Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




George Bass


The purpose of this study was to investigate the claim that nursing students in nontraditional curricula achieve program outcomes consistent with nursing students in traditional generic curricula. Clinical decision making and clinical judgment are essential components of critical thinking in nursing. Self-perception as a decision-maker was measured by the Clinical Decision Making in Nursing Scale (CDMNS) and clinical judgment was measured by the Clinical Judgment in Nursing Series #1: Emergencies in Adult Client Care Test (CJS:EACC).;Participants were recruited from three regional universities. One curricular group consisted of a generic (traditional) BSN group. One nontraditional curricular design was RN-BSN Completion programs designed for RN's to return for degree completion. The second nontraditional curricular group represented an Accelerated BSN program designed for adult learners with a previous baccalaureate degree to achieve a career change to nursing.;No significant outcome differences in self-perception as a clinical decision-maker as measured by mean scores on the CDMNS or in the decision making process as measured by subscale scores on the CDMNS were found between Traditional and nontraditional student groups. The hypotheses that there would be no differences in either self-perception as a decision maker or the decision making process were supported.;A significant difference was found between group scores related to clinical judgment as measured by the CJS:EACC. The nontraditional curricular groups, primarily adult learners, achieved higher scores than the generic group. The attributes of age, work experience, self-directedness, and readiness to learn may have influenced the adult learner's ability to achieve, through nontraditional program structures, at the same level or higher as traditional students. Age was an influencing variable on CJS:EACC scores. The instrument measures nursing assessment and intervention related to adult medical/surgical clients. The hypothesis that there would be no difference in clinical judgment could not be supported.;Interview responses representative of each curricular group were consistent with previous studies of the goals, barriers, learning needs, and characteristics of the adult learner.



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