A phenomenological exploration of the lived experience of concurrent AND-BSN program graduates in the Southwestern U.S.


December 2023

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In 2010, the Institute of Medicine released a policy brief advocating for increased opportunities for nurses to obtain higher levels of education for increasingly complex patient care demands. Nursing programs in the United States responded by adding options for associate degree graduates to obtain baccalaureate degrees, including the innovative partnership pathway, which allows students to complete the associate degree and baccalaureate degree requirements concurrently. This pathway continues to expand in popularity and has proven to be a valuable option that allows students to take advantage of cost-effective and time-efficient associate degree programs while also gaining the additional knowledge offered by the baccalaureate degree. A review of the nursing literature revealed information regarding implementation strategies for concurrent enrollment programs and general descriptions of the challenges and strengths of these programs. However, a gap was identified in the existing literature describing the student perspective. This study aimed to address this gap and explore the lived experience of concurrent enrollment ADN-BSN graduates for the purpose of identifying the rewards, complexities, barriers, and challenges of the pathway for students. A descriptive phenomenological approach was used to gather data from graduates of a large concurrent enrollment ADN-BSN program in the Southwestern United States. Colaizzi’s seven-step data analysis method was used to analyze data. Six themes were identified, including “Choosing the concurrent enrollment program option,” “Managing time,” “Financial considerations,” “BSN curricular attributes,” “Belonging and engagement,” and “Feelings about the program.” Information obtained from the study validated findings in the current literature and added to the overall understanding of the student experience. Analysis of the findings suggests that the concurrent enrollment pathway is a valuable option for students seeking the BSN degree and that there are important implications from the data for nursing educators and the nursing profession in general.



Nursing Education; Academic Progression; Concurrent Enrollment BSN