Experiences of Registered Nurses Who Voluntarily Withdraw From Their BSN Program
Girard, Samantha A.
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The need for a more highly educated nurse workforce has never been more evident as researchers are beginning to examine the effect of higher levels of nursing education and skill mix on nurse-specific indicators of patient care. National organizations along with preeminent nurse scholars agree that increasing the number of baccalaureate-prepared registered nurses is critical, at this time more so than ever before. This increase is due to the challenging and complex health care environments in which nurses function and the evolving and dynamic nature of the United States Health Care System. Despite the numerous interventions aimed at reducing attrition and increasing retention in nursing programs, graduation rates have remained virtually unchanged. There is a gap in the literature on attrition decisions and experiences of registered nurses, who voluntarily withdraw from RN-BSN programs prior to completion. Embedded in the significance of this study are the critical needs to understand the experiences of RN-BSN student non-completers, examine influences on RN-BSN students’ decisions to voluntarily withdraw from nursing school, and understand the interplay among such influences so that barriers to degree completion may be eliminated. A Heideggerian hermeneutic approach was used to interpret the meaning of the experiences of RNs, who prematurely withdraw from their BSN programs. Two overarching patterns of understanding emerged: Withdrawing as Revisiting Failure and Withdrawing as Impasse: On One Side of the Divide.The factors that influence whether or not a nurse finishes a BSN program are many, but the effect on dignity and well-being are immeasurable. Place-bound and stuck, these incompletions affect not only the nurse but also the profession, leaving a deficit. Understanding the meaning of withdrawing from a RN-BSN program is the first step toward interpreting extant data in the context of experience and is expected to guide improvements in nursing education, research, and practice.