Factors affecting attrition from associate degree nursing programs in North Carolina.
Projected nursing shortfalls have spurred the state of North Carolina to initiate a series of strategies to increase the number of graduates from pre-licensure Registered Nurse (RN) programs. These efforts have been largely successful, but attrition rates from Associate Degree Nursing (ADN) programs remain high. Only 58% of students entering ADN programs complete the degree. While policy makers are keenly aware that attrition from ADN programs is problematic, there is a lack of empirical evidence to identify the specific factors contributing to student attrition. In late 2007, the North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS) asked the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research to conduct a study of Associate Degree Nursing program attrition and its causes. This paper summarizes the findings from that study and identifies the student- and program-level characteristics associated with more and less successful ADN programs. While this study was conducted in a single state in the US, the substantive findings--as well as the methodological approach--may be useful to other states and other countries. The study revealed that socioeconomically disadvantaged students (those with GEDs and those who received Pell Grants), non-white students, and younger and older students were less likely to graduate on-time. When programs were grouped into high and low performance categories on the basis of risk adjusted graduation rates, high performing programs were distinguished by more stringent admissions policies and better educated faculties. Nursing shortages have garnered significant attention and resources from state and national workforce planners in recent years. But to date, investments in expanding program capacity have not been matched by attention to program completion rates, with the result that we have enlarged the pipeline without fixing the leaks. Faculty shortages and recession-induced resource constraints limit further program expansion. Addressing attrition problems can expand RN production in the short-term at relatively lower costs.
Fraher, E; Belsky, DW; Gaul, K; Carpenter, J
Volume / Issue
Start / End Page
Pubmed Central ID
International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)