Nadja James


McNeill, Jeanette A.

Committee Member

Dunemn, Kathleen N.

Committee Member

Copeland, Darcy A.

Committee Member

Bergstrom, Cassendra M.


College of Natural and Health Sciences; Nursing Education


University of Northern Colorado

Type of Resources


Place of Publication

Greeley (Colo.)


University of Northern Colorado

Date Created



177 pages

Digital Origin

Born digital


Individual (learner) empowerment plays an important role in the learning environment. A more empowered student is more likely to be academically successful and complete their program of study. The findings of this study showed nursing students who felt less empowered had a greater intent to leave their nursing program. Many prelicensure nursing programs struggle with high attrition rates, especially minority students, including students from a culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) background. Since effective communication is crucial in the learning environment, students with lower English proficiency tend to struggle in that area. Communication issues affect CALD students’ sense of empowerment and might create or reinforce the intent to leave their program before completion. This was a quantitative, nonexperimental, predictive-correlational study. Using a web-based survey, 70 prelicensure nursing students completed the quantitative portion and 51 participants provided open-ended responses. Statistical analyses included multiple regression and correlation tests. Qualitative data were manually reviewed and categorized using basic thematic analysis. Five independent variables (age, gender, ethnicity, Associate Degree in Nursing or Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, English proficiency) accounted for 6.3% of the variance in learner empowerment. The model was not statistically significant. Learner empowerment was negatively associated with intent to leave the nursing program, indicating students who felt less empowered had a greater intent to leave their program. There was no statistically significant association between English proficiency and intent to leave the nursing program. Qualitative themes included external and internal factors that helped or prevented respondents from feeling empowered. Both, the quantitative and qualitative findings from this study were consistent with the extant literature. This study added to the existing body of knowledge about the importance of individual empowerment in the learning environment. Nurse educators could help mitigate the attrition of nursing students by creating a learning environment that is inclusive and empowering for students.

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Copyright is held by the author.