Student Theses, Dissertations and Capstones

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Nursing Education

Copyright Statement

All rights reserved. This publication is intended for use solely by faculty, students, and staff of Nova Southeastern University. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, now known or later developed, including but not limited to photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the author or the publisher.


College of Nursing

First Advisor

Marcella Rutherford

Date of original Performance / Presentation


Publication Date / Copyright Date



Nova Southeastern University


Enrollment in registered nurse-bachelor of science in nursing (RN-BSN) degree completion programs have increased in the last several years. Due to this increase, many programs have begun to offer their RN-BSN programs completely online or in a hybrid format. Often times, students who choose to pursue their degree online come from various cultural and ethnic backgrounds and speak English as a second language (ESL). There is limited research about the experiences of these students in this unique learning environment. The purpose of this study was to explore the lived experience of RN-BSN ESL nursing students who are engaged in learning online and understanding their process of cultural integration. Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory served as the theoretical framework and underpinning for this study. Ten individual interviews were conducted incorporating van Manen’s (1990) methodological steps for exploring the lived experience. Through phenomenological reflection, five major themes emerged: (a) understanding the online classroom, (b) expressing culture online, (c) alone but not lonely, (d) writing as a surmountable barrier, and (e) faculty role in the online journey. RN-BSN ESL nursing students who choose to pursue their degree completion completely online or in the hybrid format do so mainly for convenience and flexibility. Exploring their lived experiences offered insight into their personal challenges and triumphs with online cultural integration, writing, and obtaining the support needed to be successful.




Health and environmental sciences, Education, English as a Second Language, Nursing education, Online education, Online learning, RN-BSN



Download Full Text (5.3 MB)

  Link to NovaCat

Included in

Nursing Commons