Date of Award

January 2016

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Deborah L. West

Department Affiliation

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Second Advisor

James R. Bliss

Department Affiliation

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Third Advisor

Charles S. Hausman

Department Affiliation

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies


The national job outlook for registered nurses, according to a News Release for Employment Projections 2012-2022 from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2013), will continue to increase in job growth from 2012 to 2022 by 19.4%. This increase will result in an additional 526,800 registered nursing positions that will be available nationwide by 2022. This qualitative dissertation investigated associate degree nursing students and the strategies they employed to be successful and graduate from their respective nursing program. According to a report entitled The Registered Nurse Population by the US Department of Health and Human Services (2008), associate degree nursing programs graduate 45.4% of all nursing students who were entering the workforce at that time completed a 2-year program. This qualitative study design consisted of interviewing participants who were in the last semester of an associate degree program within a month of graduation. The participants were recruited from a community college in rural Southeastern Kentucky and shared valuable insight through their lived experiences as a nursing student. This information shared by the participants may be useful to future associate degree nursing students in achieving the goal of becoming a registered nurse.