Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.

Department (Legacy)

Department of Leadership, Foundations, and Human Resource Education

Committee Chair

Miller, Stephen K.

Author's Keywords

Predictor of success; NCLEX; Practical nursing


Practical nursing--Examinations, questions, etc.; Practical nursing--Study and teaching; Nursing students; Prediction of scholastic success


Nursing is one of the most frequently chosen programs by those entering postsecondary institutions in preparation for a career. This is in part due to the job opportunities available, interest in healthcare, and a pending shortage of nurses in healthcare. One strategy for meeting this shortage is the career pathway which encompasses the concept of lifelong learning and provides a mechanism for advancement of nurses along a continuum. Regardless of the level that a student enters the nursing education continuum, failure on the national licensure exam becomes a burden to both graduates and faculty in time and resources expended. Whereas many empirical research studies have been conducted related to the registered nurse, few studies have been done related to the practical nurse. Therefore, this research study addresses the issue of background and curricular variables which predict success on the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN). Descriptive statistics, inferential statistics, and logistic regression were used to determine the predictive value of the demographic (age, gender, race) and admission requirements (math, reading); curriculum variables (pre-requisite, foundation, specialty, and advanced nursing courses); and Exit Comprehensive Exam on NCLEX-PN status. The sample consisted of 411 students from 14 practical nursing programs within ten Kentucky Community and Technical Colleges. Independent Sample t Tests, Chi-square, and Correlation suggested statistically significant relationships/differences for all variables with the exception of gender, the mathematics admission exam, and number of attempts on the exit examination. The results of the logistic regression model indicated that age (p = .002) and the Exit Comprehensive Exam (p = .035) made a significant contribution to prediction of success on the NCLEX-PN on the first attempt. The demographic (gender, race); admission (math, reading); curricular, (pre-requisite, foundation, specialty, and advanced nursing courses); and mediating (number of attempts on the Exit Comprehensive Exam) variables were not significant predictors in the logistic model. These results may be used as an advisement tool for at-risk students to direct them toward interventions and resources to increase success on the NCLEX-PN.