Date of Award

Summer 8-17-2021

Document Type

Dissertation - University of Massachusetts Global access only

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Keith Larick

Second Advisor

Cindy Petersen

Third Advisor

Tricia Kassab


Purpose: The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to understand and describe the perceived motivators and barriers of nurses with ADNs working in the California health care system to return to school for a BSN using Herzberg’s two-factor principles of motivation and hygiene.

Methodology: This phenomenological qualitative study described the lived experiences of ADNs working in the California Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems located in the Inland Empire to return to school for a BSN. Through purposeful sampling, the researcher selected 12 ADNs with working experience of 10 years or more.

Findings: The data analysis resulted in 24 themes across the 2 research questions. Ten major findings emerged from the data relating to the lived experiences of nurses with ADNs. The findings on perceived motivators revealed 5 emerging themes, namely employer expectation, keep my job, career advancement, job qualifications, and keep up-to-date professionally. The finding on perceived barriers discovered 5 emerging themes, namely balance of personal, career, education, study skills, inadequate staffing, personal protective equipment, and cost of education.

Conclusion: The conclusions show that (a) ADNs enrollment in a BSN program will increase when pressured by their employer; (b) when employers provide career advancement opportunities, ADNs will be motivated to enroll in BSN degree programs; (c) ADNs are motivated to enroll in BSNs programs by the possibility of increased knowledge and skills that improve patient care; (d) ADNs who do not have a balance of their personal, career, and educational life will not pursue the BSN degree program; and (e) the lack of financial resources will result in ADNs not enrolling in a BSN program.

Recommendations: There are recommendations to conduct further research to broaden the scope and add to the current body of literature available.