CASE STUDIES OF RESILIENT RETURNING WOMEN OF AFRICAN DESCENT IN AN RN TO BSN COMPLETION PROGRAM AT AN HISTORICALLY BLACK COLLEGE/UNIVERSITY: PERSONAL AND ACADEMIC LIVED EXPERIENCES
Peoples Veiga, Carolyn
Robertson-Tchabo, Elizabeth A.
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The purpose of this research was to construct from "their own words" a comprehensive description of the personal and academic lived experiences of resilient adult women of African descent who had been identified by a standardized academic diagnostic instrument, the Nurse Entrance Test (NET), as educationally at-risk for failure to complete the course requirements necessary to earn a Baccalaureate Degree in Nursing at a Mid-Atlantic Historically Black College/University. Six case studies based on multiple, focused, personal, semi-structured, audiotaped interviews were presented that capture the phenomenological perspectives of these women. Thematic analyses of these personal interviews indicated that the conceptual framework of Personal Investment Theory (Maehr & Braskamp, 1986) was a "good fit" to describe the behavioral and achievement motivation patterns (direction, persistence, continuing education, intensity, and performance) of these returning students. Moreover, the outcomes of achievement, personal growth, and life satisfaction identified by Personal Investment Theory also were addressed consistently by these women. The case studies were organized around developmental stages and special attention was paid to Robert Havighurst's developmental and educational tasks. The developmental stages were utilized to emphasize an orderly progression for human development while allowing for flexibility and overlap across the life span. Psychosocial development theory advanced by Erik Erikson provided an organizing framework that suggested negotiation of continual challenges allowed these resilient women to persist and to overcome the negative NET prediction. It appeared that these resilient women had learned through numerous life experiences to reject such negative feedback, and believed that with sufficient effort their educational goals could be and were attained. Academic experiences placed in the sociocultural context of personal life events provided a clearer understanding of the challenges of successful completion of an RN to BSN Program. The implications of these findings for higher education policies regarding returning students were discussed.