Management of facilitators and obstacles experienced by Hispanics in their first semester of a baccalaureate nursing program
The purpose of this grounded theory study was to explore how Hispanic nursing students enrolled in their first semester of a baccalaureate nursing program managed their academic activities in order to promote their academic success. This qualitative study identifies factors experienced by students as they adjust to become successful students. Grounded theory methods were used to explore and interpret students’ perspectives regarding their academic journey, leading to the development of a model of Hispanic student progression through their initial nursing school semester. Focus group and individual interviews of 15 students were conducted at the beginning and end of their first semester in a baccalaureate nursing program. Interviews were coded to extract the essence of the students’ experience. The students’ perceptions, struggles, and adaptive processes leading to final success or failure at the end of the semester were examined. A model delineating students’ trajectories throughout the first semester was developed. Major model elements included Arrival, Managing, and Evaluation. Following each evaluation period students moved through a cycle of managing their continued academic progress that included either effective or ineffective academic responses. This study found family and financial issues were the two major areas of anxiety and concern for these students. First generation Hispanic students felt they were at a disadvantage navigating through the maze of academics. Confidence and anxiety levels were directly correlated to the students’ trajectory. The adaptive processes used by the students lead to successful or unsuccessful trajectories of course completion. Students who realized early on their trajectory that they were heading toward academic failure, sought help, and altered their behavior. These altered behaviors allowed them to be more likely to successfully complete the semester. Students who did not realize early on their trajectory that they were failing or failed to change their methods of academic preparation continued to experience the poor results and ultimately failed the semester. The more direct ownership and early interventions exhibited by the students’ resulted in the ability to change their outcomes.