Letty Piper

Date Approved


Document Type


Degree Name

Ed.D. Educational Leadership


Educational Leadership


College of Education

First Advisor

Sisco, Burton




Other Educational Administration and Supervision


With the growing shortage of nurses, the continuing flow of an adequate number of nursing students is important to the healthcare system. In an attempt to identify the noncognitive factors, which influence attrition, a mixed-method, cross-sectional study was conducted. Students who had dropped out of a BSN program and those still enrolled were given a survey containing scales of self-efficacy, nursing professional alignment and Margin in Life. The students then participated in focus groups. The attritional students were found to have a significantly lower Margin-in Life score than those who had succeeded, and there was a correlation between the Margin in Life score and successful progression. Both sets of students identified that the need for margin was particularly important, as they transitioned into the first professional level courses. Students described being unprepared for the changes inherent in this transition. Enhancing transition skills, available at the time of entry into professional courses, could reduce the number of students who do not successfully transition by increasing their Margin-in-Life scores as a result of preparation and anticipation. This successful transition would increase the number of BSN graduates and the number of available nurses.