Challenges in Pursuing Nursing Education at the Graduate Level: Motivators, Barriers, and Persistence

Collette Loftin PhD, RN*, Angela Phillips DNP, APRN, Marietta Branson DHSc, RN

West Texas A&M University

As the United States [U.S.] nursing shortage continues, the need for a highly educated work force grows. Although, the Carnegie Report [1] advocated for a Bachelor of Science in Nursing [BSN] degree as entry into practice with a required Master of Science in Nursing [MSN] earned within 10 years, the necessity to pursue a graduate degree in nursing has not been as widely encouraged as the baccalaureate degree. Master’s prepared nurses are essential across a variety of health care settings to serve in leadership, management, and advanced primary provider positions, as well as in academic settings as faculty members and researchers. In 2017, approximately 17% of the nursing workforce held a master’s degree. This was up from 13.8% in 2013 [2]. While the percentage of nurses earning a master’s degree has risen gradually, the need for additional highly educated nurses persists as rapid advancements in health care technology, including telehealth and informatics, occur.
During 2016 and 2017, the nursing program at the authors’ institution tasked the recruitment and retention committee with increasing enrollment in the graduate nursing program. The committees stated goal was increasing enrollment in all role specializations (nurse practitioner, education, and management). The committee identified two areas of particular concern: the need for family nurse practitioners in the nearby rural communities and a shortage of nursing faculty in the area as these areas had become challenging. Although the nursing program had been successful at retaining a majority of its students, recruitment of new students was challenging and thus became the key focus.

Keywords: Challenges; Nursing Education; Graduate Level; Motivators; Barriers; Persistence

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How to cite this article:
Collette Loftin, Angela Phillips, Marietta Branson. Challenges in Pursuing Nursing Education at the Graduate Level: Motivators, Barriers, and Persistence. Global Journal of Nursing , 2021; 4:19. DOI: 10.28933/gjn-2021-02-1605


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