The purpose of this study was to gain an understanding of the social processes associated with the decision of diploma and associate degree nurses to advance academically.
Advanced nursing education needs to be pursued along the continuum of the nursing career path. This education process is indispensable to the role of nurses as educator, manager, nurse leader, and researcher who will effect policy changes, assume leadership roles as revolutionary thinkers, and implement paradigmatic shifts.
Data were collected from two groups of participants using face-to-face, semistructured interviews. Group 1 consisted of diploma and associate degree nurses; Group 2 consisted of baccalaureate, masters, and doctoral degree nurses who have progressed academically.
Emerging from the thick, rich data were core categories of rewarding, motivating, and supporting as critical factors that influence professional advancement.
This qualitative study elucidated that professional advancement was the social process that grounds. The emergent theory was the theory of professional advancement.