Creation of a holistic admissions review process: A promising change designed to promote diversity and inclusion in nursing education

Angela Silvestri-Elmore, Kayla Sullivan, Esmeralda Clark, Jennifer Pfannes, Natalie Spitler, Necole Leland, Kathi Thimsen, Roseann Colosimo, Janelle Willis


Objective: The holistic admissions process employs a review strategy designed to assess an applicant's unique life experiences together with traditional measures of academic achievement. This process considers a broad range of factors that reflect an applicant's potential for professional success in the nursing field. The purpose of this initiative was to introduce a holistic admissions process at a nursing program that has historically utilized an academic metrics-based approach.

Methods: The nursing program identified goals and targets for holistic admissions as a means to evaluate the process and to make informed decisions that support the aim of increased student diversity.

Results: A team-based approach was used to develop criteria for holistic admissions. Shared values for characteristics of ideal nursing applicants were discussed first, and a literature review was conducted, focusing on predictors of success in nursing school and on the nursing licensure examination. Criteria were developed aimed at capturing the shared values, predictors of success, while also allowing applicants to ‘tell their stories’ during the application process. A student-facing application and applicant faculty review process were created. Benchmarks for monitoring diversity of the student population were identified.

Conclusions: Our faculty task force developed and implemented a holistic admissions review process and generated plans designed to monitor the improved diversity of the student population. Faculty reflections highlight the value of pursuing this change and moving forward with holistic admissions in our nursing program.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

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

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