The experiences of international nursing students in a baccalaureate nursing program

Susan Sanner, Astrid H Wilson, Linda F Samson
Journal of Professional Nursing: Official Journal of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing 2002, 18 (4): 206-13
International students, especially those with English as a second language (ESL), can have difficulty adjusting to university life in the United States and successfully completing the demands of a nursing program. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the perceptions and experiences of international nursing students in a baccalaureate nursing program. Eight female Nigerian nursing students aged 25 to 48 who had been in the United States from 5 to 20 years were interviewed. Most (75 per cent) had some prior college experience, but only two had a baccalaureate degree. The data was analyzed by using a multifunctional computer software program and three themes emerged: social isolation, resolved attitudes, and persistence despite perceived obstacles. Factors contributing to each theme explained how these students progressed from their social isolation to their resolved attitudes. Their progression was marked by an acceptance of antagonistic attitudes found in the program and their development of persistence despite perceived obstacles. Their persistence was the impetus to achieve their overall goal of graduating from the program. Implications for nursing faculty include assisting these students through social and academic transitions and nursing administrators' provision of fiscal and support resources to facilitate effective integration of international students into the nursing program and the community.

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