An exploration of lived experiences of graduates from concurrent enrollment programs in nursing across the southern United States: a retrospective study
The nursing academe currently faces a significant challenge to educating its profession. Nursing in the 21st century is more complicated than ever before. The complexity of today’s healthcare system requires a well-educated nursing workforce. Nurses with BSN degrees are well-prepared to meet the complex demands of today’s healthcare settings. This need to have a well-educated nursing workforce is well documented throughout the literature and is necessary for today's sophisticated healthcare setting. Nurse educators have been urged to undertake strategic changes in nursing education to meet this need. The concurrent enrollment nursing program (CEP) is an innovative model that offers an advantage to nursing students by allowing them to enroll in both ADN and BSN programs simultaneously, thereby streamlining progression toward the BSN degree. This qualitative retrospective study aimed to explore and describe the experiences of nurses who received a BSN degree from a CEP in the southern United States. Nine nurses participated in the study. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews and analyzed utilizing Colaizzi’s seven-step method (1978), and further examination employed Rogers’s Diffusion of Innovation process (2003). CEP program attributes discovered were: cost, program convenience, ability to get to work quicker, job requirement, and professional growth. Participant characteristics identified were determination, motivation, and organizational skills. This study is important for nursing education because an increased understanding of why students would choose a CEP instead of traditional nursing programs could lead to the development of better recruiting strategies to promote these new programs. Likewise, strategies could be aimed at developing approaches to monitor, evaluate, and better understand the effects both program curricula have on student retention.