Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Studies


The measurement of an individual's predicted performance in his/her field is a requirement of many professions. The NCLEX-RN® is the measurement tool used to determine whether or not new graduates of registered nursing programs are competent to enter the profession. Although there are three domains of learning in nursing (cognitive, affective, and psychomotor) the only domain tested for licensure is the cognitive. Many factors contribute to the lack of testing in the psychomotor area. One of the major impediments is that the entry-level psychomotor domain for registered nursing has yet to be defined. The purpose of this study was to identify the psychomotor skills that entry-level nurses should possess as a requirement for licensure, thus moving toward the identification of the boundaries of this domain.

Six semi-structured interviews of nursing faculty dyads from six educational institutions (three community colleges and three universities) were conducted focusing on the perceptions of what psychomotor skills constitute entry-level nursing. Curricular documents, including course syllabi and objectives from each nursing program were obtained. Interview data were analyzed by utilizing the five-step process recommended by Marshall and Rossman (1994). Syllabi and program/course objectives were subjected to content analysis and a list was compiled of the psychomotor skills specified in the documents, including the number of times each was found. A comparison of the consistency between the interview data and the curricula data in terms of psychomotor skills was also made.

Two families of skills were believed to fall into the entry-level psychomotor domain, medication administration and physical assessment. The results also included one discrete skill--Foley catheter insertion and care. The content analysis of the curricular materials showed that these two families of skills were also the most frequently specified skills in the curricula of these programs. Additionally, due to the openness of the interview format, faculty frequently engaged in discussions regarding the advisability of testing for licensure in the psychomotor domain of nursing. Perceived benefits and barriers to such testing are included in the study's findings.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access