School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD)


Patricia Ferrin


surgical technology, transformative learning, student success, retention, healthcare education, resilience, support




The purpose of this hermeneutic phenomenological study was to understand the experiences of successful surgical technology graduates who achieved transformative learning during their CAAHEP accredited surgical technology program while encountering risk factors for failure. The study’s central research question is: What experiences of successful surgical technology graduates contributed to transformative learning? The theory guiding this study is Mezirow’s (1981) theory of transformative learning. Mezirow’s theory relates to this study as it requires individuals to find meaning in learning in order, through a disorienting dilemma, to acquire new perspectives on their subject matter. The setting of this study is Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) accredited surgical technology programs throughout the country. Purposeful criterion sampling assures the identification and selection of information-rich participants who experienced the phenomenon. The data collection for this study includes surveys, interviews, and letters written by successful surgical technology graduates. Data collection and analysis occur through the continued reading of surveys, interviews, and letters which capture the essence of each student’s experience through detailed written descriptions.

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