Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Nursing and Allied Health Professions

First Advisor

Teresa C. Shellenbarger, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Nashat M. Zuraikat, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Christoph Maier, Ph.D.


Cultural mismatch between providers and patients in the United States emerges as a major factor affecting the health of minority populations. Hispanics are the largest and fastest-growing minority group and are at risk for major healthcare disparities resulting from the lack of Hispanic healthcare personnel. The dearth of Hispanic nurses in practice creates an emergent need to increase Hispanic student recruitment and retention rates. Numerous healthcare organizations charge nursing education research to increase diversity by examining factors that impede upon the success of these students. Nursing education literature consists of qualitative studies describing the Hispanic family as a system which supports and creates barriers to student success. Familism is a Hispanic-based values system where an individual places highest priority on meeting family needs over personal goals and desires. One tenet of familism is relying solely on family during times of need versus revealing personal information to outsiders. In the literature across disciplines, Hispanics tend to seek help from those closest to them, despite available professional resources. In academia, help-seeking is considered a proactive learning strategy critical to student success. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between familism and help-seeking with Hispanic nursing students. Since nursing education literature has intimated that faculty-student rapport influences student success, this study examined the relationship between Hispanic student perception of teacher support and help-seeking. The impact of demographics on variables was also studied. This study utilized a quantitative, correlational, cross-sectional design and used three tools for data collection: The Attitudinal Familism Scale, Help-Seeking Components Measures and Perceived Teacher Support of Questioning Scale. Findings from 178 participants representing various Hispanic ethnicities revealed no statistically significant relationship between familism and help-seeking. A significant relationship between help-seeking and student perception of teacher support existed (r = .40, p < .01). More importantly, findings indicated that Hispanic nursing students perceive positive academic support from their nursing instructors. Findings from this study offer implications for educators to assist Hispanic students achieve success. Recommendations for further study with this population will help support continued efforts to raise Hispanic nurse numbers to ultimately alleviate healthcare disparities.