Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing


School of Nursing

First Advisor

Wolf, Linda

Subject Headings

African Americans, Education, Nursing


Although African Americans represent the largest minority group, studies show they have the lowest success rates in nursing programs. According to the AACN (2013), “African American nursing students have the lowest graduation rate when compared to other minority groups.” The lack of minorities providing care negatively effects healthcare outcomes and accessibility. In order to increase the number of practicing African Americans nurses, it is essential to gain an understanding of the circumstances that lead to successes and failures. The purpose of this qualitative, phenomenological research study is to provide insight into the positive and negative experiences of African American nursing students, to identify and implement appropriate interventions to increase the number of successful graduates. This study recommends facilitation of social bonds, enhanced mentoring and effective teaching pedagogies to foster retention. This study will use Vygotsky’s Social Development Theory (1978) as a theoretical framework to guide the development of interview questions, as social interaction is key to cognitive development. The data collected through the interview process will be explored using Colaizzi’s (1978) method for analysis and synthesis of themes.