Examining Processes that Enhance Retention of Baccalaureate Nursing Students: A Descriptive Case Study in One American University


  • Julius M. Kitutu
  • Khadejah F. Mahmoud


Worldwide, the shortage of registered nurses (RNs) presents a serious problem within healthcare systems. The demand for RNs in the United States is expected to increase by 3% annually and it is estimated that the shortage of  RNs in 2020 will be 285,000. Retention among nursing students is considered a global challenge. The purpose of this case study was to identify effective strategies  used within University of Pittsburgh, School of Nursing to enhance nursing students’ retention rates. The study utilized a cross-section of data to present strategies used to enhance freshmen and sophomore nursing students’ retention between 2007 and 2016. For this descriptive case study, data were collected from first and second year university nursing students who were in the program between 2007 and 2016. The retention strategies employed at University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing that were identified as most significant were: adopting stringent admission criteria, identifying at-risk students, implementing undergraduate research mentorship program (URMP), having honors program within school, hiring professional advisors, and personalized advising. Over a 9-year period, these strategies have improved retention rates, especially for freshmen students from 78.11 to 98.4%, including identifying at-risk students, and creating good relationships between students, academic advisors and faculty. However, we believe that a large-scale study is needed to evaluate to what extent the salient strategies that were found to be effective in this case study might be applicable to Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs at other University Schools of Nursing.