Date of Award

Spring 5-10-2019

Level of Access

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Interdisciplinary Program

Advisor

Patricia Poirier

Second Committee Member

Michael Wittman

Third Committee Member

Vanessa Klein

Additional Committee Members

Gail Tudor

Frank McGrady

Abstract

Nursing educators are being challenged to provide curriculum that meets the changing healthcare environment and demand for creative, innovative nurses to assist in transforming healthcare into the future (Benner, Sutphen, Leonard, & Day, 2010; Institute Of Medicine, 2011). The liberal education provided within a baccalaureate of science in nursing (BSN) degree program provides a diversity of courses within the curriculum, including courses in the natural, physical, mathematical, and social sciences (American Association of Colleges of Nursing [AACN], 2008). Although nursing programs have included science courses in curriculum since the early 1900s (Nutting & Dock, 1907), there is lack of nursing educational research as to which science courses and how many should be included in nursing curriculum to help meet the changing demands of the healthcare environment. The purpose of this study is to explore natural and physical science specific curricula for Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) accredited nursing programs and to reveal differences and/or consistencies among programs. Through the collection and analysis of available data from public datasets, the retrospective observational study revealed consistency among the specific science courses offered within U.S. schools of nursing which have similar course titles to science courses offered in 1918 (Nutting and Stewart, 1918). Institutional factors such as the affiliated university or college research level or public/private status, whether a nursing program provides direct entry, or a nursing program’s admission GPA appear to have little to no relationship with specific science curriculum offered in schools of nursing and no significant association with NCLEX-RN® examination pass rates based on science curriculum. Although the NCLEX-RN® examination is the benchmark end of program and entry into practice examination for nurses, the relationship between science curriculum and the NCLEX-RN®examination is unclear from the study. The impact of a science curriculum upon the practice and education of nurses today requires further study. The opportunity for enhancement of clinical thinking and collaborative opportunities that study in sciences offer could be a significant component of future study for nursing educators to ensure the future workforce is able to engage in innovation.

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