Date of Paper/Work


Type of Paper/Work

Scholarly project

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Nursing




VaLinda Pearson


The purpose of this paper is to gain a better insight into nursing student participation in governance activities of St. Catherine University Associate Degree Nursing Program. The Associate Degree Nursing Program (ADNP) has lacked student input into governance activities, and is missing a process to engage student input. Qualitative research was conducted to ascertain ways to improve student participation in program governance activities. The author completed two pilot focus groups with one cohort of ADNP students to test the process and determine feasibility throughout the program during fall term of 2010. The author took the results from that process to improve the method of data collection. Three focus groups were completed during fall term of 2010 and five during winter term 2011. There was at least one focus group for each cohort of students in the ADNP. Focus groups allowed the researcher to gain rich data about student perceptions of the course of study, providing a venue for participation in program planning and evaluation. The process also afforded the opportunity to ask students if they would participate in governance activities and if there were barriers to involvement that faculty might address. When evaluating the focus group data, the author analyzed both themes and outlier comments. The analysis mainly considered the student group comments as a whole, but occasionally data demanded immediate action for individual student needs.