Committee Chair

Crawford, Elizabeth K.

Committee Member

Hill, Linda C.; Rausch, David W.; Banks, Steven R.


School of Professional Studies


College of Health, Education, and Professional Studies


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


The following study addressed the identified gaps in the literature with regards to graduate nursing students and the role critical thinking plays in developing a predictive model of student success in graduate nursing programs. The population for this study included individuals who provided application data to an MSN CRNA program between the years 2014 and 2018. The study participant sample included those candidates who were interviewed, offered a position, and started the CRNA program, and those candidates who were interviewed, yet failed to advance past the interview stage. Subsets of the sample population included students who enrolled and successfully completed the CRNA program between the years 2016 and 2020 and students who enrolled and did not complete the program. The quantitative nonexperimental study utilized existing data from admissions materials; self-reported data such as personal demographic attribute variables; and third-party verified data such as undergraduate and graduate grade point averages, GRE scores, HSRT scores, and NCE scores. Findings indicated that critical thinking aptitude, as measured by the HSRT assessment, was a significant predictor of on-time completion. A statistically significant positive association was also found between HSRT scores and students’ NCE exam scores. Results indicated that the development of a statistically significant (p < .01) predictive model comprised of multiple variables was possible. When all other predictor variables were held constant, two independent variables indicated statistically significant (p < .05) predictive relationships with programmatic success, time away from school prior to enrolling in graduate programs (r = -.287, p = .001), and HSRT percentage scores (r = .257, p = .004). The author concludes with implications for practice and recommendations for further research. The author suggests investigation of potential graduate students’ time away from the academic environment and the amount of time spent in the work environment prior to enrollment is warranted given that these two factors were found to be negatively correlated with academic success. As the CRNA profession moves to the DNP programmatic model, the author suggests that additional study is warranted into factors that may serve as valid predictors of student programmatic success.


Ed. D.; A dissertation submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Doctor of Education.




Critical thinking--Ability testing; Nursing schools--Admission; Prediction of scholastic success


Admissions Criteria; Critical Thinking; Graduate Nursing Programs; Student Success; Predictive Modeling

Document Type

Doctoral dissertations




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