Shifting Our Focus to Support the Educational Journey of Underrepresented Students

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Background: The racial and ethnic distribution of RNs has been unable to keep pace with the growth seen in minority populations. Although nursing schools have recognized the need to increase the number of underrepresented students entering the profession, significant challenges with retention and graduation exist. Guided by Tinto's student integrative model, this study not only sought to understand why students leave, but also to identify what helps them persist.

Method: A phenomenological approach was used to understand the lived experience of 10 Hispanic nursing students at a Jesuit university in the northeastern United States.

Results: Three main themes emerged: Journey Into the Unknown, Creating a Culture of Acceptance, and Keeping on Course in Uncharted Territory.

Conclusion: Although these students did describe feeling unprepared, a primary concern was not experiencing a connectedness or welcoming environment within their campus community. In addition to the academic and financial supports provided, shifting focus and targeting campus climate may help underrepresented students to be more successful.


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Publication Title

Journal of Nursing Education

Published Citation

Alicea-Planas, Jessica. "Shifting Our Focus to Support the Educational Journey of Underrepresented Students." Journal of Nursing Education 56, no. 3 (2017): 159-163. https://doi.org/10.3928/01484834-20170222-07.



Peer Reviewed