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Date of Award

Spring 6-16-2021

Author Requested Restriction

Open Access (no restriction)

Work Type

Dissertation in Practice

Degree Name

Doctor of Educational Leadership (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Robin Minthorn Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Katie Haerling Ph.D.

Third Advisor

David Reyes DNP


The United States is currently facing a shortage of trained professionals in many fields such as Science, Technology, Engineering, and Nursing (Allen-Ramdial & Campbell, 2014; Georgetown University, 2020). As a result, current U.S. nursing student demographics do not mirror the populations they serve (Gooden, Porter, Gonzalez, & Mims, 2001). Research has shown the positive impact a diverse nursing staff has on patient care (Gooden, Porter, Gonzalez, & Mims, 2001). Representative care and cultural awareness translate to better patient outcomes especially for patients from marginalized and underrepresented communities (Woods-Giscombe, Rowsey, Kneipp, Lackey, & Bravo, 2019). Community colleges play a critical role in the supply of registered nurses within the U.S. (Bissett, 1995). For colleges to better address this shortcoming and have a positive effect on patient outcomes, colleges must evaluate current pathway and persistence practices. Additionally, a greater effort must be made to reevaluate application requirements and admissions processes to counter any failings in the current colonial higher education methodologies (Espinosa, 2011; Patel, 2016). The literature indicates two major bottlenecks in diversifying nursing students. First, nursing in the U.S. has historically been perceived as female-dominated profession, and the second bottleneck is the entry requirements and gap in outreach to marginalized and underrepresented (MUR) communities (Aynaci & Gulmez, 2019; Oyana, et al., 2015; Pacquiao, D. (2007). Potential students are often not familiar with what nursing professionals do on a day-to-day basis and can hold a bias towards the field due to negative depictions in pop culture or cultural norms (Hargett, 2019). The second issue is field association and identity, and how that relates to self-efficacy. There are often few role models for MUR students to identify with and to draw inspiration from. Additionally, institutional barriers play a significant role. Such barriers are rooted in the climate and culture of a college or individual nursing program. For nursing programs and STEM as a whole to increase in diversity and MUR student success, they must periodically reassess their equity diversity and inclusion (EDI) efforts and diversity initiatives. This study aims to evaluate EDI policies and efficacy by comparing nursing student body demographic numbers with faculty interview data. Through this comparison, areas of success and areas for improvement are identified.