Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum and Instruction (PhD)

Degree Level



Curriculum and Instruction


William F. McComas

Committee Member

Thomas A. Kippenbrock

Second Committee Member

DeAnna Jan Emory

Third Committee Member

Patricia L. Conard


BSN, Case studies, Curriculum, Exemplar, Nursing, Top-ranked


What constitutes an ideal prelicensure nursing curriculum is not well understood. Specifically, what are the strategic curricular sequencing and curricular themes or focus might be included to contribute to producing high quality graduates? The purpose of this qualitative multiple case study investigation was to look at successful programs and identify effective curricular sequencing and curricular themes or focus that might be inferred to have contributed to producing high quality graduates. Seven top-ranked prelicensure baccalaureate nursing programs were selected based on three national college rankings services. Based on data from interviews and publicly accessible documents, seven case studies were compared and analyzed for curriculum components (didactic, clinical, and interdisciplinary activities) and performance (NCLEX-RN). Results showed a common curricular sequence in preparing nursing students through liberal education classes and the first three fundamental nursing courses (pharmacology, pathophysiology, and health assessment) along with a curricular focus in the AACN Essentials’ theme of liberal education and generalist baccalaureate nursing. A few commonalities could be learned from these successful programs, such as the pharmacology course, interdisciplinary learning activities, and other pre-requisite courses (i.e. microbiology, chemistry, and anatomy and physiology). Furthermore, the researcher found that state boards of nursing’s requirement for minimum average NCLEX-RN passing rates were different. Researcher recommended further studies include exploring correlations between the respective state boards of nursing’s approval requirement on NCLEX-RN passing rates and one’s prelicensure BSN program performance.