Motivation and personal challenges while enrolled in higher education: The pathway to becoming a baccalaureate nurse

Sarah Kelly, Kathleen Evanovich Zavotsky, Erin Delaney, Claudia Pagani, Christopher P. Duffy, Elisheba Haqq-Stevens, Myrna Young


Background: The exploration of the non-traditional or self-sufficient financially independent student experiences in higher education are considerably less researched, specifically addressing personal experience while pursuing higher education, when compared to traditional, those who recently graduated from high school, college students. Therefore, the objective of this study was to explore non-licensed hospital employees’ (paraprofessional) perceptions related to their motivation to obtain a baccalaureate degree and overcome personal challenges to become a registered nurse.

Methods: A qualitative descriptive focus group research design was used to explore the perceptions of minority paraprofessional employees had related to their motivations and challenges to become a registered nurse. All student- paraprofessionals, who were funded through the Robert Wood Johnson grant program, were invited to participate in this study. A semi-structured interview guide was used to explore the participants’ thoughts about obtaining a college degree and what their motivation is for obtaining a college degree in nursing. Informal questions were used to involve the participants in the discussion. The study was approved by the university’s institutional review board and participants completed an informed consent prior to any data collection.

Results: Five participants were engaged in this study. The major theme that these participants reported was the different challenges and sacrifices (finances and life situations) that they had to deal with prior to starting courses and while they were currently taking courses. The second theme was motivation; these participants were motivated to have a better life.

Conclusions: These participants had to deal with certain challenges and make sacrifices in order to pursue their dream; however, the participants were able to find the needed motivation to achieve their dreams and become a registered nurse. 

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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