Academic Achievement and Self-Efficacy of Graduate Level Nursing Students: A Comparison of Continuing and Returning Students

Claudia C Pouravelis, Johnson & Wales University

Abstract

Graduate nursing programs play a central role in graduate higher education in the 21st century (Walker et al., 2008). The growing nursing shortage in the United States has influenced many colleges and universities to seize the opportunity to educate the rising number of graduate students interested in pursuing a nursing career. As a result, the number of accelerated second degree bachelors and masters nursing graduate programs is increasing annually (AACN, 2011). This recent and rapid increase in accelerated programs has created a need for an exploration into academic achievement and self-efficacy of returning adults in accelerated, graduate level nursing programs, a population of returning adult students with unique and significant characteristics. An investigation of academic achievement and self-efficacy associated with this population may provide insight into how faculty, recruiters, and student service offices can best serve and facilitate success for second degree students. ^ The purpose of the study was to investigate a comparison of academic achievement and perceived self-efficacy between adult students returning to an accelerated, graduate level nursing program after five or more years away from their undergraduate studies, and those continuing within one year after completing their undergraduate degree. The research questions, which guided the study were: (1) is there a significant difference in (a) academic achievement or (b) self efficacy of graduate level nursing students between students continuing within one year after completing their undergraduate degree and students who are returning after at least a five year gap? (2) how do students returning to school for a graduate level accelerated nursing program feel they experience academic achievement and perceive self-efficacy based on time away from college? ^ The mixed methods study used a sequential explanatory design to explore a comparison of academic achievement and perceived self-efficacy for academic achievement between adult students returning to school after five years, and those continuing within one year after completing their undergraduate degree. ^ The results of the study present information regarding academic achievement and self efficacy of two previously defined groups of students in a competitive graduate program. The study may provide a context for adults who are contemplating the decision to return to an intense, accelerated graduate level nursing program. Additionally, results will provide prospective students with a framework as to which group attains a higher level of academic achievement and possesses a higher level of confidence. Finally, the levels of academic achievement may provide insight for institutions of higher education into several areas including which students may be most successful once admitted or what types of student services (i.e. orientation, programming) may be best suited for adult students.^

Subject Area

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

Recommended Citation

Claudia C Pouravelis, "Academic Achievement and Self-Efficacy of Graduate Level Nursing Students: A Comparison of Continuing and Returning Students" (January 1, 2012). Dissertation & Theses Collection. Paper AAI3510224.
http://scholarsarchive.jwu.edu/dissertations/AAI3510224

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