Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


Attrition has always been a problem for schools of nursing. Fueled by an intensifying nursing shortage, faculty are under more pressure to address attrition. A correlational non-experimental design was used to examine the relationships between Hardiness and attrition in three Practical Nursing (PN) programs in the Midwest. Other variables examined included students grade point average and age. The typical PN student was female (N=74, P=98.7), 26 years of age, married, Caucasian, lived with his/her spouse, possessed a high school degree (n=59, P=78.7), and perceived (P=66) that she/he had just enough finances for personal/family needs. Student participants worked between 19 (P=25.3) and no (P=4) hours per week while 24% were enrolled in six hours of non-nursing college courses. The finding for the first research question revealed no difference in Hardiness between students who experienced attrition (n=13) and those who successfully completed the academic program (n=62) in three PN programs (N=75) in a rural Midwestern area, t(75)=1.73, p=.088. The second research question queried the relationship between age and each of the Hardiness subscales of Commitment, Control and Challenge in nursing students. All were evaluated with Pearson’s r with results of no statistically significant correlation. Research question three examined the relationship between age and Hardiness in nursing students. Again, results were not significant, r=.04, p=.744. Question four queried differences between student grade point average and levels of Hardiness in nursing students. Grades examined included total, support, and nursing grade point averages. Pearson’s r again was used to evaluate these relationships. Although various combinations of relationships were examined none were found to be statistically significant except for Group I and support grades, r=.65, p=.003. The investigation limitations included but are not limited to the following. Findings were only from PN programs; therefore, they can’t be generalized to other types of nursing programs. Since the settings were from a small, rural area the findings can’t be generalized to large or urban university nursing programs. Also, the missing grades for one of the programs is a limitation. Recommendations include the need for more research specifically for Group I and support grades as well as replication with larger samples including both rural and urban settings. Attrition is still a problem for schools of nursing; therefore, research with other variables is recommended. These variables might include support systems, commuting distance and history of social adeptness.


Dr. Karyolyn Kells

Date of Award

Fall 2004

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access


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