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Associate Degree Nurses’ Work Possibilities

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study was to identify the factors which prevent associate degree-prepared nurses from pursuing further education in a quest for a higher-level degree or baccalaureate. The research question was about the factors in health care institutions that dissuade nurses who are associate degree trained from furthering their nursing education. The primary aim was to provide a more detailed understanding of the possibilities that associate degree nurses have in their work environment and their views on the issue of furthering their education (Orsolini-Hain, 2012).

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Who Participated or Contributed Data

The participants were twenty-two associate degree prepared nurses without any bachelor’s degree in nursing or any other field. Twenty-one of the nurses had worked for a minimum of ten years while one nurse had worked for eight years. The participants’ age ranged from 36 to 64, and the mean age was 48.

The longest-serving participant had a working experience of 36 years, and the mean years of experience were 19.5. 1.5 was the mean number of kids for the group chosen. 41 percent of the participants were single while 59 percent were married or had a companion. The number of participants who provided direct care to patients was nineteen while three were case managers.

Twenty-seven percent of the participants made less than 100,000 dollars a year and were not working among 3 of the hospitals located in an urban area within California. Only forty-nine of the participants were trained within California, but all the participants were trained within the United States, the average year of their training was 3.67 (Orsolini-Hain, 2012).

Methods Used to Collect the Data

The method used in the collection of the data was an interview through the use of interpretive phenomenology to analyze the behavior of the associate degree-prepared nurses. This was to find out the tacit and explicit meaning for these nurses’ behavior of not seeking to further their education.

Narratives were employed in the collection of information about the situation that the nurses were in in a bid to get the factors preventing them from furthering their education. The interpretive phenomenological study was designed based on the factors which affect associate degree-prepared nurses’ goal of returning to school in a bid to acquire a bachelor’s degree in nursing or higher degree. The data was collected between 2006 and 2008. This is a qualitative study, and, therefore, no intervention was put to the test (Orsolini-Hain, 2012).

Main Findings of the Study

It was found out that there were three main themes that arose from the interviews that were carried out. These eventually led to these nurses receiving contradictory messages from their employers on the issue of furthering their education. This led to the frustration that was evident in more than half of the participants who had the desire to return to school but had not yet done so.

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These key themes that arose are: lack of clear separation between the skill, role and status in those providing patients with direct care; continuous education in their areas of practice, which serve to upgrade their skill and knowledge referred to as “On the job Learn and Go”; and the chances for promotions not based on formal education. In comparison to my experience of going back to school, I have observed that these are the core issues that prevent many nurses from furthering their education.

I agree with the implications that have been mentioned in the paper since they are in line with the evidence that I have been presented with so far. Another area of research that I would like addressed is the issue about the self desire among associate degree nurses to further their education (Rush et al., 2005).


Orsolini-Hain, L. (2012). Nursing Outlook, 60 (2), 81-90. Web.

Rush, K. L., Waldrop, S., & Mitchell, C. (2005). The RN-BSN distance education experience: from educational limbo to more than an elusive degree. J Prof Nurs, 21, 283-292.

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