This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Interviews as a Predictor of Success to Support Admission to Nursing School




Hamilton, Cam

Type of Degree



Education Foundation, Leadership, and Technology


Baccalaureate nursing programs are encouraged to provide increased numbers of graduates prepared to meet the future needs of healthcare. Limited access to nursing schools and unique cohort learning necessitates close scrutiny of potential students' qualifications. Acceptance of students with the highest probability of retention and success can potentially decrease student attrition from withdrawal or failure. Personal and professional values derived over the course of life through experiences, environment, and culture are reflected in attitudes and patterns of behavior. A problem exists with evaluating non-academic characteristics of potential students. Carper’s (1978) patterns of knowing (ethical, aesthetic, and personal) can be used as a method for identifying characteristics that individuals bring to nursing education in areas other than academic achievement (empirical) (Caper, 1978; Clements & Averill, 2004; Heath, 1998). A retrospective longitudinal study design was used to answer the research questions and meet the goals of the study. Semi-structured interviews were viewed as a tool for evaluation of interpersonal relations, communication, future goals, understanding of nursing, leadership qualities, and overall demeanor (Trice, 2007) and were conducted for fall applicants to upper division baccalaureate nursing courses at one small public Southeastern School of Nursing in 2008 and 2009. The purposes of this study were to 1) evaluate data from student interviews to discover the significance of the interview process in identifying characteristics other than academic achievement, and 2) evaluate correlation of pre-admission interview scores to retention and graduation of BSN students at a small Southeastern University school of nursing. The current study found a statistically significant correlation between application GPA (ApplGPA) and final nursing GPA (NsgGPA) as well as HESI Exit Exam (E2) scores, indicating that ApplGPA may predict successful completion of the nursing program (32.9%) and licensure exam. However, these grades do not provide insight into non-academic characteristics described by Carper’s other three patterns of knowing (ethical, aesthetic, and personal) specific to the nursing professional. ApplGPA was a significant predictor of success in the nursing program (NsgGPA) but when average interview scores (AIS), used to assess non-academic characteristics, were added the ability to predict program completion increased to 51.5%. AIS were also found to be statistically significant in predicting development of professional characteristics in the area of communication (Comm).