Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Committee Chair

Gayle Casterline


Problem: The expectation of the current nurse workforce is to deliver safe quality care while meeting the demands of an ever-changing healthcare system. More nurses are needed to combat the ongoing nursing shortage, as Baby Boomers reach retirement and the need for health care continues to rise. The healthcare industry has a vested interest in schools of nursing graduation rates as they impact the needed supply of nurses to fill vacant positions. Multiple variables collectively influence student success in a nursing program. Many students do not realize the rigor of a nursing curriculum until they are in the midst of it. Attrition rates, at all degree levels, are high across the United States. It is imperative that nursing programs take a proactive approach and utilize best practices to assist qualified students to succeed academically. Purpose: The purpose of the project was to determine if first semester nursing students who participate in a student success program would have a higher percentage of academic success than those students who did not participate. Background: Schools of Nursing are under pressure to increase their number of graduates to meet the nursing workforce demand. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) states that an increase in Baccalaureate of Science in Nursing (BSN) prepared nurses is imperative to provide the care needed in a complex healthcare system and has set a goal of increasing the percentage of currently employed nurses with a BSN to 80% by 2020 (IOM, 2011). Schools of nursing need to provide essential measures to assist in student success, decrease attrition, and enable students to graduate from nursing programs so they can pursue becoming a Registered Nurse (RN) in order to join the nursing workforce. Project Implementation: The goal for this DNP project was to decrease the attrition rate of first semester students in a BSN program by utilizing a collaborative student success program and identifying students at risk for failure early in their nursing education journey. Outcome: This project resulted in the development of a student success program that provided each student entering a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program with strategies to promote academic success through the first semester of their nursing education. Following assessment and analysis of multiple variables that could affect academic success, all students had the opportunity to collaborate with faculty and Academic Advising staff and develop an individualized plan with supportive interventions. The goal of a required, proactive approach was to identify students at risk for failure early in their nursing education and provide assistance in order to decrease attrition. The attrition rate at the end of the first semester following the student success program implementation was 22.2%, less than the 38.8% attrition rate from the previous fall without a student success program in place. The SNAP program will be sustained, with continued monitoring and evaluation of each student’s plan throughout the BSN curriculum.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.