This dissertation is an exploration of strategies that optimize nursing student retention. While college students experience a degree of personal and social challenges toward degree completion, nursing students experience higher incidences of attrition due to the academic rigors, clinical scheduling, and high stresses of nursing programs. While few institutional contributions can address personal and social issues impacting retention, nursing programs have a unique opportunity to develop interventions to strengthen social connections to the academic institution and facilitate early connections to the profession. These professional integration factors are central domains of the Jeffreys’ Nursing Universal Retention and Success (NURS) model and have been shown to improve student retention. Despite significant research addressing student success, little describes institutional strategies known to optimize student retention, and of these strategies, which are most successful. The first manuscript, Optimizing Undergraduate Nursing Student Retention: A Concept Analysis, provided a foundation to better understand how improvements or optimal solutions could be identified. Review of literature discovered an absence of valid instruments to measure all subscales of professional integration factors; therefore, the second manuscript, Development and Psychometric Evaluation of the Professional Integration Factors Retention Strategies Survey, outlines the process utilized for scale development while the third manuscript, Optimizing Student Retention: Measurement and Analysis of Strategies Implemented within Traditional Bachelor’s in Nursing Programs, presents the primary research study examining retention strategies implemented within traditional Bachelor’s in Nursing programs. In completing this dissertation, the researcher was able to contribute to the nursing education body of research on nursing student retention.

Date of publication

Spring 4-23-2018

Document Type




Persistent identifier


Committee members

Dr. Belinda Deal, Dr. Danita Alfred, Dr. Zhaomin He, Dr. Marianne Jeffreys


PhD in Nursing