School of Education


Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)


Christopher W. Taylor


Athletics, Balance, Nursing School, Nursing Students, Stress, Time Management


Education | Educational Leadership | Nursing


The purpose of this transcendental phenomenological study is to describe the lived experiences of eleven graduated nursing student athletes who completed traditional, four-year nursing programs while concurrently finishing four years of athletic eligibility in their respective sport at three private, Christian, Midwest universities and across three different competitive collegiate athletic divisions. The theories guiding this study are Tinto’s Theory of Individual Departure from Institutions of Higher Learning, Astin’s Theory of Student Involvement, and Lazarus and Folkman’s Transactional Model of Stress Response, as they relate to student athletes’ persistence to graduation and to nursing students who reportedly experience higher levels of stress than other college students. Participants were purposefully selected to answer the following: How do graduated nursing student athletes describe their experiences in balancing sports and academics while completing a traditional, four-year nursing program and participating in intercollegiate sports? Data collection was conducted using journaling, semi-structured individual interviews, and focus groups. Confidentiality was maintained by using pseudonyms for all colleges and participants. Data analysis was conducted via pattern, theme, and content analysis. Validity and trustworthiness were established via expert and member reviews, as well as triangulation of participant groups, data sources, audit trails, enumeration tables, and inclusion of participant quotes.