Motivational Factors in Registered Nurses Completing a Baccalaureate Completion Program
Alonzo, Amanda Leigh
University of Kansas
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The purpose of this qualitative descriptive study was to investigate what motivates associate degree (ADN) and diploma prepared registered nurses (RN) to pursue a baccalaureate degree (BSN) through an RN-to-BSN program. Studies have shown that the educational level of nurses has direct impact on the safety and quality of care provided to patients. When compared to ADN RNs, baccalaureate-prepared RNs demonstrate better patient outcomes, including decreased risk of death and decreased failure to rescue. Currently, only 38% of RNs are initially educated at the baccalaureate level, with 59% of RNs are initially educated at the associate level and 8% at the diploma. Only 20.9% of ADN RNs return to school to pursue a baccalaureate degree. The research questions for the study included: 1) What are the reasons that associate degree and diploma prepared registered nurses enroll in RN-to-BSN programs?; 2) What are the facilitators of returning to school?; and 3) What are the challenges of returning to school? The theory of planned behavior provided a starting point for the focus group questions posed to participants. The sample consisted of 21 ADN RNs enrolled in online RN-to-BSN courses at state universities in Kansas. Evidence was collected through the use of an online survey and online focus groups. Three themes emerged from the data analysis: 1) The journey through the decision to return to school; 2) Critical elements in meeting the challenges of returning to school; and 3) The lived experience of returning to school. The themes tell the story of the process of ADN RNs returning to school from contemplating the decision to making the decision to actually living the decision. Based on the findings, implications for educators in ADN and RN-to-BSN programs, as well as employers of ADN RNs are provided.
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