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University of Central Florida. Cohort Development in Nursing Education. Alton Austin, MS Ed.Rosa Cintron, Ph.D. PhD CandidateAssociate Professor Agenda. Introduction Cohorts and PSC Change and Leadership Case Study #1 Case Study #2

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Cohort Development in Nursing Education

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Cohort development in nursing education

University of Central Florida

Cohort Development in Nursing Education

Alton Austin, MS Ed.Rosa Cintron, Ph.D.

PhD CandidateAssociate Professor



  • Introduction

  • Cohorts and PSC

  • Change and Leadership

  • Case Study #1

  • Case Study #2

  • Individual Plan of Action

  • General Q&A

  • Final Comments          

Session outcomes

Session Outcomes

  • Psychological Sense of Community

  • How-to create a community of scholars

  • Strategies



  • My Nursing Students

  • Your students

What will we address

What will we address?

  • How can we influence change in the teaching and learning occurring in the hard sciences?

  • What is our leadership role as student services professionals in academic affairs?

Learning transformation

Learning Transformation

  • There is a need for a radical transformation in the manner student nurses are educated.

  • Cooke, Irby, Sullivan and Ludmere (2006) described the classroom of these students as one characterized more by the emphasis on ‘capture the market share,’‘units of service,’ and the financial ‘bottom line’ than about the relief of suffering, cooperation and the values and ethics of the profession.

Framing the new idea

Framing the New Idea

The initiative has three goals:

  • to develop a psychological sense of community among nursing students

  • to create a community by demonstrating the impact of cohort groups

  • to establish a solid partnership between academic advisors (Student Affairs) and faculty (Academic Affairs) in disciplines traditionally known as ‘hard sciences.’

Psychological sense of community

Psychological Sense of Community

  • McMillan and Chavis’ Psychological Sense of Community (PSC) (1986) helps students in understanding that they matter to one another and to the group and that their needs could be met by developing a sense of shared emotional connection.

  • The cohort model fosters collegial learning based on principles of adult learning and development.

Cohort development in nursing education

Case Study #1

Bridging the silos

Bridging the Silos

  • Regarding the third goal, it is known that the ‘hard sciences’ have approached teaching and learning in a linear manner. This type of classroom has become the antithesis of solutions to the pedagogy of medical education.

  • In other words, critics of nurse education have underlined the importance of creating classrooms where nurses learn values like cooperation and respect, acquire knowledge on diverse populations and understand professional ethics.

Collaboration in the classroom

Collaboration in the Classroom

  • Concurrent with and independent from the call for medical transformation, scholars in Higher Education have noted how Student and Academic Affairs benefit from partnering (Bourassa & Kruger, 2001; Kezar, 2003)

  • We are convinced that our nursing cohorts represent one of the best examples of the collaboration and leadership between Student Affairs and Academic Affairs

Cohort development in nursing education

Case Study #2

How does it work

How does it work?

  • Freshman nursing students are able to choose a living-learning community which incorporates teambuilding and cohort development into a student success course

  • Junior nursing students complete a one-day teambuilding orientation that is designed to reduce first-day apprehension and allow students to begin forming bonds before the program begins



  • The first FTIC cohort included 51 students. Of those, eighteen changed majors or left the university. Fifteen were ineligible or chose not to apply. Twenty-three applied to the program and eleven were offered a seat in the class (21% of original group, 29% of remaining, and 47% of those that applied).

  • The second FTIC cohort counted 57. Of those, thirteen changed majors or left the university. Twenty-three were ineligible or chose not to apply. Eighteen applied to the program and ten were offered a seat in the class (18% of original group, 24% of remaining, and 55% of those that applied).

  • Typical freshman class for nursing is approximately 400 students and 60 are offered a seat (15%).



  • After two years of teambuilding orientations, attrition rates are lower for non-academic and non-financial reasons

  • Faculty and Clinical Preceptors report that students are more communicative, cooperative, and willing to assist each other with difficult tasks



Allen, K. E. (1989). A non-linear model of student development. Paper presented at the American Association for Higher Education Assessment Forum.

Bosher, S. D. (2008). Transforming nursing education. NY: Springer Publishing.

Bourassa, D. M., & Kruger, K. (2001). The national dialogue on academic and student affairs. New Directions for Higher Education, 2001 (116), 9-38.

Cooke, M., Irby, D.M., Sullivan, W., & Ludmere, K. M. (2006). 100 years after the Flexner Report. New England Journal of Medicine, 355, 1339-1344.

Del Favero, M. (2002). Linking administrative behavior and student learning. Peabody Journal of Education, 77(3), 60-84.--Demers, C. (2007). Organizational change theories. San Francisco: Sage Publishing.

Evans, N., & Reason, R. D. (2001). Guiding principles. Journal of College Student Development, 42, 359-377.

Goodin, H. J. (2003). The nursing shortage in the United States. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 43 (4), 335-343.

Makaram, S. (2009). Interprofessional cooperation. Medical Education, 29(1), 65-69.

McMillan, D. W., & Chavis, D. M. (1986) Sense of Community. American Journal of Community Psychology, 14(1), 6-23.

McNeese-Smith, D.K. (2001). A nursing shortage. Journal of Health Management, 46(3), 173-186.--Professional competency areas for student affairs practitioners. Retrieved from:

Kezar, A. (2003). Achieving student success. Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice, 41(1). Retrieved from



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