Lisa Shustack

Date of Award

Summer 8-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)


Professional Studies in Education

First Advisor

Kelli R. Paquette, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Meghan Twiest, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Theresa Gropelli, Ph.D.


The purpose of this qualitative case study was to explore the perceptions of what contributes to NCLEX-PN success rates within a high performing Practical Nursing program in Pennsylvania. To satisfy this purpose, the Community College of Beaver County’s Practical Nursing program was selected for the case study based upon a NCLEX-PN success rate of 100% for the past 10 out of 11 years. Although the literature is saturated with specific academic elements such as admission policies, standardized testing scores, high stakes testing, or GPA in correlation with overall program success; this study brought forth the link between the human intrinsic characteristics present in the educational system of a program achieving exceptional success. Through the use of vignettes, insight is provided into the deeper patterns of success as experienced by those involved in the Practical Nursing program. Each vignette blossomed from the analysis of interviews, artifacts, and observations collected during the study.

Thematic analysis of the data unveiled eight themes of program similarity, communication, collaborative intellect, meaningful purpose, passion, binding relationships, intellectual aerobics, and altruism which were presented in vignette form to tell the story of one program’s success. The themes were then filtered through the theoretical framework of system’s theory which ultimately organized and prioritized the themes into a dynamic new Human Essence of Education: A System’s Model. The Human Essence of Education: A System’s Model presents a new way of thinking about and evaluating educational systems.

Included in

Nursing Commons