Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Sharon Loury

Committee Members

Sally Blowers, Kathleen Rayman, Katherine Hall, Irene Burgess


This qualitative narrative descriptive study focused on nine successful Latino nursing school graduates. Five participants were interviewed twice and four participants were interviewed once for a total of fourteen interviews. Participants and their families immigrated from Brazil, Costa Rica, Cuba, and Mexico. Participants attended school in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

Interviews revealed themes of Familism, Empowerment, and Perseverance. Familism was an overriding theme throughout each of the interviews. Participants described family as being their greatest support. They discussed sacrifices made by their families which assisted them in being successful. In addition, they also shared their willingness to make personal sacrifices in order to honor their family by being successful. Empowerment was also a theme which surfaced. Participants were empowered to attain their goal of attending college and then succeeding in nursing school. The theme of Empowerment was supported by descriptions of parental sacrifice, parental and family support, and support of faculty. The theme of perseverance was demonstrated through continued goal-attainment. Participants struggled through time-management issues such as balancing family, work, and school commitments. They also worked through the guilt of not providing 100% of their time and attention to any one area of their life, especially family. Perseverance was displayed in multiple ways by participants. One of the most compelling was their need to honor their family. Another area which fueled their perseverance was faith. Lastly, participants stated that their need to be self-sufficient added to their perseverance. Self-efficacy surfaced as an attribute they all attained.

Familism, perseverance, and empowerment were themes which were consistent with other studies. However, this study is the first study to address the successfulness of Latino nursing school graduates in the Appalachian area of the United States. This study is also unique in that each of the participants attributed their success to family. In addition, seven of the nine families immigrated to the United States for sole purpose of educating their children. This act of sacrifice by families further strengthened the theme of familism.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.