STUDENTS’ VOICES: A QUALITATIVE STUDY ON SELF-TALK
AN ABSTRACT FOR THE DISSERTATION OF
Julie M. Fagan for the degree of Doctor of Education in Leadership, Learning and
Community presented on March 24, 2022.
Title: Students’ Voices: A Qualitative Study on Self-talk and Motivation to Complete
Suzanne Gaulocher, Dissertation Committee Chair
The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine the self-talk of recently graduated
nursing students and identify themes related to their self-motivated persistence. Twenty six participants from three cohorts who graduated from a small public university in New
England completed narrative responses to an open-ended prompt. Using a grounded
theory approach, hand-coding and software analysis of the narratives yielded eight
themes of participants’ self-talk consistent with constructs of Tinto’s model of student
persistence and research on student retention, motivation, self-efficacy, and self determination. The study addresses a gap in the literature, specifically nursing students’
voices related to motivation and persistence. The findings confirm that nursing students
use self-talk and offer new data on how self-talk motivates them to persist. Knowing
what nursing students tell themselves to overcome adversities they face, and how self talk relates to concepts of motivation, self-efficacy, self-determination, and persistence,
may help faculty effectively support more students toward graduation and practice.