Promoting Diversity in Nurse Practitioner Student Population: Experiences with a Holistic Admission Process

Saturday, April 25, 2015: 3:45 PM-5:00 PM
Holiday 1-2 (Hilton Baltimore)
Presenters:  Kathleen J.H. Sparbel, PhD, FNP-BC, Department of Health Systems Science, University of Illinois at Chicago, Moline, IL, Susan Corbridge, PhD, ACNP, FAANP, Biobehavioral Health Sciences & Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL and Linda D. Scott, PhD., RN, Health Systems Science, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL
Education of nurse practitioners from diverse backgrounds and perspectives is necessary to reflect our diverse patient populations in clinical practice, improve patient safety, and enhance positive patient outcomes. Additionally, admitting applicants from diverse life experiences and viewpoints enriches the learning of the entire nurse practitioner class, broadens the perspectives of the individual students, and promotes robust clinical decision making. However, the admission process has traditionally focused on a limited array of characteristics, such as grade point average (GPA) or Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) scores, which may not reflect the entire array of applicant strengths. The holistic admission process emphasizes assessment of a more all-inclusive array of characteristics in admitting future nurse practitioners. The goal in holistic admission is to admit students who will contribute both to the NP profession and to their peers’ learning in meaningful ways.

Creating a diverse APN workforce and promoting a diverse health care education culture requires a broadening of the traditional metrics of student evaluation, faculty education in the process, and collaboration of multiple faculty to evaluate applicants for admission. This presentation will engage the audience in the discussion of holistic admission models, activities to promote student diversity, and experiences and challenges in developing and implementing a holistic admission process at a university. Best practices in the development, implementation, and evaluation of a holistic admission process to promote a diverse student body will be presented. Initial data from university admissions on student characteristics will be discussed.

Questions for discussion include:

1.     How do we as NP educators define diversity in our student populations and what do we envision as goals for diversity in our student population?

2.     What is meant by holistic admission and why is the goal of holistic admission becoming a growing trend in college admission decisions?

3.     What experiences have been encountered with planning and implementing the holistic admission process, including barriers/challenges, as well as strategies/initiatives?

4.     What outcomes are indicative of a successful holistic admission process in NP education?

5.     What are the lessons learned and recommendations for moving forward with holistic admission?

    Presentation Handouts
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