Background: Prior research studies on the predictors of success in nurse practitioner programs have not focused on students in rural areas.
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine factors that influence student success in a rural nurse practitioner program in the Southeastern United States.
Methods: Admission data from family nurse practitioner students at a rural university were obtained from a secured drive and transcribed into an Excel spreadsheet. Bivariate analysis using independent t-tests for continuous variables and chi-square tests for categorical variables was conducted to determine group differences between successful and unsuccessful students by demographic and education factors.
Results: A total of 84 students were enrolled in the family nurse practitioner program, including 70 (83.3%) females and 14 (16.7%) males. Student demographics included 15 (17.9%) African American, 67 (79.8%) Caucasian, one (1.2%) American Indian or Alaska Native, and one (1.2%) Asian, with 67 (80%) residing in the local rural Pee Dee Region. Of the 84 students, 49 (58.3%) successfully completed the program and 35 (41.6%) were unsuccessful and either withdrew or were dismissed. African American students had decreased rates of program enrollment and completion compared to Caucasian students, with only 3 (20%) of the 15 enrolled students successfully completing the program.
Conclusions: Identification and examination of sociodemographic and education factors influencing student success in southeastern rural nurse practitioner programs may improve overall program completion rates, facilitate program success for minority students, and increase the diversity of the nurse practitioner workforce.
Keywords: academic success, nursing students, school admission criteria, nurse practitioner
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