Admissions predictors of success of returning nursing students in a baccalaureate degree nursing program

Date of Completion

January 2002


Health Sciences, Education|Education, Adult and Continuing|Health Sciences, Nursing




Health care is facing immense challenges. Among the most critical is an acute nursing shortage coupled with increasingly complex patient problems, managed health care cost and control issues, new technologies, medical advances, and a growing elderly population. The problem must be viewed in terms of number and quality. There is a clear need to recruit, educate, retain, and graduate greater numbers of qualified nursing students. Nursing was projected to be among the top ten occupations in demand for the year 2006 (Nursing World, 1999). ^ In order to meet this demand, colleges must look not only to the traditional incoming freshmen class but also to the many non-traditional students who already have nursing experience and wish to return to school to advance their nursing careers. Enhancing the potential for success of these students is imperative. The purpose of this study was to assess factors that contribute to early identification during the admissions process of the returning student's potential for success in the nursing program. ^ Thus, in this study, the research was designed to measure how effective selected admissions criteria were in predicting returning students' completion of a bachelor's degree nursing program. The sample consisted of 151 returning students in a university who were enrolled in a bachelor's nursing degree program from 1993 through 2001. Data were derived from admissions application materials. ^ Using a retrospective design, five independent variables were measured as predictors of the outcome variable, program completion. Two independent variables were related to the student's associate's degree program: grade point average, and type of institution attended (2-year college, 2-year hospital program, 4-year college). The other independent variables were demographic variables: age, ethnic background and gender. A logistic regression analysis was performed to assess the effectiveness of the independent variables as predictors. ^ Results of this study indicated that the only factor that constituted a statistically significant predictor of nursing baccalaureate program completion was the student's age at the time of returning to school to pursue a degree. This and other findings will expand the research base and help nursing admissions officials make more informed decisions. ^