented that nurse education was a limited access major with 73% reporting either very or extremely competitive admission. Descriptive analysis identified 35 distinct admission criteria that were usually combined into a weighted scoring system that favored empirical evidence aligned to accreditation and licensure requirements. Independent t test revealed that associate degree programs employed significantly more criteria than did baccalaureate programs to select students. Lambda analysis found no association linking faculty teaching philosophy to the complexity of admissions criteria. This study demonstrated that competitive admission processes exist but vary significantly across programs, and suggests that more research is required since this variability in criteria may impact diversity within nursing education. Positive social change can be achieved by a critical review of admission requirements to ensure a more diverse nursing workforce able to deliver culturally competent care.